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One Bearbon, One Scotch and One Beer – Week 18

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The Bears lay yet another egg at Lambeau.  Eberflus survives for another year.  I need a drink.

Every week, I’m serving one Bearbon for the best thing I saw during the week, preferably smooth with a nice finish. One Scotch that burns the back of the throat but doesn’t stop you from loving it.  We’ll then raise a beer to a player, play, incident, or whatever else I feel deserves it.  Lastly, I’ll leave you with a song from the Jukebox.

There are times when DJ Moore is undoubtedly the best player on the field.  He did not dominate on Sunday, but he achieved career highs in yards, TD’s and catches this year.  We lift our Bearbon this week to Tyrique Stevenson. There was 29 breaking up a sure Packer TD.  He followed it up forcing a fumble by Love later in the game.  The play that stood out for me ended the first half.  Stevenson ensured the clock would run out by not letting the receiver go forward out of bounds after a catch.  He single-handedly kept 10 points off the scoreboard. 

I waited to write this until the day the coaching picture cleared up.  Today, it was announced that Luke Getsy along with most of the offensive staff would be dismissed.  Eberflus is to remain with the Bears.

Getsy had to go but I don’t see why Eberflus stayed.  You’ll hear about the improvement the defense made at the end of the year or his relationship with the players.  I’ll give you my 2 most damning factors.  Eberflus has yet to win a game with expectations.  Think back, every time there was something to play for, Cleveland, the two against Green Bay and so on, Flus and his staff laid an egg.  Secondly, at Wednesday’s presser he correctly pointed to Getsy’s lack of improvement in play calling and development.  I ask, did you only realize this after 17 games?  Fans knew it after 3 or 4.  Below, Brian Baldinger points out yet another puzzling play design.  Taylor is asked to block a premier defensive player in the league.  The results are the same as they have been since week 1. Let’s lift our burning scotch in bewilderment.   

There are good players on this team.  It’s part of the reason the losing is so frustrating.  Coaches and analysts always talk about accountability.  I smiled when I saw Teven Jenkins hold himself accountable on Monday.  He’s one of those players that deserves an ongoing role.  Let’s raise a Holy Grail Pale Ale out of his hometown of Topeka, Kansas to his health. 

Bears fans now play the waiting game to see who the new coaches are in the very short term and what the Fields decision is in the medium term.  We don’t have to do it in sadness though.  I leave you with a fun 90’s pop song about waiting for that perfect one. 

One Bearbon, One Scotch and One beer – Week 17

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The Bears put together as complete a performance as they have all season for their 7th win. We drink it all in.    

Every week, I’m serving one Bearbon for the best thing I saw during the week, preferably smooth with a nice finish. One Scotch that burns the back of the throat but doesn’t stop you from loving it.  We’ll then raise a beer to a player, play, incident, or whatever else I feel deserves it.  Lastly, I’ll leave you with a song from the Jukebox.

This may seem a bit of a cop out, but we lift our Bearbon this week to a complete performance.  DJ Moore had 159 yards on 9 catches including the beautiful over the shoulder highlight below.  Herbert added 124 yards rushing averaging just under 7 yards per carry.  Sure, Fields completed only 62% of his passes and was sacked 3 times but he avoided turnovers and added 45 ground yards.  The important part is how you felt as a fan after that game.  Did you feel this is a team on the rise?  Will players like Roschon Johnson be fun to watch going forward?  Did you notice there were no repeated jet sweeps or screens called over and over?  That’s what sports franchises sell us: hope.  There is a lot to feed that hope right now for the Bears.  We lift a magic smoky potion for the future.    

The biggest burning issue for this franchise is the Fields question.  I’m going to wait until the season is over to make up my mind on that one.  I will say though that it’s a great position to be in to have a choice.  The burning scotch this week is for what might have been.  One more win would have put this team in the middle of the playoff race going into the last week of the season.  As it stands, the Bears would likely play the Cowboys or Lions.  I may have had too much to drink over the holidays, but I believe this team would have an outside shot at both of those games.  The Cleveland and Detroit losses are even more painful now. 

I’ve always been fascinated by athleticism and sports in general.  I break down the obscure Olympic sports, can explain the game of cricket and yes I have as much love for a soccer team as I have for the Bears (Arsenal, in case you’re curious).  Come to Sunday afternoon after the Gordon pick.  He pulled out the celebration below.  For a sports nerd, this is simply awesome.  I must have watched it a dozen times.  I ask you to notice the one foot take off and opposite foot landing, the body angle that differentiates it from a simple back flip and the fact he’s wearing pads and a helmet.  Hit play a few times and raise your Miller Lite to 6. 

