Posted by Holly Phelps on January 20, 2011
Honestly, it feels as though someone pressed the rewind button. Here we are again, one win from where we want desperately to be, and once more, the team that is standing in our way is the Chicago Bears.
But this isn’t any old game. It’s no longer the regular season. It’s no longer anything like what these teams have faced before, even after 90 years of games. This one is for the whole kit and caboodle.
Now, you might say, Hey – the Packers looked phenomenal last week. They’ll eat Chicago alive! For you fans, I have the same advice I’ll give the Packers:
Throw out the game tape. Turn off the highlight reels. Those wins against Atlanta and Philly? Didn’t happen.
Instead, take a minute to remember week 3. You remember, that game where we dominated the Bears in yards, time of possession…and penalties…and drops. The missed opportunities from the Packers’ last trip to Soldier Field could be piled higher than what used to be called the Sears Tower. Quarless dropped a touchdown, Jennings missed a bomb, Collins dropped two picks, Jones fumbled away the game.
In week 17, they piled higher. Another huge drop from Jennings, another drive stalled by Jones, another huge fumble. More frustrating penalties.
Like all the great rivalries, the Packers-Bears rivalry is full of living history. The plays of Halas and Lombardi are recalled as readily as any great plays from the squads of 2011. “Time heals all wounds” has no meaning in this matchup. These two organizations remember everything.
The Bears know what’s at stake, and they seem to realize that these two teams play each other like no other teams do. What’s more, the Bears coaches and players recognize that they are best suited to take away from the Packers the things that have made them the “hot team” this month. The vertical passes. The play action. The “discipline” that the Packers seem able to muster against every opponent but this one.
So, the idea that “we’ve moved past week 3” or “moved past the penalties” rings hollow for me. Moved past it, nothing. In this rivalry, everything old is new again. Everyone is back where they started this month, with Chicago having the opportunity to end Green Bay’s season and make an indelible mark in the history of these two teams.
There is no going backwards. Someone will lift the trophy named for one coach and play for the chance to lift the trophy named for the other.
If the Packers are able to learn from their mistakes and play within themselves, they could write a brilliant new chapter, and those 18 penalties will fade quickly away.
But, if the Packers allow the Bears to pull them back into mistakes like those made last time in Chicago, the ghosts of this game will haunt us far longer than any player will be on either team. There’s a reason the Bears-Packers rivalry is the most historic rivalry in the game — it’s because these games live forever.
For better or worse, the world as we know it, changes on Sunday.
And I say, “Bring it on.”
Still can’t get enough of the write-up on this game? Head over to my full Opposition Research post for more about the Bears, including detailed breakdowns of players, strategy, and a prediction that Tim Masthay — for better or worse — will make headlines on Monday.