Chicago Bears: NFC Championship Game

Peppers fined $10,000 for hit on Rodgers

January, 27, 2011
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Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers was fined $10,000 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Sunday's NFC Championship Game, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

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Fencik: Bears too slow on Cutler news

January, 26, 2011
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Much of the criticism of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler might have been avoided if the team had gotten the word out about his injury sooner, said former Bears safety Gary Fencik.

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Obama lauds Pack, says Bears get 'em in '11

January, 26, 2011
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MANITOWOC, Wis. -- Crushed when the Green Bay Packers defeated his beloved Chicago Bears to win the NFC championship, President Barack Obama says his team will even the score next year.

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PTI's Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon discuss the fan in Chicago who was fired for wearing his Packers tie to work.

Car salesman fired for Packers tie

January, 25, 2011
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OAK LAWN, Ill. -- A car salesman in suburban Chicago has been fired for refusing to remove a Green Bay Packers tie that he wore to work the day after the Packers beat the Chicago Bears to advance to the Super Bowl.

Read the entire story.

Like it or not

January, 24, 2011
1/24/11
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The tweet abuse doled out by former and current NFL players toward Jay Cutler, as well as the criticism of the Bears' starting quarterback by media and fans, had little to do with Cutler's toughness or his play or his sideline behavior Sunday.

When it comes down to it, Cutler is picked on because he is not well-liked.

If that sounds like junior high, well, welcome to American society.

If it sounds harmless, well, not so fast.

Read the entire column.


ESPNChicago.com takes a look back at some of the highlights -- and lowlights -- of the Bears' season.

Cutler suffered MCL sprain vs. Packers

January, 24, 2011
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CHICAGO -- Jay Cutler does indeed have a knee injury -- a sprained medial collateral ligament, the team announced on Monday -- providing at least some explanation for why the Bears quarterback only played one series in the second half of Sunday's NFC title game, prompting critics to question Cutler's toughness.

Read the entire story.

Podcasts: Reaction to Bears, Cutler

January, 24, 2011
1/24/11
10:38
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  • Michael Wilbon tells Tony Kornheiser he's surprised by the reaction to Bears quarterback Jay Cutler leaving the NFC Championship Game with a knee injury. Listen Listen
  • Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic discuss all of the criticism of Cutler. Listen Listen
  • ESPN NFL analyst Mike Ditka says he would have had to be severely injured to be kept out of a game as big as the NFC Championship. Listen Listen
  • Tom Waddle says people should wait on the facts before ripping Cutler. Listen Listen
  • ESPN NFL analyst Cris Carter says you have to give an NFL player the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their own health. Listen Listen
  • ESPN 1000's Jeff Dickerson talks about the criticism Cutler, the Bears' loss to Green Bay and more. Listen Listen
  • Hanie: Cutler is not a quitter

    January, 24, 2011
    1/24/11
    10:18
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    Chicago Bears backup quarterback Caleb Hanie is baffled by the criticism aimed at Jay Cutler, who left Sunday's NFC Championship because of a knee injury.

    "I know Jay and one thing he's not is a quitter," Hanie said Monday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "What was he, the most-sacked quarterback this year or close to it [Cutler was sacked an NFL-high 52 times]? He just keeps getting back up and going back in. He's not a quitter. You can say whatever you want about him, but he's not going to quit on his teammates. That's not going to happen."

    Read the entire story.

    As usual, Bears can't cut it at QB

    January, 23, 2011
    1/23/11
    10:47
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    CHICAGO -- The only thing older than the Bears-Packers rivalry is the Bears' failure over most of that time at quarterback. Great linebackers, running backs and linemen the Bears have plenty of; quarterbacks are another matter entirely. And perhaps never has there been more despair in Chicago over quarterback incompetence than in the wake of the loss to the Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. Forbidding the mention of the name Jay Cutler may be the best way to cope with winter. Only a Bears quarterback could stink out the joint and then get worse while sitting on the sideline.

    Look, you're not going to read in this space any suggestion from me that Cutler's knee injury wasn't serious enough to send him to the sideline or that Cutler was a complete baby for not going back on the field with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake. But any credible analysis of the NFC Championship Game, especially of the Bears' performance, has to start with Cutler, the pivotal figure in the game whether we're talking about his first-half incompetence or his second-half absence.

    Read the entire story.

    Golden opportunity eludes Bears

    January, 23, 2011
    1/23/11
    10:36
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    CHICAGO -- No other team in the playoffs, arguably in the past several playoffs, had so much riding on one game.

    If the Bears had beaten the Green Bay Packers on Sunday instead of losing 21-14 in the NFC Championship Game, they would have advanced to their second Super Bowl in five years. Forget the three years in between, that would have put them in elite company with teams like Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and New England.

    If the Bears had won with Jay Cutler, the much-maligned quarterback would have been elevated at least a rung or two on the NFL's quarterback ladder. Elite? Maybe not, but depending on how he performed in the Super Bowl, he'd certainly be entrenched in the next group, having finally won the respect of fans and fellow players.

    Read the entire story.

    Vote: Grade the Bears

    January, 23, 2011
    1/23/11
    10:33
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    How would you grade the Bears' performance in their loss to the Packers? Click here to cast your vote.

    When questioning Bears, start with QB

    January, 23, 2011
    1/23/11
    10:11
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    CHICAGO -- “If the Bears win, does Caleb Hanie start in Dallas?”

    That’s what an ex-teammate of Jay Cutler’s texted me after Hanie led the Bears’ first scoring drive of the game at the start of the fourth quarter.

    Crazy, right? But what does it say about Cutler that an ex-NFL player, one who doesn’t like Cutler but respects his talent, could think Hanie, perhaps the most anonymous backup quarterback in the league, is a better option for the Super Bowl than Cutler and his million-dollar arm?

    Exactly what you think it does.

    Of course Cutler starts in that fictional reality, if healthy, but you can’t tell me his performance before leaving the game with a vague knee injury augured any hope for his future, or heck, his present.

    Read the entire column.

    Hanie proved himself a solid backup

    January, 23, 2011
    1/23/11
    9:07
    PM ET


    CHICAGO -- Caleb Hanie was diplomatic following the Bears’ 21-14 defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game on Sunday at Soldier Field.

    After serving as the Bears No. 2 quarterback the entire 2009 season, Hanie was demoted to third string by Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz in all but three games. Just like he did against the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, Hanie gave the Bears offense a lift upon replacing veteran backup Todd Collins -- who replaced injured starter Jay Cutler -- late in the third quarter.

    Although Hanie had a few rough moments Sunday, he clearly outperformed Collins, which raises questions about the Bears depth chart at quarterback.

    “They just liked the way Todd was doing things at that time and felt comfortable with him," Hanie said. "He’s been in the league 16 years and he’s done a great job when he’s been elsewhere and so that’s why they go [that way].”

    “I’d like to think that I don’t need that type of motivation, but when you get demoted you always have a little extra fire in you to come back and show that they made the wrong decision. But that’s just the coach’s decision at that time and you can’t argue with a guy with 16 years of experience like Todd has.”

    Hanie finished the game 13 of 20 for 153 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The numbers, however, don't paint the entire picture.

    “He went out there and laid it all out on the line," Bears cornerback Tim Jennings said. "He came in, stepped up and played great. You have to take your hat off to the Green Bay defense. That’s a great team, but you have to tip your cap to Caleb and the whole offensive team effort. Caleb came in and gave us a good spark. We just fell a little short.”

    “I thought his play was awesome," fellow cornerback Charles Tillman added. "He came in there and I thought he showed tremendous poise on such short notice. For what they asked him to do, I thought he did a good job.”

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