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Tag:Chicago Bears
Posted on: January 4, 2012 2:16 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2012 2:17 pm
 

VIDEO: Jimmy Kimmel skit punks young Bears fan

By Will Brinson

If you haven't seen the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" skit "I Gave My Kids a Terrible Christmas Present," you're missing out on life. The premise is pretty simple: parents give their kids crappy Christmas gifts early and videotape them opening said presents and then reacting in a hysterical manner.

It's a cruel and horrible thing to do to kids*, as long as their yours. If they're someone else's kids, well, everything's fair game. Via Sarah Spain comes a clip that didn't make the cut for Kimmel's show, but is absolutely outstanding from an NFL fan perspective.

The setup: the family involved are all huge Bears fans and the dad orders his daughter a jersey from the NFL store for Christmas. It is not a Bears jersey, and she reacts in a violent, angry, tearful and nearly obscene manner. It's really quite sublime.
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*I have to say that in case Mrs. Brinson is reading.

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 10:53 am
Edited on: January 4, 2012 1:54 pm
 

Report: Jeff Fisher has 'always wanted' Bears job

Jeff Fisher would reportedly be thrilled to land the Bears gig. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Jeff Fisher's the hottest name in coaching right now, likely getting his pick of open jobs around the NFL. But here's a spicy meatball: Fisher's top choice of NFL gigs isn't one that's open, as he reportedly has "always wanted" the Chicago Bears job.

Latest Coaching Rumors, News

That's what Albert Breer of NFL Network reported on Tuesday night, and it's a bit of a stunner, though the connected dots do make some sense. For starters, Fisher was a Bear when he was in the NFL from 1981-1984. According to Breer, Fisher has "maintained a close relationship with ownership" since his playing time.

Additionally, Fisher's old offensive coordinator, the late Mike Heimerdinger, worked with current Bears quarterback in Denver ... where Cutler played only because Bud Adams forced the Titans to draft Vince Young over Cutler in 2006. (Also, re: Cutler; he played at Vanderbilt. Which is in Nashville. Which is where the Titans are. There's a connection here.)

Breer notes that Fisher is also "aware of the player Cutler has become" since leaving Denver. Ultimately, Cutler would satisfy Fisher's desire for a franchise quarterback at his next job. And the Bears defense is a pretty good building block to start with.

Just one problem: Lovie Smith's still coaching in Chicago. Despite firing their general manager, the Bears decided that Smith "will remain" as the coach of the organization. So there's no place for Fisher in Chicago right now, and Breer writes that it ultimately isn't something that's likely to happen, and the "more likely result" is Fisher landing with the Rams.

The Bears would need a significant swing in management -- a la Bill Polian -- in order to warrant that sort of drastic coaching change. But if the 2012 coaching carousel's taught us anything, it's that the unexpected is pretty normal and ruling anything out is foolish.

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Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:19 am
Edited on: January 3, 2012 2:20 pm
 

Bears fire GM Jerry Angelo, Lovie 'will remain'

Chicago has decided to move on from GM Jerry Angelo.(US PRESSWIRE)

By Will Brinson


Earlier in the year, there were rumors that Bears general manager Jerry Angelo might retire at the end of 2011. He laughed at those rumors then, but probably isn't laughing on Tuesday, as the Bears have relieved Angelo of his duties effectively immediately.

The team announced that news on Tuesday morning, confirming reports from Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune and Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times. The team later updated their press release to read that "Lovie Smith will remain."

A source tells CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman that the reason for making the move is simple: "the organization was growing stale."

Black Monday

The big question is how many people in the organization this will affect. Freeman heard that Lovie might be 'in a bit of trouble,' and even though Smith "will remain" he still can't feel completely safe within the organization, particularly since a new general manager isn't typically inclined to love a previous coach.

Smith received a two-year extension after last season, taking him through the 2013 season. The Bears also said that Lovie "will continue to evaluate his coaching staff," which means if he does stay, he'll see significant pressure as he heads into the "year before the lame-duck year" portion of his contract.

Meanwhile, one of the league's most scrutinized offensive coordinators, Mike Martz, has resigned for "philosophical differences" according to the Chicago Tribune's Dan Pompei. (Martz's contract expired Sunday so, technically, he didn't resign so much as say, "If you're planning on giving me a new deal just know that I ain't coming back. And that's doubly true if you were going to tell me to beat it.") On Monday, Smith was noncommittal about Martz's future with the team and now we know why. 

