The schedule gods continue to look kindly on the Bears. The 1-6 San Diego Chargers have made their way to Soldier Field via Arizona and Champaign. They may actually be worse than last week's opponent, the Detroit Lions, who made the Bears and their rookie-laden lineup look like a playoff team.
The one thing the Chargers have going for them that the Lions didn't is LaDainian Tomlinson--one of the best young backs in the league. Tomlinson alone could make this a long misty fall afternoon for the Bears' shaky run defense.
Kordell Stewart is the third QB, which means we may see Rex Grossman this week. The other inactives are receiver Marty Booker, defensive tackle Keith Traylor, running back Adrian Peterson, safety Mike Green, guard Corbin Lacina, defensive tackle Tron LaFavor and tackle Scott Sanderson.
Booker's absence means the two rookie receivers Justin Gage and Bobby Wade are active. The way these guys have played you get the feeling they've earned permanent roster spots. Also Anthony Thomas is back from his foot injury.
The Chargers are bad--really bad. To make matters worse they've been shacking up in Champaign this week because of the fires in California. A few days in Champaign would make anyone angry.
We'll have football soon.
Just asking but is Adrian Peterson the only backup running back in the league with his own commercial? Do they show these spots nationally or are they zoned regionally? Does anyone in the country have a clue who he is? Do Bears fans? He probably runs for more yards in that commercial than he has in his career (170).
I'm not sure the Bears have won a toss at home all year. Paul Edinger will kick and we're off to see some football. Anyone wondering what happened to Tim Dwight, I've found him. He's returning kicks for the Chargers.
Tomlinson runs left for a few before being stopped by Jerry Azumah. He tries the other side and is stopped by Bobby Gray after 9 yards and a first. Tomlinson runs again and is dropped for a loss of 4 by Lance Briggs. Drew Brees scrambles for a first but it's called back because of a hold. The Chargers punt and R.W. McQuarters brings it back to the 24.
Very rare appearance by the Bolts at Soldier Field. They've played here only twice, the first in 1981, which was my first Bears game. I remember John Jefferson's Recspecs goggles and Bob Thomas kicking a field goal to win it in overtime. Ah...youth.
Chris Chandler goes right to Gage down the sideline for a 24-yard gain. When's the last time that's happened on the first play? Thomas runs for a few and then Chandler hits Dez White for a first. Thomas again, this time for about 9 and the Bears are at the Chargers' 29. Thomas for 9 more and a first and the Bears are moving the ball, well, not like the Bears. Chandler overthrows a wide-open White in the end zone. But White had stepped out at the 3, so no matter. Thomas is stuffed at the line. Curious call on second and 10. Setting up the field goal early, I guess. Chandler again goes for White in the corner of the end zone but it's broken up and nearly picked. Here's the predicted field goal. By the way, Bobby Wade was wide open in the middle of the field there. Kick good.
Bears 3, Chargers 0
Dwight takes the kick 15 yards. Bryan Robinson tackles Tomlinson. Tomlinson catches a screen and runs for a first. Thomlinson again. He breaks loose, stiff arms Mike Brown but is dragged down. Nice tackle by Brown. Big third down here just in Bears' territory and Tomlinson dives for a first. The Chargers jump early, setting up a second and 11. Brees hits free-agent flop David Boston for 10 yards and then Tomlinson is stuffed by Phillip Daniels and Briggs on third down. Field goal attempt upcoming. Shank you very much, Steve Christie. Brutal kick there isn't even close. Almost looked like it was tipped. It was by rookie Joe Odom, apparently pumped up by Purdue's dismantling of Northwestern yesterday.
Look at Chandler go! The 38-year-old takes off for 11 yards. Thomas runs for a few and, drop everything, the dreaded wide-receiver screen to White picks up a first down. Quarter ends.
The Bears grind out a first down with three short passes down to the 30. Thomas is stuffed by safety Jerry Wilson for a loss. But Chandler comes back to find Wade for 11 yards, bringing up third and short. Thomas breaks through a big hole in the middle and picks up the first and nearly the touchdown. He's brought down at the 6 after a 15-yard run. Thomas squeezes through an opening and dives to the 1. Thomas again and he fails to get in the end zone. It was close. But not close enough. Third and a very short 1. The Chargers' Quentin Jammer is down and I'm up to get some more coffee. Here we go and Thomas scores easily.
Bears 10, Chargers 0
Edinger's kick is taken at the 20. Yes, the 20. Quite harry-high-school like.