The Bears crowd at Rogers Park's Poitin Stil filed in one by one before kickoff, and with each new fan came a shout of "Bears!" from the rest of the bar, as if this were Cheers and Bears fans were Norm. I was at a table with my buddies Ben and Ben, the three of us waiting for our pal Tony the Packers Fan, a man surely downtrodden after Green Bay blew a game in Indianapolis.
Halfway into the first quarter a friend of Tony's in a Colts hat walked in and received applause and a standing ovation. He waved to the crowd like the queen of England and accepted congratulatory high-fives as he sat down at the bar.
At last Tony slunk in, a Randall Cobb jersey on his back and sorrow in his eyes. No one said much to him, except for one of the Bens, who chirped, "I missed the end of the game. What happened?"
Tony said nothing as he quietly sipped his beer. But his self-esteem was on the rise when the first half ended in a 3-3 tie. Nothing was going right for the Bears—even Brandon Marshall spent time writhing on the turf with an apparent leg injury.
"Damnit!" a man in an orange Bears T-shirt exclaimed. "Can't these guys stay healthy for one year? Just one year?"
But soon Marshall was back and the concern was over, as the Bears ripped off a second half for the ages. Their first drive netted a field goal; two plays later Charles Tillman returned an interception for a touchdown; four plays later the Jaguars punted; nine plays later Cutler hit Alshon Jeffery for a 10-yard touchdown; five plays later the Jaguars punted; seven plays later Cutler hit Marshall down the right sideline for a score; four plays later Lance Briggs returned a pick for a touchdown; four plays later the Jaguars punted; eight plays later Armando Allen rocked a 46-yard touchdown run; seven plays later the game was over.
Bears 41, Jaguars 3. Enjoy your beer, Tony.
Special contributor Jack M Silverstein covers the Bears for RedEye. Say hey @ReadJack.
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