Bears

Word on the Street: '85 Bears best team of all time?

Word on the Street: '85 Bears best team of all time?

Friday, Feb. 4, 2011
CSNChicago.com

'85 Bears best team in history?

According to Jim Ruppert of the State Journal-Register, the '85 Bears were the best team in NFL history.He attributes the talent of Da Coach Mike Ditka, Hall of Famers WalterPayton, Dan Hampton, and Mike Singletary, plus legends like JimMcMahon, Steve McMichael, and Jim Covert to the team's success. (State Journal-Register)

Burish placed on IR

The Stars announced that right wing and ex-Blackhawk Adam Burish was placed on Injured Reserve with a facial injury. He suffered the injury Feb. 3 at Boston.

Burish has appeared in 52 games for Dallas this season, scoring seven goals and four assits for 11 points. The seven goals and 11 points are new career-highs. (DallasStars.com)

Deng 'disappointed' about All-Star snub

Despite being 20 games over .500 at 34-14, the Bulls will only be sending one player to the NBA All-Star Game. Derrick Rose will make the trip to Los Angeles on Feb. 20. And Luol Deng is surprised about that decision.

"I'm dissapointed," he said. "To go there and represent the team would've been great. It's weird to me we only have one. All I can do is put it past me."

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he felt both Deng and Carlos Boozer were deserving of All-Star selections. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Bears sign Canadian receiver

The Bears signed a big, physical receiver that they hope will compliment their existing receiving corps. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Canadian Football League veteran Andy Fantuz was signed to a reservefuture contract.

The Ontario native led the CFL with 1,380 receiving yards on 87 catches and six touchdown in 2010. Fantuz spent five seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, hauling in 276 receptions for 4,136 yards and 23 touchdowns. (Chicago Sun-Times)
Brewers sign Kotsay

According to the team, the Brewers singed Mark Kotsay to a Major League contract. Kotsay will earn 800K plus a 100K roster bonus and 350K in performance bonuses. The 35-year-old will provide the Brewers with another option in the outfield and at first base.

Hitting .239.306.376 in 359 plate appearances last season for the White Sox, Kotsay clubbed eight homers while playing first base and right field. (MLBtraderumors.com)

Falling ice injures workers at Super Bowl stadium

Local media reports have said between five and seven people were injured after sheets of ice and snow slid off the doomed roof of Cowboys Stadium and fell to the ground as a result of warming temperatures after four days of freezing conditions. All entrances to the venue have been closed except for one.

Forecasters expect a mostly sunny Super Bowl Sunday with highs in the 40s. The stadium's retractable roof will be closed. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

McMahon reports memory loss

Jim McMahon is in Dallas ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers hoping to shine a spotlight on a crisis that has suddenly become the NFL's hot-button issue: head injuries.

The Super Bowl-winning QB reports that he has experienced memory loss and is working with the Sport Legacy Institute (SLI), a non-profit organization whose mission is to help advance the study, treatment and prevention of head trauma in athletes. McMahon suffered at least five concussions during his 15 seasons, which has exacted a heavy toll. (L.A. Times)

Islanders goalie out 4-6 weeks after KO

In the first NHL goalie fight in over three years, New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro suffered a solid left hit to the chin from Penguins goalie Brent Johnson on Wednesday. Now, Pietro is expected to miss the next four to six weeks with facial fractures.

"You never go into a fight expecting you're going to get smashed in the face that hard or with these kind of consequences," DiPietro said. "It happens... Unfortunately my face paid the price." (Chicago Breaking Sports)

The Bears are embracing an underdog mentality as playoff push continues

The Bears are embracing an underdog mentality as playoff push continues

After the final horn sounded on the Bears' signature win of the season so far — a 31-24 trouncing of the Cowboys that wasn't as close as the final score — and all the patented 'Club Dub' celebrations had concluded, a subdued, resolute and focused locker room remained.

These aren't the 2018 Bears — no matter how decisive and dynamic Mitch Trubisky was tonight; no matter the fits the team's depleted front seven gave one of the most talented offensive lines in the league; no matter the balanced plan of attack deployed by Matt Nagy, or that they're now one game closer to an improbable run to the playoffs.

Three weeks ago, this team had been all but dismissed by the greater Chicago faithful. And perhaps that was fair. In year two of the Nagy-Trubisky coach-quarterback pairing, the team was on pace to regress in just about every category you could conjure — most importantly wins. Now, they're 7-6, above .500, and only 1.5 games behind the Vikings for the No. 6 seed in the NFC (with a matchup against them looming in Week 17). 

Tonight, the process may have been even more encouraging than the result, especially looking forward to a challenging three-game close to the season.

"When you win, your confidence goes up. Players, they play different in regard to when you're winning," Matt Nagy said postgame. "You play looser. You don't press as much. I think right now the identity between the defense, the offense, it doesn't feel like one of those deals where if we don't hold them to under 14 points, we don't have a chance to win."

