blueollie

Sweet! Bears take down the Rams 15-6 in a great defensive effort

As far as the game itself, this graphic really tells the story:

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Total domination by the #MonstersOfTheMidway. 😤

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And of the 6 points; 3 of those were set up with an early interception that set up the Rams at the Bears 15 (opening series). The other 3 was a 50 yard field goal off of a short drive to tie it at 6.

The Bears offense sputtered though and the quarterback threw 2 ugly interceptions ..each of which set the Rams up in scoring position, though the Bears defense got one of their interceptions on the next play.

I thought that the Rams had momentum in the second quarter after a Bears interception, which put the Bears at first and goal at the Rams 5 yard line, lead to only a field goal.

That lead to a wild exchange in the final 2 minutes of the half which saw the Bears force a punt, throw a pick and then get the pick right back, only to stall, punt, and have the Rams fail on a “Hail Mary” before the half.

But the second half: opening kick off pinned the Rams at their own 5 (after penalties) and lead to a “sack/safety”…that put the Bears up 8-6…then an 81 yard drive finished the Rams off.

Yes, 15-6 was not an insurmountable lead but..a Rams drive ended with a missed field goal; and the Bears stout defense did the rest.

Great defensive ball game!

Our experience: I splurged for United Club seats (got them early, when few suspected this would be a battle of division leaders)

It WAS cold (mid 20’s to the teens) BUT there was little wind..and people in the stadium made it less cold than an Illinois game.

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Jump around! Bears D holds!

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Though we were on the top (3 rows from the top) of the 300 United Club level, they were great seats.

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Rams threatening

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To make matters better; going to and from Chicago was easy as it ever was…very, very easy.

I am glad that we went.

Commentary
Though I go to a lot of games, being an Illinois, Bradley (basketball) and Chiefs (A) fan, I rarely see games of national importance. This game WAS..national audience, two good teams.

Last year’s Ohio State vs. Iowa upset was a bit like that. I saw an Colts vs. Bengals playoff game a few years ago…a Lakers vs. Spurs playoff game in 1988 (Magic Johnson, Kareem Jabbar championship team) and a couple of big Cotton Bowl matchups (Notre Dame vs. Texas A&M, Miami vs. Texas). But these sort of games are rare for me…

December 11, 2018 Posted by | football, NFL, travel | | Leave a comment

Picking Soldier Field tickets…

Of course I love going to football games, and I have tickets to the Illinois vs. South Florida football game this September. Now I’ll see about a couple of Bears games and perhaps a couple of Colts games as well.

Lucas is a nice place to watch a game, but when I go there, I frequently take my wife’s nephew and roommate; that affects my choice of tickets. This year, I am planning to make at least one game with a friend and get somewhat closer tickets for that game….unless I can somehow swing Patriots at Bears without having to take out a second mortgage. 🙂

But for this post, I’ll discuss the Bears and Soldier Field. Soldier Field has limitations, namely concourse space is too small and there aren’t enough bathrooms in the non-grandstand sections. IF you have anything resembling a full house AND if you want to make it to the bathroom during half time, don’t even try the small end zone bathroom areas (the ones behind the grandstand are a better bet). Now about sightlines and view from the seats:

Here is the view from the 300 level club (quite nice, IMHO, though you are up a bit)

The club sections (200 and 300 level) open early and feature a couch/easy chair section if your guest doesn’t like the weather.

These ARE pricey for most games though.

And AVOID the top row (row 19) as the sight line from that row is terrible. They only elevate you a little from the seats in front of you (almost added this row as an afterthought) and if someone tall sits in front of you, you cannot see a thing. The sightlines from the other rows are fine.

Now this is the view from the Media Deck (200 level, I sat here a couple of times)

Note: the concourse is heated by overhead heat lamps; that can make for crowded conditions in cold weather. This matters if you want to get to the bathroom in a timely manner.

Now for the end zone sections (I sat in the 200 level for one game; never sat in the 300 level)

The sightlines aren’t that bad; but bathrooms are tiny and hard to get to. (yes, I am an old man)

Now for the 400 level grandstand. I sat here for 2 different games: row 2 and row 33 and yes, there is a difference. Now the sightlines are outstanding; no problem if someone tall sits in front of you. And the steepness of the stands discourages fans from going up and down unnecessarily.

Though I enjoyed both games: the rows 30 and up (I sat in row 33) are ok if you REALLY want to be in the stadium for the game and don’t mind the players kind of looking like ants. You do get to see the receivers breaking open and things like that.

The lower rows (I sat in 2) are good seats, IMHO and, generally, much cheaper than the media deck and certainly a lot cheaper than the club seats. I’d have to guess that rows 1-10 of the 400 level grandstand to be the best value.

