The Life of Brian
By Jeff Falconio
How ironic would it be if a struggling Brian Griese gets replaced by Rex Grossman on Sunday night? For almost a year now Grossman has felt the wrath of Bears fans who felt Chicago's offense would run much smoother if Griese was under center. Griese finally got his chance last week and he promptly flushed it right down the toliet.
Griese threw three costly interceptions, two of which were in the red zone. The difference between between teams that make the playoffs and teams that don't can sometimes come down to red zone efficiency. Remember how much the Packers struggled in the red zone last season?
Meanwhile, the Bears have quickly found out that this is not last season. Suddenly the breaks are not going their way. Chicago's defense and special teams can't overcome mistakes made by the offense. Consider the fact that Devin Hester returned a kickoff for a touchdown in that wild fourth quarter against Detroit. Usually that can be a backbreaker. Despite that, Detroit still mustered enough offense to put up 37 points. That's pretty impressive when you consider that the Lions accounted for only 310 total yards.
When Chicago lost a couple of defensive starters towards the end of the season it created a few cracks in the armor but the Bears still did a good job of shutting down Seattle and New Orleans in the playoffs. This year however, the injuries are piling up early and often. As a result Chicago's last two opponents found it easy to move the football in the second half.
Making matters worse are those interceptions that both Grossman and Griese have been firing off in mind-boggling fashion. One of the picks Griese threw last week was returned for a touchdown. The Lions got another score from a kick return. Those two mistakes tipped the balance in Detroit's favor. The week before against Dallas Grossman also threw three interceptions and one was returned for a score.
For the record, Griese and Grossman combined to throw as many touchdown passes to the opposition as they did to their own receivers. So what happens if Griese struggles again? Will Grossman get the call again? Does the onus fall to Kyle Orton? Is Moses Moreno still available? It's pretty clear the Bears will only go as far as their quarterbacks will take them. At this rate Griese & Grossman are taking Chicago right to the bottom of the NFC North.