I caught a few minutes of the post-game press conferences with the Chicago Bears after their 37-34 overtime win against the Denver Broncos this evening. Coach Lovie Smith commented that he was very happy to have Devin Hester on his team.
No shit, Sherlock. If it wasn't for Hester, the Bears would have lost that game today. Hester single-handedly kept the Bears in the game when their defense continued to let them down, wide receivers continued to drop perfectly thrown passes, and the offensive line continued to hurt the team with penalties.
Granted, Rex Grossman had a fairly lousy first half, but his second half was exceptional and he should leadership in moving the offense down the field to score two touchdowns with less than four minutes left in the game.
What infuriated me the most was the sloppy play of the O-line. Commentators keep calling that crew "experienced" and "veteran". I think better adjectives might be "old" and "slow". How else do you explain all the holding penalties this group had (one of which nullified a touchdown) or how much time Rex spent scrambling out of a collapsing pocket? They are a great group of guys, but I think a top priority this off-season is going to be bringing in fresh, young talent for the offensive line. Guys who can protect the passer and clear lanes for the running backs.
So until you get your defense performing up to expectations, receivers to catch balls, and eliminate the costly penalties, you'd better be happy you've got Hester, because it's the only certain good thing that you've got right now.
Despite all the frustrations, it was an exciting game to watch. Most notably because Ian was watching with me from late in the third quarter on. He got excited when Hester ran back the kick-off for his second touchdown of the game, watched the Bears special teams block and recover a crucial punt attempt, and jumped up and down when Rex delivered a touchdown pass to the diving Bernard Berrian in the endzone to tie the game with seconds remaining. If nothing else, I think Ian got a good taste of just how exciting a football game can be - even if you are pulling for a 5-6 team.