Cupcakes for breakfast is the sign of what’s going to be a great day of football watching.
• For the first time since Super Bowl XX, the Chicago Bears’ postseason road takes them to New Orleans. And, yeah, I’m hyped about it:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 10, 2021
• The last time the Bears played the Saints in the postseason, this happened:
– The eight straight runs
– The Reggie Bush play
– The missed field goal
– The safety
– The Bernard Berrian catch
– The trifecta
– The cutback by Thomas Jones
– The snow
And much more …
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) January 9, 2021
• What I wouldn’t give for a drive with eight consecutive power runs to knock the Saints on their rear-end. David Montgomery should be a featured player throughout today’s game. As a rusher on outside zone runs. In the passing game in the flat, on Texas patterns, and wheel routes. Up-the-middle and on-the-perimeter. As a decoy in the deep play action game. The Bears should run things through Montgomery today. Full stop.
• If Akiem Hicks doesn’t get you geared up for the most important Bears game since January 2019, nothing will. I’m going to run through a wall for that guy. Give me pads and a helmet, and put me in coach! I’m ready to play.
• There is no shortage of storylines and motivations heading into Sunday’s game against the Saints. At the top of the list is Mitchell Trubisky. Chicago’s quarterback played a key role in leading the team to a playoff spot with a late-season spurt of mostly competent play. But that alone isn’t enough to put him in the conversation as the team’s long-term quarterback option. As discussed earlier this morning, it seems as if the only thing Trubisky can do to return to the Bears as a long-term option is by leading an extended playoff run. No pressure, guy.
• Matt Nagy has a ton at stake, too. It wasn’t all that long ago that Nagy was on the hot seat during the Bears’ six-game losing streak. But after rallying the troops en route to clinching a playoff spot, Patrick Finley (Sun-Times) writes about Nagy embracing his return to postseason action. Last we saw Nagy’s team in the postseason, his defense kept things close while the offense struggled to get things going. I want to give Nagy and his staff credit for halftime adjustments that opened up the passing game and moved the chains, but so much of it was “too little, too late” that I’m hesitant to do so. Had adjustments been made earlier, the Bears could’ve avoided leaving their fate at the foot of a kicker they didn’t trust. With that in mind, Nagy should be more aggressive (and earlier!) than he was in January 2019.
• Unfortunately, Nagy’s squad enters Sunday’s action undermanned. No Roquan Smith or Darnell Mooney. What a bummer. Who’s up for a Manti Te’o revenge game? Te’o, 29, played 24 games (14 starts!) for the Saints from 2017-19. It’ll be weird seeing Te’o in a Bears uniform if it comes to it. But desperate times could call for desperate measures.
• On the other side of the field, the Saints are getting healthy at the right time:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 10, 2021
• When David Montgomery isn’t getting the ball, it better be going to Allen Robinson II:
Allen Robinson II on contested targets
🔸 Rec. Grade – 91.0 (4th)
🔸 Contested Catches – 21 (t-1st)
🔸 Yards – 338 (1st)
🔸 1st Down/TDs – 16 (t-1st) pic.twitter.com/oxYDcFavHQ
— PFF (@PFF) January 10, 2021
• If the Bears are pull off the upset, they’ll need a defensive score like this one:
Was Darious Williams in the Seahawks huddle before this play!?
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 9, 2021
• And an offensive efforts such as these:
Taylor Heinicke looking like M Bison out here pic.twitter.com/5s5fxl2NF3
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) January 10, 2021
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 10, 2021
• One of the most accomplished Blackhawks of the modern era hangs ’em up:
Corey Crawford #Blackhawks career
2x Jennings Trophy winner
2x Stanley Cups
260 wins (3rd all-time)
52 playoff wins (most all-time)
12,778 saves (3rd all-time)
26 shutouts (7th all-time)
5 playoff shutouts (T2nd all-time)
Put #50 in the UC rafters! pic.twitter.com/OoC7nv9KFo
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) January 9, 2021