The game next Sunday feels like a final boss battle.  It’s not an overstatement to say the Packers have owned this rivalry for a long time.  To beat them in their place to keep them out of the playoffs would send the strongest of messages that there is good days to come.  I leave you with an iconic final boss theme. 

One Bearbon, One Scotch and One Beer – Week 16

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The Bears get their 6th win to double their 2022 win total. We drink and break it down. 

Every week, I’m serving one Bearbon for the best thing I saw during the week, preferably smooth with a nice finish. One Scotch that burns the back of the throat but doesn’t stop you from loving it.  We’ll then raise a beer to a player, play, incident, or whatever else I feel deserves it.  Lastly, I’ll leave you with a song from the Jukebox.

Kmet was a candidate for our Bearbon this week.  He had 107 yards on only 4 catches before he went out with injury in the 2nd quarter. He’s already exceeded his best season totals.  We drink a Florida Straight Bearbon this week to Khalil Herbert.  After looking less explosive coming back from injury, he looked much more like himself.  He was finding holes and getting to the edge on a consistent basis.  He looked like a guy who’ll be hard to leave out of the room next year.       

The broadcast mentioned that Trenton Gill is at the bottom of the league in net punt yardage.  On a team that has punted so much, this is indeed a terrible stat.  For a Scotch, let me ask you a question: Who is the third receiving option for the Bears?  I’m sure Poles thought it would be Mooney, Scott or even Velus. With Moore clearly off and Kmet gone, the running game stepped up to preserve the win yet Fields lacking a target showed.  With Santa season coming to an end, Bears fans should be putting a receiver or tight end on their 2024 list.  Raise your scotch in longing for a Harrison Jr type. 

Fans often forget this thing we do every Sunday is supposed to be fun.  One of the players that’s emerging as a fun watch this year is Kyler Gordon.  There he was laying a huge hit on a Cardinal.  He was there again making a tackle for loss on the play below.  6 even added a sack to go with his 6 tackles.  His rookie struggles are getting farther and farther in the rearview mirror.  Raise your Downpour Brewery Party on the 9th Floor IPA to the Washington State native.     

The Falcons are up next.  Down a rabbit hole I went learning about the early Atlanta blues scenes of the 20’s and 30’s.  I learned about Barbecue Bob, real name Robert Hicks. That’s great artist name so he’s our jukebox selection this week with his signature “Barbecue Blues”. 

One Bearbon, One Scotch and One Beer – Week 15

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The Bears lose a game they had no business losing.  We drink away the regrets.

Every week, I’m serving one Bearbon for the best thing I saw during the week, preferably smooth with a nice finish. One Scotch that burns the back of the throat but doesn’t stop you from loving it.  We’ll then raise a beer to a player, play, incident, or whatever else I feel deserves it.  Lastly, I’ll leave you with a song from the Jukebox.

With that ending, it is a hard job bringing something positive for our Bearbon.  Let me take you back to before the soft coverages and coaching errors.  The feeling you had when Stevenson made that beautiful diving pick.  The way that Edmunds pick 6 could have easily had a 54 and a peanut leading him into the endzone.  That’s what this team can be, so I’ll choose to hang on to that as the season heads into meaningless games.  Lift that smoky potion to that feeling. 

Offensive struggles are the talk of the town after Sunday.  The Fields debate rages on even if measuring him against one of if not the top defense in the game seems reactionary.  At a time when the game is in the balance, Bears coaches continue to get too cute by half.  Getsy running predictable, overly complicated plays where simplicity is enough has gotten old. What stood out this week was the play at 17 -17 where Njoku made the huge gain that proved to be the backbreaker.  Look at the number on the coverage, it’s in the 90’s.  How is a defensive lineman expected to keep up with a top 15 TE in the game?  Further, look at the quote from 93 on Monday where he said he had not properly practiced the play.  It is a red-hot indictment on the coaches. That burning scotch tastes like disappointment. 

We raised a beer to Montez Sweat last week.  He put up another 1.5 sacks to now lead both the Bears and the Commanders.  I’d go repeat but let me propose something different.  The Bears reached the endzone then came frustration with penalties and terrible playcalls.  That’s when individual brilliance took over.  We lift our Miller Lite to Fields evading the rush and throwing a dime to Kmet.  Fields’ future is in question, but he sure has flashes at times. 

