Bears

Bears hit a new low with record-setting case of the drops

Bears hit a new low with record-setting case of the drops

The 2016 Bears are finding different ways each week to hit a new low.

They flipped the script on what appeared to be a blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans at Soldier Field Sunday, but a serious case of the drops by the receivers helped turn this one into another gut-wrenching loss.

Trailing 27-7 in the fourth quarter, Matt Barkley led the Bears on a major comeback, bringing the team seven yards away from a game-tying score and a successful extra point away from a victory.

Barkley threw for 210 yards in the fourth quarter alone, but he couldn't get those final seven yards, thanks to a devastating drop by a wide-open Josh Bellamy in the endzone with less than a minute remaining in the game.

"I just missed the opportunity," Bellamy said. "I beat myself up because I expect more out of myself and I know I should have made that play."

Bellamy stood at his locker after the game and answered question after question about his costly drop. He said he apologized to Barkley after the gaffe.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Barkley's fourth-quarter line is even more impressive given the Bears receivers were slapped with five drops in the final period.

As a whole, a Bears receiving corps missing Alshon Jeffery (suspension), Kevin White (injury) and Zach Miller (injury) had 10 drops — the most recorded in a game over the last decade:

"We're all upset at ourselves," said receiver Marquess Wilson. "We just gotta work at it and get better."

Wilson finished with 125 yards on eight catches and a touchdown, but he dropped another easy score in the back of the endzone in the fourth quarter. 

Barkley later threw a touchdown pass to Deonte Thompson on that drive, so ultimately there was no harm done, but Wilson admitted he should catch that ball 10 out of 10 times.

Wilson and Bellamy pointed to a lack of focus as an issue among the receiving corps.

Making his first NFL start, Barkley refused to throw any of his receivers under the bus, pointing to his own mistakes as contributing to the loss and taking the blame off Bellamy's shoulders.

"We win as a team and we'll lose as a team," said Barkley, who insisted he never got frustrated with all the drops. "During the game, I don't get wrapped up in the emotions of all that negativity. I'm trying to keep guys going, keep the tempo pressed and one play at a time."

The Bears are in the midst of one of their toughest seasons in franchise history and it's more than just the 2-9 record — it's the injuries and the suspensions adding up to an overwhelming amount of adversity.

But the NFL season is not like a boxing match. There are no refs to call it early on account of knockout.

There are still five games left and the Bears receiving corps will be without Jeffery for two more contests before he returns from suspension and won't see White or Miller stepping out on the gridiron again this year.

"Hey, the sun's gonna come up tomorrow," Bellamy said. "Just gotta keep doing it."

It sounds like Jay Cutler is bored in retirement

It sounds like Jay Cutler is bored in retirement

After a week off the air, “Very Cavallari” was back with a new episode, which meant more Jay Cutler in retirement.

This week we were treated to Cutler being as sarcastic as ever and sulking about having nothing to do. Cutler’s first scene involved him and his wife, Kristin Cavallari, talking about their relationship and spending time with each other. Cavallari is going to do another pop-up shop for her fashion store, which means more travel. Jay, your thoughts?

“Oh, great,” Cutler said with his trademark sarcasm.

Later in the conversation we get a bleak look into Jay Cutler post-football.

“I just hang out and clean up,” Cutler said.

Sounds like he may want to hit up the announcing gig he had lined up before coming out of retirement and heading to the Dolphins for the 2017 season.

Next, we got Cutler shopping for birthday presents for their 3-year-old daughter. If nothing else, this was amusing to see Cutler shopping for gifts for little girls.

Watch the video above to see all of the best of Cutty, which also features him designing jewelry for some reason.

Recalling Chet Coppock – snapshots of a character, who also had character

coppock_obit.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

Recalling Chet Coppock – snapshots of a character, who also had character

The news that came out Thursday, that Chet Coppock had died from injuries suffered in an automobile accident earlier this month in Florida, was sad on so many levels. That you didn’t have a chance to say “good-bye,” that you didn’t have a chance to say “thank you,” that you won’t have more of “those” kinds of Chet moments.

But one of my favorite movie moments is at the end of “The Last Samurai” when Tom Cruise, the wounded ex-U.S. soldier who’d fought with the Samurai, is asked by the young Japanese emperor about the death of Ken Watanabe’s Samurai character Katsumoto, “Tell me how he died.” To which Cruise says, “I will tell you, how he lived.”

Somehow that’s the feeling thinking about Chet – little fun snapshots of how he lived.

Snapshots like listening to Coppock on Sports, and appreciating that Chet deserves a spot in the pantheon of those who created a genre.

Like how we in the media laughed imitating Chet’s questions, which routinely went on long enough for you to run out for a sandwich and be back before he was finished. But the chuckle was how Chet wouldn’t directly ask a guest, “So why did you make THAT idiotic play?” No, Chester had this tack of, “So, what would you say to those who would say, ‘You’re an idiot?’” Of course, it would take a minimum of two minutes for him to wend his way through the question, but the results were always worth waiting for.

Like “Your dime, your dance floor.” 

Like grabbing lunches with Chet while I was working on the ’85 Bears book, but in particular while I was writing “100 Greatest Chicago Sports Arguments.” The specific in the latter told me a lot about Chet, far beyond just the information he was sharing.

The “argument” was over who was the greatest Chicago play-by-play broadcaster. Now, Chet of course suggested tongue-in-cheek that he belonged in the discussion; after all, as he pointed out, a high school kid at New Trier games, sitting by himself in the stands, doing play-by-play into a “microphone” that was one of those cardboard rollers from bathroom tissue, oughta be worth something.

Chet’s nomination for the actual No. 1 was Jack Brickhouse, the WGN legend who Chet noted had done play-by for every conceivable sport.

But the reason for Chet’s vote for Brickhouse wasn’t about any of that. It was, Chet said, because Brickhouse beginning back in the mid-‘50s, when the Cubs were integrating with Gene Baker and Ernie Banks, had very intentionally made it clear with his broadcasting and behavior that Baker and Banks were “Cubs,” not “black Cubs.” Brickhouse’s principles had left an impression on a then-young Chet.

I hadn’t known any of that. But Chet did, and that he had taken a lasting impression from what he’d heard growing up said something about Chet as well as Jack. That impressed me, and frankly has always been my favorite Chet story.

So losing an institution like Chet is sad; Chet did say that, no, he wasn’t an institution, but rather that he belonged IN one. But at least he came our way.