The Daily Illini

Column: Beeeeaaarrrr football

By Jon Gluskin

Every week something happens.

Charles Tillman getting the ball thrown to him in overtime by a backpedaling Jeff Garcia and taking it to the house for the win.

Nathan Vasher catching a missed field goal eight yards deep in the end zone, then alluding 11 49ers defenders for a touchdown with no time left in the first half.

Vasher two weeks later getting a pass perfectly thrown to him by Brett Favre for a game-clinching interception for a touchdown.

How do you describe this? Being good? Being lucky? A little bit of both?

“It’s Beeeeaaarrrr football!” says one of my roommates with a tough inflection.

I think that’s really the only way to describe it. There’s nothing like it – for better or worse.

I’m the kind of football fan who lives for offense. I want to see vertical passing and points put on the board. I like to see excitement.

You don’t get this when you watch a Bears game.

Don’t get me wrong. The Bears are a good football team. They have hands-down the best defense in the league, possibly one of the best defenses ever.

But their offense is for the most part pathetic.

Fine, defense wins championships – I’ve finally come to accept this agonizing fact.

But you need at least a solid offense to complement a championship defense. I don’t think the Bears offense is good enough for the Bears to make a run at a title.

Thomas Jones is a better than average running back. They have a solid offensive line. But other than that, there’s nothing positive you can say about this unit.

Their passing game is abysmal. Kyle Orton has gotten it done and not given games away, but at the same time, he hasn’t won them any games. Can you really count on him to convert a 3rd and 8 at a crucial point in the game? He’s unproven.

I know he’s only a rookie and rookie quarterbacks by nature are supposed to fail. Peyton did. Brett did. Donovan did. They all somehow turned out to do ok. Maybe Orton will too.

But for now he’s at the head of one of the NFL’s worst aerial attack. He has the lowest quarterback rating among all regular starters at 60.2. He has a nine to 13 touchdown to interception ratio and is averaging another league low of 5.15 yards per pass attempt.

Just look at the Bears’ prized free agent signing of the offseason, Muhsin Muhammad. Last year he caught 93 passes for 1405 yards and 16 touchdowns playing for the Panthers.

Through 12 games this season, he has 48 catches, 561 yards and three touchdowns. He’s the team leader in all three receiving categories.

I’m not trying to be a Chicago-hater. I’m trying to play devil’s advocate here and be realistic about just how good this team is.

I’m happy for the team and their fans. After years of futility, it’s good for Chicago to be able to be excited about football.

They find ways to win and that’s ultimately what it’s all about.

But come playoff time, they shouldn’t expect to go 0-10 on third down conversions and score zero offensive points and expect to win.

As tremendous as their defense is, it will only take them so far.

Bear fans can point to the 2000 Ravens to counter this system. They won the Super Bowl with a great defense and a lackluster offense.

But they had to beat the Giants to win the Super Bowl – a team with no business being there.

To win this year, they’ll have to beat the Colts. In a dome.

Beeeeaaarrrr football isn’t going to do it.

Jon Gluskin is a senior in communications. He can be reached at [email protected]

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