Two guys that should be happy with this news? Jay Cutler and Matt Forte. Cutler because the new offensive coordinator might be interested in fitting the scheme to his best player. And Forte because he could be more likely to get a new deal from the Bears under a new front office than he was from Angelo.

Angelo became Bears GM in 2001, fired Dick Jauron in 2003 and hired Lovie, who's 71-57 under Angelo (Angelo's teams were 95-81 overall) including one trip to the Super Bowl and a slew of dominant defenses.

But the Bears were exposed by injuries in 2011: when Jay Cutler and Matt Forte went down, it became clear that Chicago hadn't properly allocated assets to create depth on the offensive front. Chicago lost five of their last six games after a hot start had them in control of a wild-card spot and nipping at the undefeated Packers heels in the NFC North.

Angelo dealt with contract issues surrounding both Lance Briggs (twice now!) and Forte (the infamous "pay the man" debate) and doesn't exactly have a history of slam-dunking first-round picks. Pardon the list, but from 2001 to 2011 the Bears drafted the following players in the first round of the NFL Draft: David Terrell (8), Marc Colombo (29), Michael Hayes (14), Rex Grossman (22), Tommie Harris (14), Cedric Benson (4), Greg Olsen (31), Chris Williams (14) and Gabe Carimi (29).

Three times -- thrice! -- in that span, the Bears didn't have a first-round pick, although two of them were used to acquire quarterback Jay Cutler.

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 10:54 pm
 

Lovie Smith noncommital on Mike Martz's return

Will Lovie Smith bring Mike Martz back for another year in Chicago? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

A week ago, Bears head coach Lovie Smith refused to answer questions about his offensive coordinator Mike Martz. During his end-of-season press conference Monday, Smith was again asked about Martz, who's two-year contract expired Sunday.

“I haven’t talked to the coaches, so I’m not going to talk to you about any of them right now, and I think you can understand that,” he said according to ESPNChicago.com. “Mike did a super job for us. He had a lot of injuries this year. I think you guys know how I feel about him. But this is a new year coming up, and we’ll see how that goes.”

Via the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs, Smith added that the Bears "did a lot of good things offensively. But right now we're evaluating everything. Mike's a part of that. Mike is a guy that's been around a few years. Got to have a chance to sit down with Mike to see exactly which way he wants to go and which way we want to go."

Biggs points out that the previous offensive coordinator under Smith, Ron Turner, was canned the day after the 2009 season.

Martz has indicated previously that he'd like to return, even though he and Jay Cutler haven't always seen eye to eye about the offensive philosophy -- one that, early in the season, saw many plays end with the team's franchise quarterback picking himself up off the ground after a sack.

The Jets' Brian Schottenheimer was one of the few offensive coordinators under more scrutiny this season than Martz. But his head coach and general manager couldn't come to his defense quickly enough during their Monday presser.

Smith was much less effusive. Maybe that means everything or perhaps it means nothing. After all, Smith stuck by Martz last season despite similar concerns about his play-calling.

Biggs writes that some Bears officials are concerned "Cutler, his receivers and the line would work in a system that emphasizes getting the ball out quickly, not relying on so many seven- and five-step drops," before noting that Chicago QBs have been sacked 105 times since Martz arrived in 2010.

The 49ers went to a quick-passing offense that relied on a solid running game and look how that turned our for them. Why can't the Bears be successful doing that? Cutler's much better than Alex Smith and a healthy Matt Forte is better than Frank Gore. Plus, as Smith said Monday, ‘We have to catch up to Green Bay."

In all likelihood, that ain't happening with Martz calling the plays.

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 9:00 pm
 

Lovie Smith refuses to answer query about Martz

Martz, Cutler

By Josh Katzowitz

With the Bears season nearing its end and with offensive coordinator Mike Martz in the final year of his contract, this question, put to coach Lovie Smith, seems awfully legit and somewhat obvious: So, are you bringing back Martz next season?

Thing is, Smith didn’t see it that way.

“What kind of question is that anyway, at this time?" Smith demanded, writes Rapid Reporter Gene Chamberlain. "What kind of question is that? Why would you ask a question like that anyway?"