Trubisky was as sharp as he's ever been in one of the bigger games of his career, tossing for 244 yards and amassing four total touchdowns — three through the air, one on the ground. And talk about loose: He also put together his most impressive rushing performance in over a calendar year, breaking out for 63 yards on 10 attempts, including a late-game 23-yard touchdown (to put the Bears ahead 31-14) that ignited Soldier Field around him.

His resurgence has come in lockstep with the Bears' season turning. Perhaps that's no coincidence.

"I think it says we're resilient, stick together, believe in each other even when nobody else believes in us," Trubisky said. "That's a special group in that locker room. We want to keep this feeling going, focusing on the little things, focusing hard, sticking together, doing our jobs."

Allen Robinson said that the team's confidence has "never wavered." Charles Leno said the offense is firing on all cylinders. The defense, missing four starters, didn't miss a beat until the Cowboys tacked on some garbage-time fluff late in the game.

A crucial, yet challenging, stretch looms. First, the Bears travel to Lambeau Field to face the Packers for the second time this season. Then, back home for Kansas City — though mortal, still one of the more potent offensive attacks in football. And finally, to Minnesota for a potential postseason play-in game. The Bears probably need all three of those games to be wins, save for late-season collapses from the Rams and Vikings (not impossible), to pull off a playoff berth. As it stands currently, they project as underdogs in both those road contests, and possibly even against the Chiefs (though a win in Green Bay would go a long way, there). 

As far as Nagy is concerned... Good. 

"I'm okay with that. For our guys, it's different," Nagy said of assuming the underdog role for the stretch run. "Last year, there was a different type of mentality because we didn't know, there were no expectations. This year, a lot of expectations. So now here we are at 7-6. Who knows really what we're going to be at. We know we have some really good teams coming up. Our guys, as you can see, they're just focused on winning each week. That's what they're doing."

The Bears still face long playoff odds, but they're clicking at just the right time

The Bears still face long playoff odds, but they're clicking at just the right time

If you wanted to throw water on the Bears’ playoff chances, the hardest part would be deciding what well to draw it from. The data overwhelmingly agrees: the Bears, even after a reassuring 31-24 win over Dallas, are longshots to make the playoffs. FiveThirtyEight’s playoff predictor gives them a 5% chance. The Cowboys, with their 6-7 record and three-game losing streak, have a 59% chance. 

“If we don't win, none of those percentages matter,” Matt Nagy said after the game. “The percentages part, [I don’t know]. I know we’ve got to win.” 

And not only that, but the Bears will have to win while playing the hardest remaining schedule of any team in football. Next Sunday they go to Green Bay, where they haven’t won since 2015. Then all that stands between them and a potential play-in Week 17 game in Minnesota is Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. It’s brutal, but it doesn’t seem as impossible as it did this time yesterday. 

“I think we said that a few weeks back,” Allen Robinson said. “We’ve been saying one game at a time, and I think for us, we’re definitely on the verge of going up right now. So we just want to keep it that way. We’ve been saying it now for the past few weeks. We just want to keep stringing good practices together, good weeks together, and some good runs together.” 

Games like Thursday night’s show you what the Matt Nagy Bears are capable of when things click. It starts with Nagy, who’s finally come around on running the offense that works, even if it is the diluted version. Against Dallas the Bears ran the ball 34 times and threw 31 passes; they’re now 7-2 when running 20 times or more. 

“It’s being able to create chemistry with my O-line,” David Montgomery said. “Those guys have been doing good. I credit them with the little bit of success I’ve had towards the end of the season.”

The passing game has been opened up, ironically enough, with the emergence of three different undrafted tight ends. Ben Braunecker, Jesper Horsted, and JP Holtz have become legitimate cogs in the offense, which is again a testament to how critical the position is to Nagy and the Bears’ success.

“That's nice to have that,” Nagy said, grinning. “It definitely helps out.” 

“I mean, there were a few things we had in this game plan that were going to give more opportunities. He happened to be that guy on some of the plays. Those guys have stepped up. They've helped us out in that role. You can see when you have that tight end, that presence there, it helps out.”

Holtz joked after the game about being caught off guard by how much open field was in front of him on his 30-yard screen play. It was a well drawn-up and executed play – a good example of a more rigorous attention to detail that Bears coaches and players were finally happy with. 

“Guys are stepping up,” Anthony Miller said. “We’ve got some guys hurt, but we don’t miss a beat. Everybody knows what’s at stake. Everybody knows that we have to win. It’s like every game we’re playing with our backs against the wall. So, every game is a must-win, and we’ve got to get (the Green Bay Packers) in Lambeau next week.”

The injuries are a real concern. Getting Akiem Hicks is taking a step forward but losing Roquan Smith is taking two back. Playoff talk is probably still premature, but like Nagy said, all the Bears can do is win the games in front of them. They’ll play a second straight week of meaningful December football, which is two more than anybody would have guessed before Thanksgiving. 

“We are clicking on all cylinders, with all three phases,” Charles Leno added.  “Even four phases, thanks to the fans out there in Chicago that are always bringing it. 

“It was a really good performance by everybody.”