Like many things in life, in fandom, it’s the hope that kills you.  That “In the Hunt” graphic last Sunday night looked great.  This week, I leave you with Andy Dufresne: “Remember hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies”.  Hit 2024 on the jukebox for my favourite song off the Shawshank soundtrack.

One Bearbon, One Scotch and One Beer – Week 14

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The Bears beat the division leading Lions to start a win streak.  We drink to celebrate.

Every week, I’m serving one Bearbon for the best thing I saw during the week, preferably smooth with a nice finish. One Scotch that burns the back of the throat but doesn’t stop you from loving it.  We’ll then raise a beer to a player, play, incident, or whatever else I feel deserves it.  Lastly, I’ll leave you with a song from the Jukebox.

There was a lot to like in Sunday’s game.  DJ Moore’s beautiful catch along with Fields’ great throw on 4th and 13 comes to mind.  Jaylon Johnson makes a great case for an extension week after week.  The standout for me and our Bearbon for the week goes to Montez Sweat.  He has raised the defense.  He has only 3.5 sacks but not on the scoresheet are the pick he set on Jones’ sack, his involvement in Ngakoue’s or his 10 QB hits since his arrival. Standing up for teammates in the clip below shouldn’t be overlooked either. He’s been worth every penny.  Raise a glass of Wooodford Reserve Double Oaked Kentucky Bearbon for a good Kentucky Boy.

In the past few weeks, I have scraped the barrel for a Bearbon whereas this week you’d think I needed to scrape for a Scotch.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  Darnell Mooney has completely lost the mojo he had built with Fields.  It might be that he’s overshadowed by Moore or that he’s just not getting good looks, but he caught only 2 of his 7 targets.  He sits at 395 yards and a single TD for the year which is far under the #1 receiver standard he’s hoping to achieve.  Let it burn all the way down for 11 who’ll likely not stick around for next year. 

I have done everything but get personal against Flus so I’m going to take this opportunity to praise him.  I may not get many.  The defense switched from a no-pressure scheme to a maybe, sometimes, on a good day pressure scheme and it worked.  They’ve given up 23 points in the last 2 weeks.  Don’t look now but the city of Chicago may have the defense it loves so very much.  Raise a Holiday Toast Cinnamon ale out of Coach’s hometown of Toledo, Ohio.

The Browns are up next.  For all the Cleveland hate, it’s a good museum town.  Canton is a short drive away, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is downtown.  They inducted one of the quintessential angry young man bands this year so I leave you to sing along.  Insert the required language warning here.

One Bearbon, One Scotch and One Beer – Week 12

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The Bears get a win, an ugly one but a win nevertheless.  We drink and break it down. 

Every week, I’m serving one Bearbon for the best thing I saw during the week, preferably smooth with a nice finish. One Scotch that burns the back of the throat but doesn’t stop you from loving it.  We’ll then raise a beer to a player, play, incident, or whatever else I feel deserves it.  Lastly, I’ll leave you with a song from the Jukebox.

I’ve had very little positive to say about the defense.  Soft coverages at the end of games have cost the Bears a couple of games.  This week, though, they looked great.  They put pressure on Dobbs and even made a tackle or two.  I’ll highlight Jaylon Johnson for our Bearbon this week.  He’s on a contract year and making a case that he should be on the roster next year.  He had a key pass break up leading to a pick, a pick of his own and generally looked like a topflight corner.  Poles needs to sign him up sooner rather than later. Raise two fingers of smoky Southern Bearbon to 33.

In a game where the offense scored no touchdowns and only 12 points, you would expect me to rip them here.  Unfortunately, our burning scotch was clinched before the game even started with the quote from Poles below.  My first job ever was at Wendy’s.  On my first day, I knew that burgers cook on the grill, fries go in the fryer and buns toast in the toaster and I was by no means one of the best 32 Wendy’s employees in the world.  So how does someone holding one of 32 NFL head coaching jobs have to be reminded by his boss that great players should be on the field?  And how do you allow that to continue?  This must be professionally embarrassing for everyone involved. Raise the cheapest whisky you can find to this mess.

Week after week, I’ve pointed out that DJ Moore is a stud.  He’s on a 4 and 8 team who spent 4 weeks without their starting QB and he just went over the 1000-yard mark.  That is a true #1.  Haters be damned.  He needs only 189 more yards and 2 TDs to match his best ever season.  I saw him limp of the field after the game securing catch but I’d put my money on him making it.  Raise a Maryland born National Bohemian to WR1.