Will Martz return?
Well, the reason why it was asked is fairly understandable, but sadly, Smith didn’t answer the question. When reporters asked Martz about the same subject, he was slightly more pleasant about answering the query.

"Obviously I would sure like to be back. I think all of that stuff works out," he said. "This is going to be a great football team and I would like to be a part of it. We’ll just see how it works out."

Martz hasn’t had the most pleasing of years. He and quarterback Jay Cutler made big news when Cutler fired a “F--- him” at Martz after he and his coach disagreed on a playcall. Martz also was criticized plenty when he seemed to forget about Matt Forte (who, ahem, made the Pro Bowl) by calling for passes on 52 of 63 total plays in a bad loss to the Saints early this season and by not designing plays to keep Cutler out of the arms of defenders (Cutler was asked in September if he could survive the year, and he hoarsely said, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”)

Martz also didn’t get much out of backup Caleb Hanie and then later blamed Hanie’s execution for a tough play-call that Martz probably had no business asking for in the first place.

While Martz is easy to criticize, the Bears offense hasn’t been THAT bad with him in charge. Chicago ranks 16th in the league in points and 20th in yards gained, which is certainly an improvement on last year when they were 21st and 30th, respectively, under Martz.

So, will he be back? Hopefully, Smith feels like answering that question next week when the season is over.

Also on Wednesday, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said he was impressed enough by Josh McCown’s appearance in his first start with the team last Sunday that he wouldn’t mind considering McCown as Cutler’s backup for next year.

“In Josh’s case, he came in here late,” Angelo told the team website, via the Chicago Tribune. “He did a real nice job. He did have a familiarity with the offense, so it wasn’t like he was brand new. He was new to us, but not new to the offense, and he showed that. We’ll have time to make that decision, and hopefully we’re going to see another good performance Sunday.”

The only other question, I guess, is whether Martz will be around next season to help make that decision.  Or as Smith would say, "Why would you even make that comment, anyway?!?"

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 5:46 pm
 

Bears officially end seasons for Cutler, Forte

J. Cutler and M. Forte both went on the IR list (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

It’s official. The seasons for Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte are finished, as the team announced today that both have been placed on the Injured Reserve list.

Now that the Bears have been knocked out of the playoff picture for good, this move was to be expected.

Though Cutler -- who broke his thumb in Week 11, which inevitably allowed Chicago to go from a 7-3 playoff contender to a 7-8 hopeless cause that has nothing to play for in Week 17 -- had said earlier this month there was an “outside chance” he could play vs. the Packers, that was an unrealistic goal.

That game occurred last week, and the only reason backup Caleb Hanie wasn’t on the field playing that day was because he had been so bad in his previous starts that Chicago, instead, started a man who, not long ago, was coaching high school football.

And the crazy thing about it was that Josh McCown, while certainly not on the same level as Cutler, was galaxies ahead of Hanie and performed relatively well on the road in Green Bay.

Meanwhile, Forte, who had made his desires for a contract extension widely known (and for good reason), wasn’t planning to return to the game unless he was 100 percent (also for good reason) after injuring his knee Dec. 3.

"These injuries, they usually take four to six weeks [to heal] they say," Forte said on Dec. 18. "And this will only be week three. I'm not going to rush to get back on the field and play while I'm hurt, because (if) you're not at 100 percent you may injure it even more if you do that."

Left unsaid was this: “Yeah, I’m not going to play, because there’s no way I’m going to put my knee on the line after I've already hurt it for a team that doesn’t pay a deserving player.”

Either way, both can begin looking forward to next season and trying to build another playoff run that won’t get spiked because of significant injuries.

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Posted on: December 25, 2011 11:47 pm
 

Packers win again, but have some issues

K. Bell gained 121 yards in Chicago's loss to Green Bay (AP).By Josh Katzowitz

Not many people gave the Bears much of a chance to upset the Packers on Sunday night. Not with Chicago missing its first-string quarterback, starting a guy who was coaching high school football not so long ago, and playing a third- and fourth-string running back in place of Matt Forte.

But Chicago’s Josh McCown was more than solid, running back Kahlil Bell looked fantastic and Chicago played evenly with the Packers in the first half (and ultimately outgained Green Bay 441-364). But the Packers did what the Packers do and dominated the second half to finish off Chicago 35-21 and secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Before we anoint the Packers an automatic Super Bowl team, though, they still have issues they need to correct. Here are three that the Bears helped expose tonight.

