Several weeks ago, it might have been laughable to suggest that the Bears and Arizona Cardinals are two teams in pretty much the same mess. It is not the least bit funny now.
Both have lost five of their last six. The Cardinals have lost nine of their last 10 but they have had a victory more recently (last Sunday over Detroit) than the Bears, who have not won since Nov. 25. They were both 4-1 at one point.
The Cardinals have a miserable situation at quarterback where sixth-round rookie Ryan Lindley has yet to throw a touchdown pass in four starts and against six interceptions. The Bears have a situation at quarterback as well, where Jay Cutler has thrown more interceptions (three) than touchdown passes (two) in the last two games with the NFC North and playoffs at stake. In the six-game swoon, Cutler has thrown five touchdown passes vs. six interceptions.
It has been anything but all Cutler. Receivers also have dropped more TD passes than theyve caught and the offenses only two rushing touchdowns over the last six games came in that Nov. 25 win over Minnesota.
The point here is that Bears are every bit capable of losing the Arizona game with their offense, perhaps the summary irony of 2012 for a team that traded for a franchise wide receiver, drafted one in the second round and kept every key offensive piece in place.
This is how the Arizona game (and Bears record) looked to CSNChicago.com at what seems now like a very long time ago:
At Arizona Cardinals (8-8) Sun., Dec. 23, 3:15 p.m.
Analysis: Arizona reached .500 in 2011 but has done little in the offseason to get better and is converting to a 3-4. On offense neither Kevin Kolb nor John Skelton is enough to beat this Bears defense.
Result: W (11-4)
The good news for the Bears that Lindley is not enough to beat this Bears defense, either.
Bears 14 Cardinals 10
It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.
Sosa is heating up, but even a red-hot Sosa doesn't automatically equal wins for the Cubs.
Slammin' Sammy notched his first multi-homer game in 1998 in a 9-5 loss to Kevin Millwood and the Atlanta Braves. Sosa drove in 4 of the Cubs' 5 runs on a solo shot in the 4th inning and a three-run shot in the 8th.
Sosa tallied 830 feet of homers in the game, with his first blast going 410 feet and the second shot measured at 420 feet.
The big game bumped Sosa's overall season slash line to .337/.411/.551 (.962 OPS) with 11 homers and 35 RBI.
Fun fact: Mickey Morandini hit second for the Cubs in this game and went 4-for-4, but somehow only scored one run despite hitting just in front of Sosa all game. That's because Morandini was caught stealing to end the 3rd inning, leaving Sosa to lead off the 4th inning with a solo blast.
Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.
Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.
"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"
Paxson famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch the series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.
"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"
Watch the video above to see the interaction.
Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.