“This was such an exciting night for all of us on the Bears. As an offense I felt like we’d finally put together everything that we’ve been working so hard on in practice. It’s been frustrating up to now to see the things we can accomplish during the week at Halas Hall, yet once we are on the field in a game-time situation, having some aspects just not work out as we’d planned.
“Personally, I was not completely satisfied with my performance. I am more than aware that I am a rookie and things for me are generally a work in progress. I think I was moving around there pretty fast but my technique still needs refining. I’m going to savor every minute of this victory for a day or so then get right back to work and try to get better. We have a road trip coming up and the next game in just a few days.
“Tonight was one of those times when as a player you are just in awe of your teammates. Think of the offensive weapons out there tonight. I can hardly name them all. Alshon [Jeffery], Martellus [Bennett], Matt [Forte], [Josh] McCown, Brandon [Marshall], [Jermon] Bushrod, [Matt] Slauson, [Roberto] Garza, Earl [Bennett}, Michael [Bush]. I’m sure in the heat of the moment right now I’m forgetting somebody. Oh right, don't forget this knucklehead who has the locker right next to mine, the guy named [Kyle] Long. He has potential for sure.
“But seriously, it was one of those games where everything goes the way you’d wanted it to. The defense looked great. The offense had long drives that gave the defense a chance to catch their breath on the sidelines for a while. Special teams was really productive. It was definitely a group effort tonight. I’m extremely interested to go over the game film tomorrow and see just who did what. At this point, it’s late and the whole thing is kind of a blur, to tell the truth.
“The weather was definitely a factor. How could it not be when it’s a below-zero wind chill? These were the kind of conditions I’d been warned about when I first joined the Bears. A stadium right near the lake in a cold climate zone. What could possibly go wrong there?
“I’m from the south and went to Louisiana Tech. We never even have nightmares about conditions like what we had tonight. Sure there are heaters on the sidelines and they give you nice big coats when you come off the field, but those time outs and commercial breaks will kill you.
“I finally figured out that the best strategy when there were breaks like that was to sprint to the sidelines, grab that coat for a few seconds, then get back out there when we were ready to go. I also tried pretending that this cold was all a dream, that I was back playing at Tech and it was about 90 degrees outside. That didn’t really work for me too well but at least I tried.
“It was great to get this win on a night honoring Coach Ditka. Of course I’ve known about him since I was a little kid. How could I not hear about Da Coach? He seems to be everywhere. I’ve always admired his skills and his style. He never gave up, always played hard. There are some good lessons for all of us there.
“Jeffery’s corner-of-the-end-zone catch was definitely a highlight tonight but it was hard to see it from my vantage point on the field. I sure heard the crowd roar though. I did catch it on the replay screen right after it happened. How did he hold on to that ball? You know his hands were cold. Incredible. We all knew he had mad skills but this was crazy. He gets better every time he's out there. That’s a few games in a row that he’s pulled in catches like that, balls that few people in the league would have even a small chance of catching.”
How do you feel about Josh McCown’s performance?
“He stepped into a high-pressure situation a few weeks ago and has performed exceedingly well. He has the respect and the confidence of everybody on this team. But that is the whole philosophy of the Bears this season. It’s next man up. Yes we’ve had a lot of injuries to key players but the guy playing behind the one who goes down knows he must be prepared and ready at all times to step in. McCown’s production shows that this system works.
“We are back in the thick of things now in our division. I realize that it isn’t all up to us. Detroit is right up there too; Green Bay is half a game behind. Anything could happen. We need to win out, obviously, but what I’ve learned during my rookie year is that to be successful, you have to concentrate on what is in front of you. It’s the game you are on, not the game next up on the schedule that needs your attention. It’s about hard work and concentration and believing you can get it done.”
Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.