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updated: 1/11/2011 4:48 PM

Looking back on all the Bears' breaks this season

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I'm not saying that the Bears wouldn't be thisclose to the NFC championship game without some good luck, I'm just sayin' ...

Getting the sub-.500 Seattle Seahawks at home on Sunday is just the latest stroke of good fortune that seems to have followed the Bears all season. That's not to take anything away from what has been an outstanding team effort from a group that got little respect.

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But it's almost eerie how the breaks have fallen the Bears' way this year.

How often did Lady Luck smile on the Bears this season? Let's count the ways.

First, the Bears are healthier than any team still playing. The only player with any NFL experience on injured reserve is backup linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer. Twenty-nine starters or key backups missed no games or just one because of injury.

It should have been obvious that this was going to be the Bears' season after the opener. They fell behind the Lions 14-3, but just before halftime Julius Peppers forced a fumble on a blind-side sack of quarterback Matthew Stafford that knocked him out of that game. The ball was recovered by Tommie Harris, setting up a Bears field goal.

Late in the game, after going 0-for-4 from the Lions' one-yard line, the Bears took a 19-14 lead with 1:32 left in the game. Just over a minute later Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson leaped for a pass in the end zone, caught the ball, came down with one foot on the ground, then a second, fell down while maintaining possession and then let go of the ball as he got to his feet. After a meeting of the officials, it was ruled no catch -- to almost everyone's amazement -- but that call was upheld and the Bears' lead preserved after a booth review.

The ruling was that Johnson did not maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire process of the catch. In layman's terms, the officials made a correct interpretation of an idiotic rule.

In Week Three the Bears caught the Green Bay Packers after running back Ryan Grant, coming off back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons, had already been lost for the season with a knee injury. But this win can't be counted in the lucky category. As the Packers proved all season, they are a great team even without Grant. They had just 43 rushing yards from running backs vs. the Bears, but the Bears got only 38 yards from their running backs.

In Week Five the Bears had the good fortune to face the Carolina Panthers with disappointing rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen behind the wheel. He was awful, but the Bears didn't need any luck to whip the Panthers.

But then, after the Bears won their first two games following the bye, their good-luck streak of facing third-string quarterbacks in three straight road games -- all victories -- kicked in.

In Week 11 in South Florida, the Bears offense struggled and quarterback Jay Cutler played poorly. But not as poorly as Tyler Thigpen, the Dolphins' No. 3 quarterback, who was making his first start in two years. He was sacked six times and intercepted once in a 16-0 Bears win.

Two weeks later, in a 24-20 victory, the Bears faced the Lions' No. 3 quarterback, Drew Stanton, who posted a 102.4 passer rating in his first start of the season and just the second of his three-year career. You wonder if the Lions might have won if Stafford or No. 2 quarterback Shaun Hill had played.

Then there was the fiasco in Minnesota. With the roof of the Metrodome caved in by heavy snow, the game was shifted to the University of Minnesota's outdoor stadium, eliminating the Vikings' dome-field advantage.

Shortly after Brett Favre led a TD drive on the opening possession, he was pulverized on a sack by Bears defensive end Corey Wootton that resulted in a concussion and the end of Favre's season. With backup Tavaris Jackson out with a toe injury, the Vikings had to call on rookie Joe Webb, who had thrown a total of 5 NFL passes prior to that. The Bears picked him off twice in a 40-14 rout.

As Hall of Fame pitcher Lefty Gomez once said, "I'd rather be lucky than good."

This season the Bears have been both. So far it's been a pretty potent combination.

Follow Bob LeGere's Bears reports via Twitter@BobLeGere. Check out his blog, Bear Essentials, at dailyherald.com.

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