I can’t talk about the 300 level grandstand or the 300 level end zone, or the lower levels (100). (I’ve sat lower level for the old St. Louis Rams and for the Kansas City Chiefs). I can’t talk about the 200 level club yet.

But based on where I’ve sat, I’d rank them this way:

If I am with my wife:

1. 300 club
2. 200 media deck
3. 200 end zone
4. 400 grandstand (lower rows, say 1-10)
5. 400 grandstand (upper rows..ok, she said she won’t do that again. )

If I am with a robust football fan:

1. 200 media deck
2. 300 club
3. 400 grandstand (lower rows, say 1-10)
4. 200 end zone
5. 400 grandstand (upper rows; and yes, it is worth it to me to “be at the game in person”)

August 11, 2018 Posted by | NFL | , | Leave a comment

My 2017 in review

This is my 2017 in review. I did this for 2015 and again in 2016.

Of note: my daughter graduated college (her accomplishment, not mine) and I completed my first year at a new rank. Athletically the year was a bit of a bust (no 5K under 27 minutes, only one marathon or beyond finish, best bench press was 200 lbs.) but I was active throughout and I did take some local trips. Of most note: I had a good time with friends, a “tl;dr” collage is here:

January

February

March


April

May

June


I am getting lapped by Jason (1:01:22)

July

August

September

October

November

Nick DeLuca of North Dakota State waits for play to resume against Illinois State during their football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Normal, Ill.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

December


December 31, 2017 Posted by | baseball, basketball, college football, football, Friends, NFL, Peoria, running, travel, walking, yoga | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Browns give, Bears happily receive, win 20-3

Game highlights:

So, as far as the snowy game itself: total yards were close, 258-253 Bears, though the Bears went into a “run out the clock” shell in the 4’th quarter with a 20-3 lead. But the key stat was turnovers: 3-0, with the Browns losing 1 fumble in the end zone and throwing 1 interceptions, one in the end zone. There was also a key penalty where it appeared that the Browns ran in an interception for a touchdown, but one of their linemen lined up offside!

(via: Bears Instagram account)

The Bears stopped the Browns then had a nice drive for a touchdown; a botched snap/hold threw off the timing for the extra point, which was blocked.

In the second quarter, the Browns were thwarted on one drive with an interception in the end zone. But they eventually got the ball back with just over 30 seconds on the clock and had a nice drive for a 48 yard field goal, which BARELY cleared the bar.

A key turning point happened in the 3’rd quarter. The Bears threw an interception which was run back for an apparent touchdown, but one of the Browns linemen lined up offside. The Bears took advantage and drove for a touchdwon, using screen passes and a nice 16 yard run.

The Bears took advantage of a good punt return to set up another touchdown drive (again, lots of passes to the running back) and had a 20-3 lead.

Still in the 3’rd, the Browns drove and hit a medium pass; the receiver slipped down near the 10 but wasn’t touched down. He got back up and ran inside the 4, where he was stripped of the ball while going down, and the Bears recovered.

That basically took most of the wind out the Browns’ sails; the 4’th quarter saw the Bears mostly burning clock and one more Browns interception.

Social
I was worried about getting there. Roads were terrible, and there were a couple of accidents on the southbound lanes of I-55. But, though the trip took 1 hour longer than normal, we ended up in our parking area by 11:15 and made it in time for the National Anthem and kickoff.

Afterward, we ate some Indian food (stayed at the Essex Inn…a good idea)

There was steady, light snow, but temperature wise, my feet got cold an my hands did, at times. I will get some warm boots for next football season; my boots are waterproof but not insulated; even double wool socks didn’t keep my feet warm. The rest of me: fine.

December 25, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL, travel | | Leave a comment

49’ers give the Bears the boot 15-14, but a fun time anyway.

I am probably the world’s worst football fan. This year, my NFL teams have lost every game I’ve watched in person. But the scores were 20-17, 23-16, 20-16 and 15-14. And yes, I enjoyed each because I like hard hitting, well executed rock-em, sock-em football.

This time, Lynn was my “victim” (as she was for the Bears vs. Packers).

The game: The 49’ers scored on their first drive (field goal) and took a 3-0 lead; they were to fail to score exactly 3 times: twice on punts (and gave up one touchdown on a punt return and one “called back” long return) and gave up one interception (which was spectacular)

Otherwise: while the Bears did score a touchdown that was set up by the interception (nice TD pass in the back of the end zone), the 49’ers rolled over the Bears outgaining them 388-147 (ok, the punt return skewed that a bit) and possessed the ball 38:47 to 21:13. Basically they would run on first down, not make much, same on second down, and then hit a medium pass over the middle to keep the sticks moving.