At one point, Luke Getsy called the same play 3 times in a row hitting flip on one of them like a 10 year old learning to play Madden. He then called it a bunch more times during the game making it a big part of the 18 throws within 1 yard of the scrimmage line. It was simply infuriating.  I did get me thinking about repetition for our jukebox selection for the week.  The visual essay website “The Pudding” empirically sought out the most repetitive song of all time.  Not just the one that used the same words over and over but the one that felt the most repetitive.  I agreed with their selection.  Hit me up if you agree.

One Bearbon, One Scotch and One Beer – Week 11

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The Bears blow a game they led by 12 with under 4:30 left.  We drink to try to feel better.

Every week, I’m serving one Bearbon for the best thing I saw during the week, preferably smooth with a nice finish. One Scotch that burns the back of the throat but doesn’t stop you from loving it.  We’ll then raise a beer to a player, play, incident, or whatever else I feel deserves it.  Lastly, I’ll leave you with a song from the Jukebox.

Using Foreman at the goal line and Roschon getting into the mix gave me some hope that the coaches plan to use all the guys in the RB room as assets. Fields getting over the 100-mark rushing is encouraging.  This week’s Bearbon is for the Fields to Moore connection.  They connected for 96 yards but that’s not the headline.  They not having lost a step and Fields making a main eventer throw on their TD is the story.  Raise your heavenly smoky brown potion to them both. 

I believe the game has left Coach Eberflus behind.  I got the stopwatch out on Sanborn’s sack.  It took him 2.45 undisturbed seconds to touch the QB starting 5 yards from the line.  With the league average snap to throw time down below 3 seconds, this is no way to success in the NFL.  Another example is the 2nd and 4 play with the Bears up 26 – 14.  The CB’s play 10 yards off the receivers and keep dropping deeper.  Goff completed a pass for three, the LB misses the tackle and the gain is 13.  Next play is a TD.  In what world is that any way to win a game? Additionaly, Eberflus played the same soft coverage at the end of the first half and cost the Bears 7.  Pass me the bottle.  This scotch better burn. 

Mina Kimes from ESPN often says that wins are not a QB stat.  They sure aren’t a RB, CB or linemen stat either.  I’ll drink to this team scoring 26 points on a good team with that monster Hutchinson in the line up.  I would have been thrilled with this performance if it wasn’t for the end.  Even special teams got in on the act forcing a turnover.  Raise an El Churro  (dulce de leche brown ale), a fine Miami beer from where Tyrique went to high school. 

Yes, I blame the coaches for the loss.  In my mind this song is exactly what they’re guilty of doing and the best music video ever made.  Play it loud.  Let it all out.

One Bearbon, One Scotch and One Beer – Week 10

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The Bears ran into another not so great team and came out with a win.  Let’s have a drink and talk about it. 

Every week, I’m serving one Bearbon for the best thing I saw during the week, preferably smooth with a nice finish. One Scotch that burns the back of the throat but doesn’t stop you from loving it.  We’ll then raise a beer to a player, play, incident, or whatever else I feel deserves it.  Lastly, I’ll leave you with a song from the Jukebox.

Foreman has carried the load for this team during Fields’ and Herbert’s absence.  Another 80 yards with a trip to the endzone led the offense.  Moore, though severely underused, still kept on track for a career best year.  This week though we’re like a man in the desert desperate for water.  We’re that man and a pass rush is the water.  Montez Sweat finally brought some semblance of a rush this week with 8 pressures.  Sure, he didn’t get home but it’s more than the Bears have had in a long time.  Something dark and smooth and in a highball glass for this week’s Bearbon. 

You may have expected Bagent to show up for our scotch this week.  Sure, he didn’t play great.  Trenton Gill didn’t have his best game either shanking one at a crucial moment.  It was at halftime that our scotch was clinched with the one of the dumbest coach interviews I’ve seen.  Eberflus saying he has something up his sleeve for the second half.  Dear sir, if you have something that works, use it before your team gets to 5 games under .500.  After the game, he followed it up with another embarrassing answer that the media ate up like it was birthday cake.  Pass me the whole bottle of cheap Jack.

As I keep telling you, I am not for the tank.  I want wins every single time the Bears play.  This win is doubly special though as it raises the chances of the top overall pick to 42%.  I don’t value picks as much as some, but it won’t hurt to have the chance to add a monster to this team.  Raise your Miller Lite to a much-needed win.

Aaron Hutchinson and the Lions are up next.  He’s a game wrecker in every way and probably what Poles had in mind acquiring Sweat.  I don’t expect this one to go well so let’s distract ourselves with an actual hit that has barely a connection to Lions. 

