Chicago Sports Sunday Wrap-Up 9/30/07

At Least, The Stuff I Care About, and I’m Too Lazy to Provide Links, Edition

Lions 37, Bears 27

I think it’s official now: this team pretty much sucks. As if a 1-3 record could be spun any other way.

No running game. Crucial turnovers. A defense that can only plug these holes for so long each game. Shaky special teams play, except when Devin Hester rips out a beautiful touchdown, here and there.

Brian Griese played fairly well, I thought, but for 3 huge interceptions: two on potential scoring plays deep in Lions territory, and one returned for a touchdown. That’s 21 points, right there. But in all fairness, these might have been due to rust, and I’m willing to give him a mulligan for this game, this one time.

But the lack of a running game is killing this team. Absolutely killing them. Cedric Benson looks like a guy playing touch football in the park; where is the leg drive? The fire? Does he care who wins? He doesn’t seem to. I’ve lately been watching a lot of The War by Ken Burns, and I don’t think I’d want to share a foxhole with Cedric Benson.

The defense, as is usual this season, plays well, even dominates, for two to three quarters, and then appears to be gassed from the constant reps, and gets blown apart by the running game in the fourth. This is one more way that a lack of a running game hurts a team.

Special teams were OK until they gave up a touchdown on an onside kick. Hello?

More injuries. Kevin Payne, John Tait, probably others I’m forgetting now.

This week, with the 4-0 Packers looming on Sunday night, it will be interesting to see how the coaches react to this game and decide on personnel and strategy going in. If I’m Kyle Orton, I’m lobbying hard for my chance to lead this team. If I’m GM Jerry Angelo, I’m looking for running backs off the scrap heap; maybe Thomas Jones is available. If I’m Lovie Smith, I’m wishing I wasn’t.

Next week’s opponent, the Packers, beat the Vikings 23-16 on the road.

Super-fantastic Chargers defense update: the Chiefs torched them for 30 points in a 30-16 defeat.


Cubs Clinch Friday, Then Play Two Meaningless Tune-Up Games

Went 2-4 this week on the “crucial” 6 game road trip, but won the game that counted when they needed to, and never let the lead drop below 2 games.

First round against Arizona. If it goes the full five games, they play two in Arizona (Wed, Thur) followed by two in Chicago (Sat, Sun) and back to Arizona for game 5 on Tuesday. Probable starters for game 1: Zambrano and Webb.

I have no idea how they will do in these playoffs, and am not expecting much. If they get great pitching and defense, they can play with anybody. (Duh.) If they don’t, their odds go down, and the offense will have to keep on hitting home runs like they have been all month. Never a good bet in the playoffs.

Keep an eye on the catching situation, with Jason Kendall and Geovany Soto; too much Kendall could be trouble. One key difference from 2003: instead of Dusty Baker, they have Lour Piniella, a huge upgrade. Piniella has been great at managing the pitching staff.


Mets Miss Playoffs Completely After Blowing 7-1/2 Game Lead in 18 Days

Not that I would ever frolic in the misery of other people. Or even Mets fans. But if I did, I’d link to this Tim Brown column on Yahoo Sports: Amazin’ disgrace. And probably, this game summary.


Kentucky 45, Florida Atlantic 17

No, this has nothing to do with Chicago sports. And thanks for pointing that out. But I picked Kentucky -24 to cover, at home, and they did. I’ve picked them twice this year, and they’ve been good to me both times. So I’m tied for first in my pool, with a 4-1 record, losing only when Arizona St. didn’t cover against San Diego St. a couple of weeks ago.


Some Golfers Played in Some Confusing Cup-Like Event in Foreign Country to the North

Didn’t follow it too closely, and don’t really care that much, with playoff baseball looming. A tip for the the wizards at the networks: could you work a little harder at explaining just what the hell is going on with match play? And what is the deal with conceding putts, and why did Jack Nicklaus advise Phil Mickelson to concede a 3+ footer the other day?


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