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Blue: BrettFavreBrettFavreBrettFavreBrettFavre. That about covers the Monday Night Football crew's take on all that was to be of value on the frozen field of TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota last Monday night.
Corey Wooten thankfully put a stop to the Brett Favre AssMunch Fest by dropping the NFL's all-time leader in interceptions like an immobile 41-year-old quarterback protected by an utterly uninterested offensive line.
From there the Bears basically dominated the team that the experts thought would be facing the barely better Dallas Cowboys in the 2010 NFC Championship.
Then again, those same experts thought the Bears would take up the rear in the NFC North, leading to a housecleaning in management, coaching and possibly the cleaning crew.
As of this writing, Julius Peppers, Devin Hester and Brian Urlacher were each named starters for this year's Pro Bowl.
Peppers of the eight sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles, and a surprisingly strong presence in run defense.
Hester of the NFL record for most return TDs in a career, as well as what would be the league lead in punt return and kick return average if frightened opponents had given him the chance to return more than 11 kicks.
Urlacher of the 110-plus tackles, three-and-a-half sacks and a performance that is the main reason the Bears defense has returned to 2005-2006 form.
Each of these players coincidentally had an impact in the dismantling of the hapless Vikings.
Jets at Bears
The Jets' QB has been throwing left-handed in practice all week, LT is doing his usual end-of-the-year fade and the overrated Jets defense is no match for a rolling Bears team. Look to see a pared-down Mike Martz offense which exploits Jets blitzing with fast over-the-top passes to a streaking Earl Bennett and free-released Greg Olsen. I see about three touchdowns all game, two field goals and a lots of boring football.
Bears 17, Jets 10.
Orange: There's something to be said for achieving a reasonable goal, which is what the Bears did by defeating the undermanned and out-of-contention Minnesota Vikings 40-14 on Monday night. While the world's favorite purple-clad diva did his part to up what little intrigue there was, the game felt out of hand by halftime and was essentially finished by the middle of the third quarter.
The game's most interesting moment came on a long kickoff return by Devin Hester; not the all-time record-setting 64-yard punt return for a touchdown where Hester ran untouched for the better part of 40 yards, but the 79-yard return to the Vikings six in which he bobbed, weaved, juked and stumbled his way to a tantalizing near-miss to open the third quarter.
Most viewers who felt the outcome of the game was a foregone conclusion wisely turned their attention to alcohol. Thanks to the fairly predictable nature of ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcast team, there are literally thousands of varieties of drinking games available to the MNF viewing audience.
Going into the game, the Orange Report household opted to take a shot every time Jon Gruden said "This Guy," but after listening to the pregame commentary the strategy shifted to shotgunning a Pabst Blue Ribbon every time Brett Favre was compared to a biblical figure.
Here's the transcript for the early portion of the show.
Tirico: It's a cold night here at TCF Stadium; for one night the home of the Minnesota Vikings. After a week of brainstorming superlatives pertaining to virtually unknown rookie quarterback Joe Webb, a ratings miracle has been delivered unto this broadcast. Ron, tell us all about it.
Jaworski: Thanks Mike. Rising improbably from the inactives list, Brett Favre has removed the stone blocking his injury cave. After being declared out by the Vikings over three days ago, Favre has come to deliver the good word of gunslinging to us tonight, on Monday Night Football.
Gruden: Risen is he Ron, but woe to you oh Earth and sea, for a monster from the midway has been sent with wrath to put an end to this quarterback of quarterbacks. I call this guy Julius Peppers "Tiberius," because Soldier Field features Doric columns and while "Caesar" would have been an obvious choice, Tiberius ruled Rome exactly 2,000 years ago, which allows me to perpetuate this loose motif.
Jaworski: Let's not insult the audience, Jon. We all know that Brian Urlacher is the unquestioned leader of this defense and the only Bear worth comparing to a Roman emperor . . .
Gruden: I don't know about all that Ron. But I bet the championship ring I won with the Buccaneers might have some insight . . .
Tirico: (forces laughter) Hahaha! Gentleman, save some of that for the game!
The drinking game had to be called with 11:27 left in the second quarter due to Favre's injury (the report of "concussion" was later amended to "bruised ego," return doubtful). The Orange gang did get to pound two last rapid-fire brews when Jaworski compared Vikings offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie to Judas for allowing such a brutal hit, while Gruden cried out "WHY?! What evil hath he done?" as Favre lay motionless, prompting an awkward pause, likely filled with the silent contemplation of the sins of pride, infidelity and gluttony/drug addiction.
At the end of the uneventful day, the Bears are playoff-bound and, as division winners, guaranteed at least one home game in the process, thanks to a playoff seeding system that has less to do with record than it does to do with winning a division (see the NFC West).
Jets at Bears
This game ought to suck, oughten it?
On the one hand, you have a classic example of a Lovie Smith's "We just made the playoffs, let's take our foot off the gas" game. On the other, we've got your standard "The Jets offense is f-ing terrible right now and they love to turn the ball over" game looming.
Mark Sanchez (pronounced Sahn-Chayyyyys) is considered a franchise quarterback, but is bad at throwing and holding the football. The Jets defense is considered good, but has allowed 20+ points in seven of their 14 games. Also, the Jets have missed one out of every four field goal attempts (27 for 36) this season.
The Bears coaching staff will likely be scheming up the game plan for the season finale in Green Bay on the sidelines, so expect a lot of "Hey Taylor, get in there and . . . uh, dive . . . uh, left guard . . . I guess" plays. With Lance Briggs' new Microsoft Kinect set up in the trainer's room, phantom hamstring tweaks will run rampant by the second quarter.
Something's gotta give. It will likely be our collective patience.
Jets 13, Bears 9.
Andrew Golden brings you the Blue half of this report every week; Carl Mohrbacher brings you the Orange. They welcome your comments.