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The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Lovie's Game

Blue: It's Week 13 and the Bears are in first place in the division at 9-3, but still the pundits write about whether Lovie Smith is coming back after this season.

Really, is the coach going to be around?

Last Sunday's 24-20 win versus the still-not-very-good Lions might not have been pretty, but it was a win.

Being that this is a team with supposedly no talent on the offensive line, no legitimate number one wide receiver and a historically underachieving defense, there has to be some coaching involved.

Lord knows after the Bears defense came out flat in the first half of the Lions game with the offense not far behind, something (dare we say coaching?) helped to turn the game around. The Chicago media doubts Lovie's ability to keep the job while the national media mentions him as a possible coach of the year candidate. Sounds about right.

Yes, the Bears made me want to pull my face off in the first half. Yes, the defense allowing Drew Stanton to rack up 178 yards in the first half made me kick the dog into the dishwasher. Yes, the offensive line was who we thought they were, and no that line never gets old! And here comes the but: Magically, the Bears came out to play in the second half and the game ended with a win. Against a team mentioned as "the best 2-10 team ever" who have been notorious for putting together 45 to 50 minutes of good football, the Bears defense played 30 minutes of good football and the offense put up 24 points for a win.

Yeah, it would be great to be able to change the laundry in the fourth quarter not fearing that when you get back the opposition will have taken the lead via a Jay Cutler gang-rape which leads to a fumble or pick 6, but that's not this team.

This team gets by through playing a vanilla defensive scheme that somehow shuts down opposing offenses only when absolutely necessary and with an offense that can look dismal or brilliant on any given drive. Throw in a few dumb penalties by the opponent, a few sloppy penalties, and some special teams highlights and with this crew you sit at 9-3 with the toughest stretch of schedule ahead of you.

Basically, the game was forgettable, and we were happy to get out of Detroit with a win and still possessing the healthiest lineup in the NFL. Pisa didn't play, but since no one can pronounce his name, he won't be missed next week either. Since the Bears were obviously looking ahead to the Patriots, I'll do the same now.

Patriots at Bears
I hate the Patriots because whole world is always focused on the East Coast, meaning we are lucky enough to have a national broadcast of a Patriot game on TV every weekend. In watching these games we can say that the Patriots might be the opposite of the Lions: They are the worst 10-2 team of all time.

The defense gives up far too much yardage and the offense is led by running backs that almost didn't make the team, a slapped together WR corps and an offensive line just coming together.

Oh yeah, they have Tom Brady.

But, the Eagles had Michael Vick.

Brady is being written up as a clear favorite for MVP this year, just as Vick was prior to facing the Bears.

The weather is supposed to suck, the field will suck, and the Bears will come to play.

Like nearly all Bear games this season, this won't be pretty, but the running game is more in sync every week and the passing game looks crisp so long as Cutler is not being crushed.

The defense has had all week to read how Brady will take them apart and they will shock the world by shutting him down. Don't ask me how, but the Blue Kool-Aid IV drip is in full dump mode and I'm seeing a victory.

Bears 21, Patriots 13.

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Orange: The Orange Report is coming to you live from Detroit this week . . . or at least translating the scrawl of notes hastily tapped into my phone while standing in section 333 of Ford Field during the Bears victory over the Detroit Lions last Sunday.

The bullet points below were written during the game, with some light editing to correct a minor case of "Drunk Thumb," followed by some in-depth analysis of me.

I am an awesome narcissist.

Game Notes:

* Inexplicably, the Orange Report is copping a buzz.

Post game note:

Actually, it was pretty explicable. It's cold and scary in Detroit.

You know how cities look in the movies about a month after the zombies have overrun them?

That's Detroit. PBR helps.

Also, don't crush your cans when you're drinking outside in the Motor City (and you will be). No matter where you're standing, some guy on a bike is going to ride past you and ask for your cans. They get really mad when you hand them crushed cans. I think they get less money when they recycle or something. Or they are less effective as make-shift pipes.

* 1st Bears drive: Did 3 linemen blown an assignment at once?

