Gross Play from Grossman
If I were Rex Grossman, I'd be staying away from Chicago city limits for a few weeks. Probably a few months, actually.
The much-maligned Bears quarterback was at it again last night, and he did it on the biggest stage in professional sports. If, for some reason, you didn't have the Super Bowl on, you missed a dominating performance by Peyton Manning (often maligned himself) and the Colts, while Grossman and the Bears lacked the swagger that many had thought would carry them to the championships.
In many football games, you can look at the quarterbacks' numbers and tell who won the game. Though Grossman completed 20-of-28 passes (71.3 percent), he threw for only 165 yards - about 40 on the final drive when the game was all but over - to go along with one touchdown and two picks, both of which came at critical junctures in the game. He also lost a pair of fumbled snaps and slipped dropping back on a pass, costing the team crucial yards and field position.
While Manning was far from his spectacular self - 247 yards, one touchdown, one pick - he also completed a high percentage of his passes, completing the throws that the Bears left open and did a great job managing the game. Chicago often dropped both of its safeties 18-20 yards back, allowing Manning to complete as many short and medium routes as he wanted. Conversely, the Colts packed the line of scrimmage on defense, daring Grossman to beat them deep. As far as I can remember, Grossman only threw one deep ball, to Bernard Berrian that Bob Sanders picked off in the fourth quarter, and the throw was so poor, you would have thought it was receiving welfare checks every month.
The Colts slowly, methodically, wore down the vaunted Bears defense, converting eight of 18 third downs, rushing for 191 yards and holding onto the ball for 38 minutes. The Bears offense, so one-dimensional the entire season, managed just one big play - a 52 yard run by Thomas Jones in the first quarter - as Tony Dungy proved that Indy's defensive flaws earlier in the season could be corrected. Grossman made only a couple of good throws, including his touchdown pass, but didn't make nearly enough plays to make the Colts respect his ability to throw the ball.
I predicted Thursday during our radio show that the Colts would exploit Grossman's weaknesses, and that the Bears would need their defense or special teams to carry them. Well, Devin Hester returned a kickoff for a touchdown, the Colts turned the ball over three times...and it still wasn't enough.
If I were a Chicago Bears fan, I'd have homicidal feelings towards Grossman. Watching the game last night, my friends and I were joking about which of Tank Johnson's guns he was going to use to shoot Grossman. And what about Lovie Smith? He's had Brian Griese sitting on the bench all season, almost like that old convertible that you store away in the winter months to keep it clean, keep the mileage down, save it from more wear and tear. But Lovie, in his shining moment, the first day of spring, the first sunny day, the Super freaking Bowl, stuck with his Pinto. And his Pinto broke down on the side of road.
And I think that Pinto is going to be sitting on the side of the road for a long, long time.