It was 14-9 at the half but the 49’ers kept driving and driving and eating up clock. They had only 3 drives in the second half and two ended in field goals; the first drive was 8:19 long. The final drive ate up 5 minutes and ended with 4 seconds left in the game.

A key play was a long pass completion on 3’rd down with 2 minutes to go; though the Bears still lead 14-12, fans started to leave! I’ve never seen that before.

Part of the drama was the 49’er kicker was cut by the Bears at the end of the 2015 season.

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (9) kicks a game winning field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Chicago. The 49ers won 15-14. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Socially: Lynn and I went to Mercat restaurant after the game and sampled stuff. That was a lot of fun: eating sampler plates and chit-chatting away. We always have good conversation. The walk through the park before and after the game was fun as well; we visited the Logan Statue in the park beforehand.

My photos:

Great company!

The skyline from the Logan statue.

The entrance

Early action.

TOUCHDOWN BEARS (2n’d quarter, set up by the interception)

Late action. This is the start of the game winning drive: SF 8 to the Chicago 4; key play was a 33 yard pass with just over 2 minutes to go. Then the Bears had to start to use time outs.

After dinner in the Mercat, we walked back to the car and saw the supermoon. This shot does not do it justice.

What a wonderful experience, even if “my” team lost.

December 5, 2017 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | Leave a comment

And I drag Lynn to a Bears vs. Packers game…

Ok it was dry for the walk over but rained during the game. Still, a poncho kept us dry and we were bundled up.

The game: The Packers won 23-16, though thanks to a botched snap/hold on a late field goal attempt, the Bears got the ball back with 1 minute to go and had a shot to tie it.

A key moment came in the 2’nd quarter (2:30 into the video; score was 10-3 Packers) when the Bears receiver made an excellent run after catch and dived for the end zone. He was ruled out at the 2 (first and goal at the 2) but the Bears challenged the call, claiming that he hit the pylon with the ball before going out of bounds.

Call was reviewed..and showed that he lost control of the ball just prior to hitting the pylon. Hence the ball went out of bounds in the endzone..”touchback” and the Packers ball at the 20 versus the Bears having it at the 2.

Overall, the Packers got just enough offense with their backup quaterback and a receiver running as running back. And they sacked the Bears quarterback several times.

An action shot via the Bears Instagram account:

kickoff. Yes, there were empty seats.

We were about where the arrow is: 2n’d row of the upper deck (442, row 2). GREAT seats..the best I’ve had in Soldier Field so far. This shot was retweeted by EmptySeatsGalore on Twitter. Shot by @RobDemovsky:

Some action.

More action

Some shots of the stands…it was rainy.

Yes, there were some unsold seats up in the upper corner of the upper deck:

Lynn and I in our ponchos.

Lynn and I before going in..it wasn’t raining as yet.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | 1 Comment

Bears Trip

Ok, I did get to see a Monday night game between the Bears and the Vikings. The game was fun (but Soldier field’s concourses are way too narrow and there aren’t enough bathrooms; it is insanely crowded during halftime)

The Vikings won 20-17, based mostly on a field goal off of a strip sack, and off of an interception with just over 2 minutes to go. Otherwise, it was a slugfest with both teams getting 2 touchdowns apiece in the second half. The Bears had the two coolest plays of the night, but overall, the mistakes made the difference.

The Bears got a few yards off of their opening possession and then the teams traded punts several times, with the Vikings losing the field position battle. An end zone sack gave the Bears a 2-0 lead, and it stayed that way until the strip sack set up the Vikings for a field goal and a 3-2 halftime lead (seriously)

The Vikings scored on their opening drive in the second half (and had a funny end zone celebration; they played “duck, duck, goose”) and then the Bears scored on a beautiful fake punt. The Vikings scored again (58 yard run) but the Bears retaliated in the 4’th quarter (tipped pass) and hit a very cool 2-point conversion (handoff-lateral). And it remained even until the last second interception (which I worried out loud about prior to it happening).

Trivia: I saw the Bears rookie quaterback play last year when North Carolina visited Illinois, and I saw the Vikings quarterback play when he was with the Rams (and yes, he got hurt all the time then too). He got hurt this game, going down on a play where a lineman was pushed into him.

Via the Bears Instagram page.

Oct 9, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd (94) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) for a safety during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Game selfie with Barbara.

From our seats (section 225)

October 12, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL | | Leave a comment

And I drag Mat to the Bears vs. 49’ers game

How does a math professor afford “Media Deck” seats in Soldier field? Well, having an outdoor December game between 2-9 and 1-10 teams helps.

As far as the seats: row 1. Loved that. Now the bathroom at the end (section 244) is too small..and the concourse is crowded. So, next time I’d go to the middle sections to get to the bathroom. Other than that: excellent.