Post game note:

To be fair, I think the assignment Mike Tice gave the O-line was to allow Cliff Avril to achieve some sack-based incentive in his contract by halftime. Mission accomplished.

* 1st quarter: Stanton rushing TD. The Lions fight song blows. Just saying.

Post game note:

You know what else blows? Letting Drew Stanton do the "Dougie" on national television. From the 300 section, it looked like he was making out with himself.

* Mo Morris 49 yard run. (Calvin) Johnson TD. Well . . . I'm embarrassed.

Post game note:

Johnson did a good job of punching D.J. Moore in the face on that one. It was made even more deflating by the fact that about 40% of the people in attendance were Bears fans. The stadium got pretty quiet, considering.

As a facility, Ford Field is worth the trip. It's easy to find, parking is cheap ($25 two blocks away) and once inside you only get shivved in the back with plastic bottles, which is a lot less painful than the knives fashioned out of crushed cans you face in the parking lot.

However, it seemed like the PA crew got a little sloppy as the Lions lost momentum in the third quarter and spectators had to rely on their knowledge of Bears jersey numbers in order to tell who was making a play. I guess you can count on the whole Lions franchise to play hard for 30 minutes.

* Bears losing at halftime. And in shitty fashion. Good news is my wife is drunk and interested in an HJ. There's hope for this game yet.

Post game note:

The only thing that would be in hand on Sunday was a Bears victory when TE Brandon Manumaleuna caught a 16 yard pass just after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, which left no time for finding a quiet janitor's closet or abandoned concessions stand. Hey Bears, my schvartz thanks you for playing it super-onservative and keeping the game interesting until the final possession.

According to reports, Lovie Smith showed some fire and brimstone during halftime. I have to assume it was because Garrett Wolfe was on the horn with the Elias Sports Bureau (see below) and wasn't available to fetch him his usual Gatorade Tranq-Bar.

* Small solace at 7 minutes left in the 3rd on a good Maynard (punt). Throw the ball Cutler, guys are open!

Post game note:

By "guys," I must have meant "Earl Bennett." At this point, it was pretty obvious the Bears weren't going to do anything to beat themselves, though with the prospects of the HJ dwindling more and more by the moment, I hadn't personally ruled out this strategy.

* Did two Bears run into each other right in front of Hester on the return?

Post game note:

I'm pretty sure this happened, though I think it's safe to say my mind was wandering at this point. Even so, this return led to a Robbie Gould field goal.

Instead of pushing for receiving incentives on his next contract negotiation, agent Eugene Parker should figure out the corollary between Hester's punt/kickoff returns and subsequent scoring chances.

Hey Garrett, wanna make a couple of bucks? No, no, this doesn't involve blackmailing Darryl Drake. Run these numbers over to Eugene Parker's office.

• Gould FG to make it 20-17 in the 3rd. My brother in law is screaming for an onside kick.

Post game note:

He would be disappointed with the ensuing standard-side kick.I didn't feel it was that crazy at the time. It's the sort of strangely timed gamble that Lovie takes once a season.

* Who scored that touchdown? He looks big. Kellen Davis? Seriously I can't tell.

Post game note:

I didn't find out it was Brandon Manumaleuna until getting back to Chicago. My phone was out of juice and my sister-in-law just had to watch Superbad for the thousandth time on the ride home; so no radio.

Patriots at Bears
Nobody does the underneath pass quite like the Patriots, so Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead (I've already written enough explicate implications for one article, insert your own here) should scare Bears fans. It's a terrible match-up for Cover 2 defensive schemes. Look for an ungodly YAC (pronounced YACK!) by the Patriots on the lakefront this Sunday.

While the Pats destroyed the Jets on Monday night, it's safe to say that the Bears have a better attack than the Jets' run-to-set-up-the-pass-interference offense, and the game should stay close and high-scoring.

The New England defense isn't that good, but at the end of the day, the Patriots have too many weapons and will pick the Bears apart eight yards at a time.

Patriots 31, Bears 24.

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Andrew Golden brings you the Blue half of this report every week; Carl Mohrbacher brings you the Orange. They welcome your comments.

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