Run defense: It’s easy to talk about how (statistically) poor the Packers pass defense is (though Green Bay has faced the second-most pass attempts in the league this season, so the statistics look a little worse than they should), but the run defense isn’t all that wonderful either.

Without Ryan Pickett, who was out with a head injury, in the lineup, the Packers showcased a major weakness through the entire first half. Bell -- the Bears third-string running back -- looked like an All-Pro, gaining 89 yards on 14 carries in the first half (he finished with 121 yards). Last year on their run to the Super Bowl, the Packers allowed 114.9 rushing yards per game, ranking 18th in the NFL. This year, after Sunday’s game, they give up 114.4 yards per contest, ranking 16th.

Listen, that’s not terrible. But against a Bears team that was one-dimensional, starting a third-string quarterback, the Packers knew Chicago would have to rely on its running game. Green Bay just couldn’t stop it. Against most teams, the Packers offense doesn’t allow that to matter, but in the playoffs, when Green Bay could be facing a top-notch defense like the 49ers, this could become a major hole.

Week 16 recap
Makeshift offensive line: The line actually played well vs. a Bears defense that boasts Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers. Marshall Newhouse handled Peppers well, and despite missing left tackle Chad Clifton and right tackle Bryan Bulaga, the Bears garnered just one sack. But this is potentially a problem in the future, because you can’t expect Newhouse and T.J. Lang, normally a guard, to keep up that pace in replacing Clifton and Bulaga.

Besides, without the starting tackles in there, Rodgers looks to make quick passes or get out in space on play-action. If Clifton, who’s been out since Week 5 with a bad hamstring, and Bulaga (a sprained knee last week who might not return until the postseason) can be back for the playoffs, that probably would make Rodgers -- who was sacked four times in last week’s loss to the Chiefs -- feel better.

Running game: Twice, in the span of one series, the Packers running back busted up a play and forced Aaron Rodgers to scramble a few yards and then fall down to avoid danger. Once, it was Ryan Grant, once it was James Starks and both times Rodgers couldn’t have been happy.

Starks and Grant were basically invisible anyway. They combined to record 57 yards on 14 carries, and overall, the Packers run game ranks 27th in the NFL. Even if the Packers become the most one-dimensional team in the league, it probably won’t matter with Rodgers running the team. But if he struggles in the playoffs or gets injured, Green Bay could be in trouble.

But Clay Matthews made a good point after the game in regards to how these issues could affect the team in the future.

“When you have a quarterback like that,” Matthews said on NBC, “you’re allowed to make a couple mistakes.”

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Posted on: December 24, 2011 7:37 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action, figures out the winners and losers and asks the big questions. Slightly condensed version this week as it's the holidays. No podcast, no picture of the week and only eight questions. Blame Mrs. Brinson if you're so inclined. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter.

The Greatest Rookie Season Ever?

That's right. The greatest rookie season ever is precisely what Cam Newton's going to wrap up in Week 17 against the Saints a game of no real consequence when it comes to his legacy as the best rookie in NFL history.

There should be no argument that Cam's season, even without the final week, goes down as the greatest season by a rookie quarterback in history. He has the record for most passing yards in a season (again, with a week to go) by a rookie. He has the record for most passing yards in a game by a rookie. He has the record for most rushing touchdowns in a season by any quarterback.

Of the seven rookie quarterbacks with 3,000 passing yards, Newton doesn't have the most passing touchdowns, but he doesn't have the most interceptions either. There shouldn't be any question that his rookie year is the greatest by any quarterback.

As far as other rookies go, you could argue for Eric Dickerson (more than 2,000 total yards and 20 touchdowns in 1983), Dick Lane (14 interceptions, two pick sixes for Night Train in 1952), Randy Moss (17 touchdowns and 1,313 receiving yards in 1998) or Lawrence Taylor (9.5 sacks -- before they were even counted -- in 1981) if you want.

But none of those guys dealt with the complexities of running an offense. None of those guys dealt with a lockout-shortened offseason. None of those guys performed the way they did under the intense scrutiny of 2011 Twitteratiland. None of those guys carried the expectations of the No. 1 overall pick who was supposed to save a franchise ... or cost a GM his job simply because no one was sure how good they'd be. None of those guys inspired the fierce debate that Newton did leading up to being drafted.