One Bearbon, One Scotch and One Beer – Week 9

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Alvin Kamara does not run over the Bears but they still lose.  Let’s drink and see if it makes us feel better.

Each week, I’m serving One Bearbon for the best thing I saw during the week, preferably smooth with a nice finish.  One Scotch that burns the back of the throat but doesn’t stop you from loving it.  We’ll then raise a beer to a player, play, incident or whatever else I feel deserved it.  Lastly, I’ll leave you with a song from the Jukebox.

We had an all too rare flash of what Mooney can do for the offense.  He looked dangerous on several of his catches finishing with 82 yards on 5 catches.  Foreman had almost identical production with 83 yards on 20 carries.  Foreman has made a pretty strong case for a role when Herbert and Roschon are at full strength.  Our Bearbon this week has to go to a guy I’ve criticized in the past, Cole Kmet.  His spectacular catch on the first TD deserved it on his own but he added another.  A full pour of Benchmark for number 85. 

Writing anything about Velus Jones’ poor play is almost as big a waste of resources as the continued insistence by the coaching staff to design plays for him.  At this point the defense is fully dependent on opponent errors to make any stops.  Sweat had some close calls but once again the Bears added nothing to their last in the league sack total.  For the second week in a row, we drink a strong scotch in concern for penalties.  From the offensive line starters, only Teven had no penalties accepted against him.  Patrick even doubled up for the second week in a row. Giving opponents half a field for free every week just doesn’t happen with well coached teams.  A small pour of Bruichladdich for all of us. 

It’s easy to not enjoy watching this team.  There are players though that just remind you how fun football can be.  Teven Jenkins is one of those guys for me.  He’s just a nasty guy who enjoys burying his guy.  We raise a Toppling Goliath Mornin’ Delight, a Kansas beer in honor of a fine Kansas boy.  

I am not one of those fans that cheer for the tank.  In a strange circumstance, tank and no-tank fans come together next week to cheer for a win over the Panthers.  They are looking good for a top 2 pick and another loss will certainly help.  I leave you in the capable psychedelic hands of Clapton.

One Bearbon, One Scotch and One Beer – Week 8

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The Bears run into a professional QB and lose.  We step up to the bar to drown our sadness.

After every game I’m serving one Bearbon for the best thing I saw during the week, preferably smooth with a nice finish.  One Scotch that burns the back of the throat but doesn’t stop you from loving it.  We’ll then raise a beer to a player, play, incident or whatever else I feel deserved it.  Lastly, I’ll leave you with a song from the Jukebox.

Last week, I pointed out Moore’s 54 yards keeping him on track for a career best year.  This week’s 55 yards didn’t hurt that.  Cole Kmet had his 3rd best yardage game as a pro. I had to dig hard for those positives, neither of which seemed good enough for our Bearbon.  So we step out of the box and raise a small pour for the opening offensive play, Bagent to Mooney for 41 yards.  A great start to get Mooney involved, be aggressive downfield and establish that Bagent can throw more than 10 yards.  I know what came next but that moment was Bearbon worthy. 

On the flip side, there is no shortage of candidates for our scotch.  Penalties were again a huge issue with Patrick being a standout having back to back penalties for 20 yards.  Defensive and offensive play calling were also horrendous.  I’m looking at you deep pass followed by jet sweep, run up the middle and sack on 3rd and long.  We raise our burning scotch to one player though, Velus Jones.  Jones gets plays scripted for him during the opening phases of games every week.  Yes, he gets mixed results with a mid-length gain here and there but he’s also shown incredibly poor skills.  That drop in the endzone, that I dare say my 8 year old son might have caught and he’s only playing soccer these days, is inexcusable.  Enough with giving the ball to guys who won’t do anything with it. 

Tyson Bagent is a back up QB and a good one at that.  Trying to make him out to be anything else is a burden he doesn’t deserve.  Fans expecting or fantasizing that he’s a franchise savior are deluding themselves.  With Fields out, he did what you would ask of QB2, fill in and don’t be the reason the team loses.  We raise a beer to the kid who should be on the roster for a long time to come.

Tarantino, the director, writes snappy and in my opinion brilliant dialogue.  Now imagine you show up at a Tarantino movie and he does 20 minutes of silent film to start the movie.  That is what Bears coaches are doing by using Trent Taylor, Velus Jones and everyone else in scripted plays before Moore.  I picture them in meetings talking themselves into that being a good idea and shake my head in annoyance.  So I leave you with one of only 2 kings I recognize, Dick Dale from Pulp Fiction. Hit me up on x (twitter) if you’re curious about the 2nd.