By Ryan Bukowiecki (@ryanbski)
Once you’re trained to look at things holistically, you’re screwed for the rest of your life.
Thanks to a full, quality journalism school curriculum (thanks SIU-Carbondale) I feel compelled on this most post-coital of Chicago Bears’ winning periods to actually give more than a passing thought to the team and fanbase that was bombed on by the team I’m devoted to.
It’s not that I don’t have anything to say about the Bears or that I’m not pleased by their 48-10 win, a certain placeholder among the top-10 individual efforts by the NFL’s charter franchise since Super Bowl XX — you can go through my tweets from the WARR twitter account yesterday and see that.
And not to downgrade my authority on this subject, but I can’t express pleasure on this platform any more effectively than any of the dozens of other writers who are tasking themselves with doing so (including our good man Ryan Bukowiecki) and none of us will do it more effectively than the hundreds and thousands of freelance commentators that you’ll see on social media, the No. 3 bus or your break area at work.
We’re all happy, we’re all pleased today and we have not only one week but two to revel in it, this coming Sunday will be a Redzone week (nee’ bye week) where we can enjoy most of the rest of the league beating itself up to try to match or approach the kind of record our Bears have (3-1).
But think about the times when our burgeoning encouragement of the Bears free-falled all at once due to a horrible 60 minutes of play, an unfortunate Sunday match-up or a debilitating injury. One would have to go no further than the last two times the Bears started 3-1 in 2012 and 2013, the first of those years saw a ridiculous 7-1 start that fell to a 3-5 finish and a playoff-less January that also saw Lovie Smith head out the door.
The process of re-examination is something we’re painfully familiar with in Chicago so we should lend some empathy to our former division mates who also have a long history of just not getting it together no matter how they try.
For the Bears to have so much come together against them, even Mitchell Trubisky throwing two-thirds of his career touchdown total in one day against them, has to be a bitter pill for the Buccaneers, who really had reason to feel good about themselves through the first three weeks — a 2-1 record with a top-five offense and the best passing attack in the NFL.
But in one afternoon all that fell apart — Fitzmagic was shown to be a cheap parlor trick, which was an already established fact in the League that was conveniently forgotten mostly out of spite of Jameis Winston. The formally disgraced Winston came back to not save the day and he’s getting closer to being another former No. 1 overall draft pick who finds their way to irrelevance instead of immortality.
So to put it plain, the old Bucs are playing victim to the adage of having two quarterbacks and really having none, this is to spite a truly talented set of receiving weapons. Maybe Tampa Bay can still make something happen in a less-than intimidating NFC South where 44-42 games are becoming the norm, but this one had to be hard to shake.
And as perverse as it can sound, the trained journalist and the experienced sports journalist often feels more compelled to explore that story line than the one producing complete satisfaction and promise.
The NFL is a universe that resets itself each week, its like if the DC comic books had a “crisis” in every issue it released. The wake of each NFL game is treated like it either produced a brave new world or a dystopic wasteland.
From what locker room would you want more to get an additional quote from right now? The one who’s biggest worry today is whether or not a bye week will cool them off or one that produced a quote like this?:
“There’s nothing that anybody can say right now that’s going to make me feel too good about anything we’re doing. … We have to stew with this for two weeks. It’s two weeks till we get to get this taste out of our mouth and see if we can even play with an NFL team.”Bucs coach Dirk Koetter as quoted in the Tampa Bay Times
That’s giving you something you can feel.
And always remember the NFL’s second meaning — Not For Long. Until its completely established, the Bears are still a rising team with an inexperienced and unpredictable QB and a defense that no matter how devastating it is could still fall victim to fatigue as any other could.
We’re only ever 60 minutes away from worrying again if the Bears can “even play with an NFL team.” Imagine Money Making Mitch cashing out INTs at Miami in a couple weeks or Tom Brady and the zone blocking centurions before him humbling the proposed world-beating defense the week after. Just say you can’t, that means you haven’t been watching the Bears very long.
Lets appreciate this stay of execution, another period of freedom where we can dream unabashedly about the team that unites this so-often fractured city, cause the Cubs ain’t making it easy right now.
At least the the Chicago media won’t be completely stripped of its re-examination powers this week. Nothing better than a squandered opportunity to get the presses, or the pressed, back up.
Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears and professional football for WARR