Cam's rejuvenated a franchise that was dead in the water and he might be a top-10 quarterback in the NFL right now. It's been a marvel to watch him perform and it's insane to think that there was a debate as to whether or not the Panthers should take him.

Winners

Matthew Stafford: The Lions are in the playoffs. That's worthy of "winner inclusion" all by itself. But the Lions were secretly facing a pretty bad situation, with the white-hot Chargers and the very good Packers over the next two weeks. 9-7 and getting snuck out of the playoffs wasn't out of the question at all. Until Stafford got his surgical precision on and shredded the San Diego secondary, going 29 of 36 with 373 yards and three touchdowns. Stafford's next up for the "is he or isn't he elite" debate.

Pete Prisco
: Yes, my CBSSports.com colleague and former life coach (Pete doesn't know it, but I fired him when he suggested I not wear socks with my loafers). Prisco's the only guy that I know of who refused to budge off his negative stance of Tebow during the Broncos winning streak. There might be an argument that Pete's stubborn and you might be inclined to call him a "hater" but with the way that Tebow egged on Saturday, there are going to be a LOT of people ripping him over the next week. And Prisco's the only one of those people who's stood his ground the whole time.

Kevin Kolb:
The Cardinals were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday and that means Kolb avoided his worst possible nightmare. That would be "John Skelton marching Arizona to an improbable postseason run and the team deciding to bail on Kolb's albatross of a contract." Instead, Arizona now plays out the string and regroups for 2012, likely with Kolb as the starting quarterback for at least another year.

Matt Forte
: What's that, you say? Forte didn't play on Saturday. Oh, I know that. I also know that if the Vikings hadn't handed Adrian Peterson a monster contract before the 2011 season, things would be awkward right about now. Over the past month, the Bears have collapsed without Forte and Jay Cutler, meaning he's beefed up his leverage as an important player for the franchise and, with the Peterson injury, justified his rationale for wanting a new contract.

Jerome Simpson: Did you see his touchdown catch?

Turner's time might be up in San Diego. (US Presswire)

Losers

Norv Turner: A lot of credit goes to the Lions for the way they played on Saturday. Detroit is a very good team and a formidable opponent. But how can the Chargers not show up, especially knowing that the Broncos lost and that they were either a Bengals/Jets pair of losses or a Broncos loss in Week 17 away from making the playoffs? That's still not "controlling your own destiny" but out of everyone who was gifted an early Christmas present during the early games on Sunday, Turner and the Chargers were probably the luckiest. A 24-0 halftime deficit in the most critical game of the season isn't going to inspire any Spanos family members to keep their pink slips tucked away.

Jason Garrett
: No one's going to blame him for losing to Philly. That's what happens with Stephen McGee under center. But holy cow does Garrett have the hardest decision -- and the most scrutiny -- of his short career coming up over the next week. The Giants and Cowboys will play in Week 17, with a trip to the postseason and a division championship on the line. Tony Romo will almost certainly play, but will he be effective? Can Garrett gameplan in order to play to Romo's injury? Will he cough up a shot at the postseason? These are the ways we will judge him after next week's game. And by "we" I obviously mean "Jerry Jones and his potentially angry family."

Adrian Peterson
: AP's leg injury on Sunday was so brutal that I even feel like a jerk putting him in the "losers" section. But if you saw the horrific nature of Peterson's injury, you know precisely why he's not feeling like a winner right now. The Vikings announced after the game that it was a sprained knee but -- all due respect to Minnesota -- that's just not believable at all. The multiple reports that it's a torn ACL (and potentially worse) make a lot more sense. It's just sad that Peterson could miss significant time because he was playing in a meaningless game for a three-win team.

Rex Ryan: Ryan spent all week running his mouth about the New York-New York rivalry and when push came to shove, his guy Mark Sanchez fumbled on the Giants goal line and threw a "pass" to an offensive lineman that resulted in a safety in a devastating loss on Saturday. The Darrelle Revis/Antonio Cromartie combo got torched by Victor Cruz (that's his name, right?) and Brandon Jacobs got to say "It's time to shut up, fat boy." That's just embarrassing. Oh, right, and the Jets lost control of their own destiny with respect to the playoffs. It wouldn't be nearly as mortifying if Ryan hadn't run his mouth all week.

