Monday, Jan. 10, 2011
By John Mullin
Julius Peppers cut to the chase, and he did it a lot better than the New Orleans Saints did.
The Bears defensive end watched as Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch broke a 67-yard touchdown run to end New Orleans' playoff hopes. What struck Peppers was how many Saints did not do much more than watch as well.
Lynch broke more than a half-dozen tackles and as far as that ever happening against Peppers and the Bears defense, No, he said simply. He repeated the statement with purpose. No.
I watched that play and it was a great play by Marshawn. He ran really hard on that but I saw a few guys miss tackles, get up and start watching. That doesnt happen around here. We get up and run to the ball. Somebodys going to get up and run to the ball.
The effort that he displayed was amazing. It was also a lack of effort on the other side by a couple of guys, and I dont think that well have that problem this week.
The Saints didnt play playoff football, which is somewhat surprising. They were out-coached, throwing 60 passes in a game that didnt require that, and they were out-played.
As for the Seahawks, the style of win over New Orleans may be a decided factor in the Bears favor. The Bears can speak from experience that it is often more difficult to come back from a good win than a bad loss, and the Saints game was arguably the Seahawks Super Bowl. To return to that level emotionally is unlikely, not from the perspective of game day, but from that of devoting every hour to the kind of preparation needed for that kind of win.
They mean it
The Bears came together for their usual pre-practice huddle Monday and broke with a yell that doubled as a mission statement: Champs!
Think its just clichd rah-rah, usual stuff? Think again.
Tim Jennings was a member of the Indianapolis Colts for the first four years of his career, including the Super Bowl game against the Bears as a rookie. But he wasnt sorry to see the Colts lose to the New York Jets on Saturday in the AFC wild-card round and not out of any sort of ill-wishes toward the team that didnt re-sign him last offseason.
I had a little sigh of relief, Jennings told CSNChicago.com, allowing himself a look ahead to where the Bears expect to be. Weve still got Tom Brady to worry about but its a relief to have one great team out of the playoffs.
Theres a couple more, but I didnt want to see Peyton in the Super Bowl.
Wide receiver Devin Aromashodu was wearing a stylish blue-and-orange sweatsuit with a large Auburn across the front. Not far away, defensive tackle Matt Toeainas shoes were sitting in his locker stall with the distinctive O for Oregon.
Their respective alma maters meet Monday night in the BCS championship game. I cant talk about our wagers, Aromashodu said. Hell have to wear this Auburn top for a day and weve got some other stuff.
Toeaina was willing to admit that Auburn had some chance against his Ducks. To a point.
Its a tough game to call, Toeaina said. But Im planning on bringing in one of the six Oregon jerseys I have and let him take his pick.
We can pick this up in our regular Monday on-line chat from 7-8 p.m. tonight on CSNChicago.com. And in the interest of disclosure, I had the Saints defeating Seattle on Saturday, but by less than the 10 points the Saints were favored by (thought New Orleans would win by 7). I did not see the Colts falling to the Jets on Saturday, either. I thought the Colts would win by 3.
I did, however, go with both road teams Sunday, with the Baltimore Ravens over the Kansas City Chiefs but by 3, not the 23 that the Ravens won by. And the Packers really werent that difficult a 4-point pick over Philadelphia.
For this week: Home teams hold serve. The Pittsburgh defense makes the Steelers a touchdown better than the Ravens. Tom Brady will work extra hard in the film room to ensure his Patriots spank the Jets and Rex Ryan. The Atlanta Falcons will have to score late to get past the finally-gassed Packers. And the Bears
Chicago 34 Seattle 20