Heartbreak in the Windy City as Packers Beat Bears 21-14 to Advance to Super Bowl XLV

The Bears just lost the conference championship game on their home field to their hated rival in a game 70 years in the making.

I know it’s difficult, but leave the 2nd guessing, woulda, shoulda couldas and ‘what if’s for another day. Don’t talk to me about Jay Cutler’s toughness…or Lovie’s decision to go with Todd Collins over Caleb Hanie early…or the questionable Earl Bennett reverse on a crucial 3rd down on the deciding drive.

Instead, remember that…

  • The Bears defense couldn’t stop Rodgers and Co. from gaining crucial momentum early in the game.
  • Cutler couldn’t lead the Bears to a sustained drive in the 1st half.
  • Brian Urlacher couldn’t outrun Aaron Rodgers in the open field for what should’ve been a pick-six.
  • The supposedly superior Chicago special teams couldn’t make the impact play many of us thought they needed to win the game.

The result? The Packers are going to the Super Bowl. The Bears are going home. Today the green and gold was better for longer against the blue and orange. Chicago and its fans will have to live with the misery for the rest of our lives. But hang in there Bear Nation…the pain will eventually subside.

And I know what you’re thinking…but for now, we should leave Lovie alone.

The media peppered Lovie Smith and Brian Urlacher with questions about the toughness of their starting QB in the postgame press conference. They both got pissed off and I understand why.

Jay Cutler is one tough SOB, and if this year didn’t prove it, I don’t know what will.

Cutler was the most sacked/hit QB in the NFL…by 12 sacks over the nearest guy. He was sacked 9 times in one half, for crying out loud. He never slid when he ran with the ball. He never called out his offensive line for his reoccurring beatdowns. He never complained about his lack of protection.

What good is he out there against an aggressive defense if he can’t plant his foot to make a throw or execute the 7-step drops of Martz’s timing offense? He was hurt and the Bears needed to rely on the next man in.

Instead of criticizing Lovie for putting the 38-year-old, more experienced Collins in a game that had everything riding on it, give the coach credit for pulling him quickly when things weren’t working out.

It’s a small consolation prize, but I’ve never been prouder of a Bears team after a loss.

The defense played unbelievable in the second half, keeping Rodgers – the league’s hottest quarterback – out of the end zone. For the game, no. 12 didn’t record a TD throw, had two passes picked and recorded a measly, Grossman-like 55.4 quarterback rating.

Caleb Hanie almost etched his name in NFL lore for leading an improbable Bears comeback with two late scoring drives. His 13-20, 153-yard and TD performance is all the more impressive considering he probably received more practice snaps as the scout team QB than he did running his own team’s offense.

This one hurts. But if someone were to tell you back in August the Bears would be one of the last four teams standing and playing for the right to go to the Super Bowl, you would’ve bought that dude/dudette a one-way ticket to the funny farm.

The Super Bowl should be interesting to watch – I for one will have rooting interest (against the Packers) in the league’s showcase game.

Bear Down, Chicago Bears.

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