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By the time the Bears (who have now scored seven points total in nine third quarters this season - an unbelievable record of ineptitude) blew another post-halftime drive on Sunday, lowlighted by two straight fourth-down false-start penalties, it was clear they were on their way to another game in which, for the majority of the 60 minutes, they were the lesser team.
Let me write a little disclaimer right here: This is a football column that has some political stuff at the end. I was a Biden supporter in this year's election. If you want to bail out here, everyone understands.
But the double-penalty sequence and subsequent punt didn't mean the Bears were definitely going to lose. Coach Mike Vrabel, like his mentor Bill Belichick has done dozens of times with sizable, Tom Brady-generated leads in the 20 seasons leading up to this one, had his team play soft zone defense for much of the fourth quarter.
First and foremost, the Titans were trying to make sure they didn't give up big scoring plays. And while that strategy is a slightly higher percentage play in general and worked on Sunday, it is far from foolproof. Oftentimes one missed tackle (or a well-struck and lucky onside kick) can lead to the dreaded big play against and foil the plan.
I later realized that after the second false start, the one called on ultra-bust Jimmy Graham, I didn't feel nearly the irritation, if not downright anger, that I would usually feel in that sort of situation.
Then David Montgomery, in yet another of his doomed forays into the opposing defense in which the opposition clearly outnumbered the running back's blockers, fumbled the football, the Titans grabbed it and took it back for a back-breaking touchdown and 17-0 lead.
Still no fury. Now let's be clear: The things that prompt sports fan fury in me (in which I, in no particular order, scream at the TV and rant and rave for a while) are not plays like the fumble recovery touchdown. Stuff like that just happens in a game (and this fumble was absolutely the exception that proves the rule - it was Montgomery's first of the season. He is actually great at ball security).
What prompts fury is usually something crushingly stupid like Graham's penalty, or a blown referee call, or a particularly ill-advised play call, which has been a Matt Nagy specialty in the last three games and which, come to think of it, almost certainly was at least a partial culprit for the Montgomery bobble.
And finally in the fourth quarter the Titans drove down the field and added a final touchdown to just about officially put the game out of reach. The Bears defense made a variety of bad plays during that stretch but how could you be truly pissed at the defense?
They had given the Bears a chance to win and then some all day long. They had nothing to do with the critical Titan defensive touchdown and while the Bears' continued inability to get turnovers is a problem, they are a very good defense and they played great but for two sizable Titan touchdown drives.
That last scoring drive was a killer but was there any reasonably cogent fan watching who felt like even a relatively small slice of that ultimately insurmountable deficit was on the defense? No.
As I thought about it after the game, I think I figured out why I didn't get nearly as upset as I would have during an average Bears game.
It was that I was so relieved to hear the presidential election news early Saturday that I was still riding a high of happiness throughout Sunday. I have also been thinking about what my official reaction to the presidential election would be and I've decided to go ahead and put it here:
If I could put something in front of the president, it would say: "The election is over and you definitively lost. You called your win in 2016 a landslide and if that was the case, this was a landslide in the other direction.
"For once in your gilded, privileged life, act like an adult. I realize that acting like a petulant child has in some way worked for you in terms of bullying banks, among other business adversaries, and in terms of winning the occasional political fight during the past almost four years. But for once in your life stop looking in the mirror and look out on the country.
"The time has come for you to not put yourself first for a little while. If you just go out and acknowledge the truth of your electoral loss you will be doing the country that elected you the first time, don't forget, a service that will reflect well on you.
"Mr. President, if you are at least in one tiny way the great man that Jack Nicklaus and 70 million-plus other Americans would like to continue to pretend that you are, you will concede, immediately."
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
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Posted on May 13, 2021