Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hungry Chicago Bears No Longer Hibernate, but Legitimize Conviction

If the facet of life presents full of surprises, it could be the elusive, unforeseen fairy tales happening before our very eyes in the NFL.

In sports, when you witness a sense of unpredictability or surrealism, it’s normally a funny trend that happens every season.

It’s hard to believe the Chiefs are 3-0. It’s hard to fathom the Niners are 0-3, just as it’s hard to realize the Bears are 3-0. It’s unbelievable. It’s surreal.

In reality, though, it has happened, and what we are witnessing is authentic in a season of fairy tales and a season when we are clueless of what to believe.

Now the Chicago Bears, largely considered the most appealing and creative team in football, are currently an unbeaten franchise in a town that has been mired in misfortune, as every major franchise has been victimized of hapless letdowns. The trends of hopelessness badly blemished an avid sports town, but as of recently, the Bears are a cure of aspiration, sending a statement to the NFC North.

As the game progressed at a sold-out Soldier Field in a Monday night showdown against bitter foes the Green Bay Packers, the wildest crowd roared on a bone-chilling night in the Windy City. All in all, the Bears are ferocious in the National Football League, no longer hibernating in the darkness with regular-season fiascoes that unhinged the prominence of the Bears’ prior history.

But at long last, the hard-driven Bears are propelling in prime contention and Jay Cutler is getting his shot at redemption, maturing into a much-efficient quarterback under Mike Martz’s creativity and originality. It quickly developed that the Bears' style on offense is the difference in a much-improved onslaught, escaping the agonizing breakdowns and defining improbability of becoming NFL elite.

It’s evident as Chicago wins its third straight game to begin the regular season that they are legitimizing resiliency at a moment when the NFL is suddenly a league with surprises and mystique. Three weeks into the season, and already the Bears are being revered, while in conversations to win the division. Wait, win the division?

Yes, you heard it right.

Even if the season has just begun, the Bears are unbeaten, amazingly after surviving a season opener against the Detroit Lions, a contest blown by the poor officiating on Calvin Johnson's eye-popping one-handed touchdown catch as time expired. But either way, the Bears will take it.

Shortly after the win over the Dallas Cowboys, general manager Jerry Angelo was impressed with the resurrection as the Bears preserved an enormous one for the victors.

It figured that he’s really impressed and convinced when the Bears survived a 20-17 win, which is highly a conception given that Chicago seems invincible, fierce, and unbeaten. But the reprieve, as the Bears are accomplishing near-perfection, coincides with the idea that this team is built and potent enough to win massive games in critical moments.

If the Bears aren’t thrilling in their dazzling performances, then reconsider it because of the lightning speed of All-Pro returner Devin Hester.

It’s very seldom we witness a brutal kick returner return one for a touchdown, and when an electrifying play is seen, it makes headlines. Every now and then, Hester returns the ball to the end zone untouched with his blistering, dangerous speed, an unparalleled component for the Bears' remarkable streak early in the season.

With all the miracles in sports, Hester scored with a 62-yard return for a touchdown when the Packers mistakenly punted in his direction and gave him a shot to bring out his agility and quickness, and he darted by opposing defenders for his first score on special teams since the last game of the 2007 season.

Are the Bears really good?

However, they did manage to take advantage of the sloppy miscues committed by the Packers. It’s a bad recipe. Right now, at least, the Bears are proving to be virtually dominant and sensational, whether or not Green Bay had clumsy mistakes. That is precisely what gave the Bears good field position: a pass interference call against the Packers’ Morgan Burnett.

Most importantly, the Bears caught a break once the refs blew the whistles and overruled Jay Cutler’s interception to set up a 19-yard field goal attempt Robbie Gould booted for the game-winner.

Early in the third quarter, the Bears trailed 10-7, and it looked as if Lovie Smith would be sitting in the hot seat and in trouble of losing his coaching job. But starting off the season with a strong case of goodness might have just saved his coaching tenure. Only a few years ago, disgracefully, he was criticized and has been the scapegoat for the travesty and misery that pathetically circled the Bears.

At least at this point, Cutler is rebounding from his pitiful decisions last season when he led the league with the most interceptions and embarrassed himself. Not as advertised, he wasn’t living up to expectations and hadn’t played like a franchise quarterback. He was projected as the savior in Chicago’s deficiencies at the most important position but instead had been ridiculed for constantly tossing into double coverage and lofting ill-advised throws.

On a night the Bears wore throwback 1940s jerseys and paid tribute in a moment of silence before the game in honor of former Bear George Blanda, who died Monday, though he was shaky in the game, Cutler had discipline and awareness to lead the Bears. Besides flaws in his throwing motion and the tendency to overthrow his receivers, he threw for 221 yards and answered on an interception.

In his favor, it was reversed by a helmet-to-helmet hit charged to Packers linebacker Frank Zombo. With a team record of 18 penalties by the Packers, the Bears were the smarter opponents and took advantage. Good teams take advantage of mistakes. Good teams win on turnovers. Less than three minutes left in the game, veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher stripped James Jones and forced a fumble, and the Bears’ Tim Jennings recovered the ball.

By halftime they were still alive and they prevailed, with the Bears' monstrous defense dictating the momentum on their sizable effort. Flash back to the preseason, and you’d see this isn’t the same team we are seeing now. Flash back to the preseason, and you’d see a dissimilar team, a team with no identity.

Entering the game, Cutler had a 5-10 record in night games. The history of his struggles was obvious in the first half, with interceptions, overthrows, and incomplete passes.

But even better, the Bears won.

Whether or not they won it on the Packers' sloppy plays, still they are a dominant team and built with elite toughness.