Pipedreams: Just like San Diego, the Eagles were very much a longshot to make the playoffs. But I'm telling you, there was a chance. Then the Giants killed that chance (adding to their winner-y-ness) with a win over the Jets. That means Week 17 is no longer a dream scenario for fans of long shots, because both early-season favorites are now removed from any chance of a postseason berth. You don't have to root for the Eagles or Chargers. In fact, you can root against them. But if you don't like ridiculous storylines and clowning around with playoff predictors then we're not friends.

The Big Questions

 
The new Tebow narrative could be awkward. (AP)

1. What's the new Tim Tebow narrative?
No, but it's on life support (and Prisco wants to pull the plug!). Look, Tebow can still win against Kansas City in Week 17, or even lose as long as the Chargers beat the Raiders. But think about how quickly this narrative could be absolutely flipped on its head: if Kyle Orton, the man Tebow replaced, beats Tebow in Week 17 because Tebow can't win late, and the Raiders beat the Chargers and make the playoffs, the Broncos new narrative will be as chokers. No, really, it will. And that is nuts when you consider where we were just two weeks ago.

2. Why does Leslie Frazier keep playing guys who are hurt?
NO CLUE. But this is a story that's flown under the radar for the past few weeks and it culminated with AP's injury against Washington, as well as the concussion that Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder suffered on Saturday. The Vikings are 3-12 after winning on Christmas Eve, but they didn't even need Peterson or Ponder to put up points -- it was all Joe Webb against the Redskins. Of course, winning, at this point, should be secondary. Frazier's top priority should be the health of his franchise quarterback and running back. Instead, these guys keep getting trotted out with injuries late in a lost season. That's not the sort of thing that keeps a job safe for long.

3. Did Raheem Morris get fired on Saturday?

Almost certainly. The Panthers went out and walloped Tampa Bay 48-16 in Charlotte, meaning that the Bucs lost their eighth game in a row.  Worse than the losses is the way they've happened: over the last four games, the Buccaneers have been outscored 158-64. They've given up 40 points to the Panthers and Jaguars and have topped 20 points just once since their trip to London in late October when things really started to unravel. It's an embarrassing collapse down the stretch and it's hard to blame the Glazer family and GM Mark Dominik when (not if) they fire Morris.

4. Anyone else getting fired?
Gotta think that Turner's done in San Diego now and that Romeo Crennel's the only interim hanging around. I can't buy that Jim Caldwell's saving his job so I'd add him to the list too. But I think any questions about Chan Gailey can now be reserved for a while, given the way he dismantled the Broncos on Sunday.

5.  Why should Tom Brady be worried?
Because his offensive lineman are dropping like flies. And while the Patriots are going to continue being good because that's what the Patriots do, there's absolutely cause for concern in New England if Logan Mankins and Matt Light are hurt for any length of time. As you may be aware, this isn't a team predicated on playing any sort of defense, and if they can't protect Tom Brady, there's little chance of them advancing in the postseason.

5. How mad are the 49ers?
Furious. And it doesn't matter that they won, because they gave up a rushing touchdown to Marshawn Lynch. They might hold the record for most games without one, but you know they wanted to make it the entire season. They did not.

6. Am I going to have to watch Matt Flynn on Christmas night?
Not as much as you might have feared. The 49ers won against the Seahawks on Saturday, and that means Green Bay hasn't clinched the top seed yet. Which means that Aaron Rodgers will stay in the game against the Bears for the entire game, barring an absolute Packers blowout.

7. Was Simpson's catch the play of the year?
Yup, it sure was. Maybe not the "play of the century" or anything insane like people are saying, but it was an absolutely bananas catch and it deserves incredible props. Watch -- it's going to be the type of thing you talk with your relatives about on Christmas. That's the way you can truly judge the greatness of a play.

8. Should Ben Roethlisberger play next week?
No. There's just no need. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice handled the Browns just fine in Week 16, and Charlie Batch/Rashard Mendenhall can do the same in Week 17. Rest the guy, run the ball, cross your fingers that Cincy can summon the strength to beat the Ravens on the road and let Roethlisberger rest.

GIF O' THE WEEK

I mean duh. Did you notice I liked it?



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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com