Now the game: the Bears won 26-6, though the first half didn’t look so promising. The 49’ers controlled play…but only managed two field goals. One came on a drive. The other was set up by a partially blocked punt which was returned to the Bear 4 yard line. But the returner though he had scored and …in celebrating what he thought was a touchdown, did a snow angel in the endzone. That resulted in a 15 yard penalty which ..lead to a field goal.

So with just over 2 minutes left in the half, the Bears had the ball at their own 20. They tried two running plays with limited success..and the 49’ers called time out, hoping to get the ball back.

So the Bears completed a pass for the first down..and which point momentum shifted. The Bears found that their backup quarterback COULD pass in this weather and he started to hit passes. That moved the Bears sharply to the 12 yard line, and a pass interference penalty put the ball at the 49’er 1 with just over 30 seconds to go. The Bears ran it in and took a 7-6 lead at the half.

The Bears dominated the second half, mixing running and passing. The drove for 2 touchdowns and established a 21-6 lead going into the 4’th quarter.

A nice field goal pushed it to 24-6; and then a good punt pinned the 49’ers deep (at their own 2), and a quarterback sack for a safety pushed the final margin to 26-6.

So, the Bears won 3 games this season, and I was there for 2 of those victories! In fact, I’ve yet to witness the opposing team score a touchdown on the Bears.

I never got that cold; in fact, during the game, I never had to put on my extra coat.

bears491

The Media Deck concourse has heat lamps overhead. If you sit in rows 11-12, these might keep you a little bit warm.

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The Bears take the field.

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Early action.

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Field goal 49’ers.

bears496td2

Bears in scoring position in the third quarter.

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Touchdown Bears!

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The cold fans braving the elements.

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The red arrow marks where we are.

December 6, 2016 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | 1 Comment

Chicago Bears vs. Lions trip

Well, the trip to Chicago was more uneventful that I had anticipated. We went up the night before just to enjoy some relaxation.

The hotel (Hyatt and McCormick Place) was really about 1 mile away from the stadium, and most of the walk was along bike path type surfaces.

We took this before Barbara saw our seats…

bearslionsbarbaraandme

bearslionsbarbarasteps

Here she was contemplating “acrimonious divorce”.

bearslionsnavypier

But hey, there was a great view.

bearslionspregame

The crowd was somewhat late arriving, but it did fill up pretty well.

As far as the game itself: The Bears did control action during the first half but really had only 7 points to show for it. The Bears defense shut down the Lions effectively, allowing only one 50 yard field goal and coming up with an “almost pick 6” at the end to stop a Lion drive (busted route).

Second half: the Lions opened up with drive that took almost 8 minutes of the 3’rd quarter. They got first and goal at the 5 and ran it to inside the 1. But…the Bears goal line defense made two key run stops, stopping them for no gain and then a 2 yard loss.

bearslionsgoalline

So the Lions had to kick a field goal and it was 7-6. Then the Bears hit a 64 yard pass to set up a short touchdown pass; it was now 14-6.

Another drive set up a field goal to make it 17-6, and the Bears came up with another interception inside of 4 minutes to go. Bears running made the Lions use up time outs.

But the Lions hit a big 80 yard punt return for a touchdown with 1:50 to play and followed it with a 2 point conversion, but the Lions had no time outs left. The Bears recovered the onside kick and went into “victory formation” to seal their first win of the year.

bearslinonsvictoryformation

Highlights:

October 4, 2016 Posted by | football, NFL, travel | | 1 Comment

The nicest butt and favorite NFL team…

bigbluejeanbutt

There is a saying that I found on the internet. To paraphrase: “there are a lot of nice butts to look at. But the nicest one is the one that you get to touch”.
I am a bit that way with NFL teams too. My favorite team is the one I get to watch. The Rams have announced that they have applied to relocate to Los Angeles (as has San Diego and Oakland). Now I don’t know what will happen (will the league allow it, or will a new team come in…like say Jacksonville?) but it sure appears as if I’ll have no St. Louis team to watch in the Jones Dome next year:

letitgo

Oh well…NFL is a business, period. It will be time to follow someone else. The Colts are 48 minutes further away. The Bears: roughly the same distance as St. Louis, but there is more traffic in that direction (bigger city). And, I tend to make later season games (October and beyond) due to my fall marathon and my spouse doesn’t do cold weather games outdoors.

So…
bearsblanket

Of course, some of these games might be solo as an NFL game from where I live is a 7-7 time commitment …though perhaps…depending on if one of my friends is in town at this time…or

novbearsrams

Ah, it is a long way off and who knows what will happen.

Time for basketball season. 🙂

January 5, 2016 Posted by | big butts, Friends, NFL | , , , | Leave a comment