CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11: (L-R) Nick Roach #53, Henry Melton #69 and Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears await the start of play against the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Nick Roach; Henry Melton; Julius Peppers
Yesterday, because of travels last week for work, I watched the Bears game at bar in Crawfordsvile, Ind. The place was packed with Colts fans who, even without Peyton Manning, walked in with a smug assurance that their team would still beat the Texans. I sat quietly at my booth, hoping that my Bears make a good showing.
Then, Brian Urlacher got an interception, setting up a 56-yard touchdown by Matt Forte. And Charles Tillman forced a fumble. And Henry Melton sacked Matt Ryan. Suddenly, it was halftime, and the Bears were up 16-3. Meanwhile, the Colts were down 34-0.
Their fans had grown quiet. I couldn't help but smile, and let my mind wander. If the Bears can take out the Falcons, one of the best teams in the league last year, why not New Orleans next week? Why not the Packers? The defense was clicking so well that's hard to imagine any team scoring many points against Chicago. The offense looked like they finally understood Mike Martz's offense. Jay Cutler was the quarterback Chicago has wanted him to be, and Brian Urlacher looked like the young gun we all fell in love with years ago.
By the end of that one game, my mind let this sentence pop in, "We're going to the Super Bowl!" Judging by the messages I read on Facebook and Twitter, I'm not the only Chicagoan to think this.
Julius Peppers must have sensed our over-enthusiasm when he said, "It was a good start, but one game. Something to build off of. We're not going to be too full of ourselves after one game."
Geez, Julius, why do you have to ruin all our fun? We were just making hotel reservations for Super Bowl weekend.
After a game like that, it's hard not to get carried away. It's hard not to think, "They looked so good. What if ... ?" It's hard to remember that the Bears have a difficult schedule, and it's a long season. Health, scheduling and a touch of good luck are still needed, and Bears fans shouldn't count those chickens just yet.
But if you want to give a smug smile to a table of Colts fans, feel free. I did.