Sometimes its just about getting the win, and Sunday in Chicago the Bears did just that – barely – as they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-31 in overtime. The win was ultra-important for Chicago, as it clinches a first round bye and a pair of playoff games at home come January. At home the Bears have lost just once this season, a game in early November against the Dolphins.
Rex Grossman played well again for Chicago, and seems to be back to playing at the type of level the team needs in order to make it to Miami the first weekend in February. Sunday against Tampa Bay he was 29-for-44 for 339 yards and two TD’s. He made some bad throws in overtime, but in the end, made the big ones to help get the Bears in position to win the game.
Not that all is great today in the Windy City. There still is plenty of room for concern for the now 12-2 Bears, as again their defense was a bit shakey, mostly in a 4th quarter barrage in which Tampa Bay rallied to tie the game at 31 and send it into OT. The Bears D has shown cracks the last two weeks, giving up a season-high in yards to the Rams last Monday night, and Sunday allowing a 95-yard drive and three TD’s in that fourth quarter.
The Bears defense allowed 357 yards, 5.3 yards per play, and 268 yards to a QB in Tim Rattay who was a third-stringer to start the season for Tampa Bay. It is enough to be concerned about how this team is going to react in crunch time once the pressures of January hit and teams, and no, not teams like Tampa Bay, but teams like Dallas and New Orleans, suddenly find an offensive stride against the Bears.
No one in Chicago has forgotten how badly the Bears D did in the divisional round last season against the Panthers when they lost at home, and no one, coaches or Bears players want a repeat of that this season. A grind it out ugly win for the best team in the NFC, but a win that will be highly looked at with a sigh of relief more than a feeling of pride.