Even still, it seemed that we had everything pretty well in hand until the last six or seven minutes. Then it all fell apart. Were we overconfident? I don't think so. It was more a matter of being self-destructive.
Coming into a game every Sunday, each team in the NFL has control over its own destiny. You can play to win, or you can play to lose. Sundays are what you make them. But sometimes you think that you have control and it's an illusion. Things seem to be progressing well, then suddenly everything takes a turn for the worse.
That's when the momentum changes and bad things begin accumulating. When that terrible process begins, its almost as if you are standing by completely helpless watching things disintegrate.
Where were the problems? Everywhere. I felt that we did OK on special teams for a time. We were able to give the offense reasonably good field position. But then we had penalties and missed moves. The defense played really well, but then some of the plays slipped by them. The same for the offense, they had a great drive and seemed ready for more, but never got the momentum back.
For us, it's a matter of pride and a matter of focus. You never want to let your team, your friends, or your fans down. That's a given. To win, there has to be complete concentration on t he task at hand. Did we lose that focus for a while Sunday. The film showed we did just that.
I was asked yesterday by a former Bear, who was with Chicago well before I was born, if there is still a particularly heavy burden on the special teams unit. He said that was the case in his time and I think I'd have to say that the same is true today.
This game is about field position and we are in a unique position to give the Bears every advantage possible in that regard. We did well at times, and not so well at other times. We need to be consistent and give our offense the edge every single instance we are out on the field. I know that is something each of us will be analyzing for ourselves all week.
It's frustrating right now not to be at the top of our division but I feel we car regain that position if we put our heads down and give this a major effort. The talent is here, we just need to utilize our skills effectively.
Luckily for us, this isn't one of those divisions where you have an unbeaten team, or a team that has lost only one game, sitting at the top. If that were the case, we'd be in trouble right now. I feel quite strongly that the Bears can come out with the division lead if we knuckle down and get this thing done. It's a matter of pride.
What do I see for the upcoming game against Minnesota? With work, we can do it. Everybody here needs to dig deep and find out what went wrong both individually and as a team. We can and we must pull together and be better for this.
Where can we begin? With the basics, going over every single scheme until we have things right. Two easy fixes: the gaps should be buoyed up, and the intensity of our play must be increased. This is a division game, a big game for us. It's our best chance to turn things around. We simply can't afford another loss right now.
Ayanbadejo has agreed to share his observations of life in the National Football League with Bear Report readers. Brendon will be checking in via the website on a weekly basis.