Bernstein: Smith “Tirade” What Bears Needed, Fans Seem To Want
By Dan Bernstein
Ned Flanders had finally had enough.
His house destroyed, his business in ruins, his bad fortune making a mockery of his boundless faith and optimism, he exploded on Springfield townsfolk after his last bit of self-control wore away.
“Awww…hell. Diddely ding-dong crap! Can’t you morons do anything right?!”
He then immediately checked himself into a mental hospital.
Nobody’s saying the same destination awaits Lovie Smith after his halftime talk yesterday, but reports are that his words echoed those of Flanders in that eighth-season episode of The Simpsons.
The Bears’ defense deserved every gosh-darn, geez-o-pete and h-e-double-hockey-sticks thrown their way yesterday, having missed pretty much every first-half tackle in allowing the lowly Lions 253 yards despite being directed by a quarterback only barely in the NFL.
Responding to Smith’s command — which was actually more of a simple “Stop sucking” message – the Bears outscored Detroit 10-3 the rest of the way, came up with a handful of timely pass breakups, tackles and sacks, and locked in their status as a winning team in 2010.
And as has so often been the case this season, we find ourselves saying and writing things we would never have expected, like this: the steadying hand of Jay Cutler provided consistent efficiency that bailed out the shaky defense.
This was one for the Ditkaphile meatballs. You want the fire and the passion, the steam from the ears, and the ranting and raving to make these overpaid bums understand what it means to be a Chicago Bear? You want the ghosts of George Halas, Bill George and Bronko Nagurski to appear, covered in the blood of beaten Packers and carrying deep-dish pizza and beef/sausage combos slathered with only the hottest giardinera?
You got it. Kinda. As close as you’re going to get, anyway.
Smith has done his version of the angry act before, despite his folksy demeanor and staid approach. He’s watching the same game we are, though we may need to be reminded of that at times. That he played the card at halftime of the twelfth game is a good sign of heightened expectations for a team not shy about mentioning the Super Bowl, and it not sounding ridiculous.
His responses will never be camera-ready. You won’t get facemask tugs, headset tosses or Singletary-style lunacy. The sideline is the place where Rod Marinelli and Mike Tice do most of the hands-on work with players during the game.
But you can be excused a moment of satisfaction if, just for a moment, you got the mental picture you crave of Lovie Smith in the ‘80s wool sweater and blu-blocker shades.
The ‘stache might be taking it a little far, but even Flanders himself has that.