JC's Live Game Blog: Bears vs. Lions

The Bears open the 2006 regular season home schedule against division rival Detroit on Sunday, and your Editor in Chief will once again be running a live blog from Soldier Field. Be sure to refresh this page every 10 to 15 minutes for all the day's observations. From the field to the stands to the press box, JC will make you feel like you're there.

(10:10) Happy game day, Bears fans. I got here extra early today for the breakfast spread, which was fantastic. A mini sesame seed bagel with cream cheese, sausage links, and a wide selection of fruit should hold me over until the lunch buffet arrives. As I've always said, there are two ways to get rid of sports writers. Either stop putting out free food, or start spreading rumors about somewhere else that is putting out free food ...

(10:58) Here are the inactives today for the Bears: Kyle Otron, Justin Gage, Airese Currie, Anthony Oakley, Israel Idonije, Gabe Reid, Antonio Garay, and Hunter Hillenmeyer. Brendon Ayanbadejo will start for Hillenmeyer at strongside linebacker, but the biggest impact here could be that he won't be on all the special teams now. For the Lions, Ross Verba is inactive and will be replaced by Rick DeMulling at left guard. That's a good sign for the likes of Ian Scott and Tommie Harris in the middle. And despite Roy Williams lobbying the coaching staff for Mike Williams to start opposite him at wide receiver, the former Trojan is inactive again today ...

(11:19) It's turning out to be an absolutely gorgeous day here in Chicago. It was a little on the cloudy side when I got here this morning, but right now, it's perfect temperature with tons of sunshine. Although the wind is blowing pretty good, so the kicking game could be affected ...

(11:28) The Bears are actually wearing their road white jerseys at home today, but thankfully, the Lions are wearing their traditional Honolulu blues as opposed to those heinous black tops their wore in Detroit last Sunday ...

(11:55) Rex Grossman got a nice cheer from the home crowd when he was introduced despite the fact that he got booed off the field the last time he suited up at Soldier Field ...

(11:59) Wayner Messmer sings the hell out of that national anthem, I'll tell ya ...

(12:01) The Bears have won the toss and elected to receive ...

(12:05) After a solid run by Thomas Jones to pick up a first down, Grossman fumbles yet another snap on the ensuing play. He's been doing that once a game ever since the preseason for some reason. Luckily, he's gotten them all back.

(12:12) Tank Johnson strips Jon Kitna deep in Lions territory and Brian Urlacher comes up with the fumble recovery on the the 3-yardline. 1st-and-goal Bears ...

(12:14) Beautiful play-action fake from Grossman on second down as he hits a wide-open John Gilmore in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. The former Gator still has a lot to learn about the quarterback position, but he's already one of the best in the league with play-action. Robbie Gould converts the extra point, and it's quickly 7-0 Bears.

(12:23) Another fumble for the Lions, this time tailback Kevin Jones putting the ball on the ground. Looks like Alex Brown stripped it ...

(12:29) Gould boots a 32-yard field goal as the Bears come up empty on 3rd-and-2. Two Detroit turnovers, 10 points already. That was a 61-yard drive on seven plays. Grossman is off to a 4-of-5 start, and Jones has 35 yards on seven carries. Jason McKie has two more catches and looks to be a viable option in the passing game again. Even Desmond Clark found a soft spot in the zone for a 19-yarder ...

(12:37) After an Adewale Ogunleye sack and a holding penalty, the Lions are facing 3rd-and-31 from thir own 26-yardline. Needless to say, they don't convert. Punt returner Devin Hester gets his first opportunity today, but he smartly lets the short, wobbly punt go as the Bears take over at their own 28 ...

(12:41) The first quarter ends with a gorgeous catch by Bernard Berrian to pick up a first down on 3rd-and-12. Another great start for the Bears. The Lions had one long run by Kevin Jones and two receptions by Roy Williams, but they don't have anything to show for it. The Bears have 54 yards through the air and 33 yards on the ground, just the kind of balanced attack offensive coordinator Ron Turner likes. Certainly no boos for Grossman at this point ...

(12:46) Bang, Grossman finds Berrian behind the defense again as he makes a diving grab for a 41-yard touchdown. That's two weeks in a row those two have connected for long distance on play-action. Have the Bears finally found their #2 receiver? 17-0 Bears ...

(12:53) Very quietly, Kitna is 8-of-8 for 75 yards so far, although he has been sacked twice and lost a fumble near his own goalline ...

(1:02) 'The Matador' Jason Hanson pushes a 40-yard field goal attempt to the right, as the Bears have now played five-and-a-half quarters without surrendering a point. Still 17-0 Bears midway through the second quarter. Grossman & Company take over at their own 30-yardline ...

(1:05) We have our first Cedric Benson sighting of the afternoon. He didn't see the field until the second half last Sunday. Fantasy freaks everywhere are starting to question their decision to play Thomas Jones this week despite his quick start today ...

(1:09) Look at Clark create some separation and make a leaping grab for a 31-yard touchdown pass from Grossman. He shook off a defensive holding penalty and made the play anyway. I don't think Peyton Manning's record 49 TD passes are in jeopardy or anything, but Grossman has already thrown four in less than six quarters so far this season. 24-0 Bears ...

(1:18) Tommie Harris busts through the line of scrimmage and records another sack of Kitna. The Bears take a timeout with 1:54 left in the second quarter, and Hester is back deep for another chance to make a big play. He runs all over the field - unfortunately, east-and-west instead of north-and-south - but an illegal block in the back makes it all a moot point anyway. The Bears take over at their own 7-yardline and will be quite content to haul it to the locker room up 24-0 ...

(1:24) And that's the half as the Bears leave the field to a standing ovation from the capacity crowd. Grossman has been razor sharp to the tune of 11-of-15 for 174 yards and three scores. Thomas Jones started off strong but has just 32 yards on 11 carries now. Clark and Berrian have combined for seven catches and 144 yards plus a pair of touchdowns. The fact that Muhsin Muhammad has only one reception for 12 yards speaks even louder of how well the passing game has performed.

(1:37) I could not be more disappointed with the lunch spread today. It's just hot dogs and french fries, which normally would be fine, but I've never seen so many self-respecting Chicagoans slather their dogs in ketchup. What an insult. And no tomatoes, onions, or pickle spears in sight. Just an embarrassment. Get Mayor Daley on the phone right away ...

(1:49) Kitna sneaks in a touchdown from the 1-yardline and finally gets the Lions on the board. Hanson converts the extra point, but it's still 24-7 Bears. Dreams of an unscored-upon season come crashing down ...

(1:56) Berrian catches a quick throw from Grossman but has it stripped by Dre' Bly and recovered by Marcus Bell. Head coach Lovie Smith has thrown the challenge flag and will turn it over to the guys in the replay booth. But the play stands, and Detroit takes over at their own 47-yardline.

(2:02) Danieal Manning gets a paw in there and knocks away a pass on 3rd-and-2. The rookie has make a few good plays today. He can step right in for Mike Brown or Chris Harris and be just fine at either safety position.

(2:06) Grossman is late on a throw to Clark in the middle of the field and linebacker Boss Bailey picks it off. He sprints 28 yards for an apparent Lions touchdown, but an illegal-hand-to-the-face penalty gives the Bears the ball back and a big break. Nevertheless, Grossman never should have made that throw ...

(2:13) Gilmore reels in his second Grossman TD toss from five yards out on another play-action fake. That's four touchdown passes on the day, three to tight ends. Grossman is now 19-of-24 for 269 yards and those four scores. The biggest play on the drive was a 31-yard strike to Rashied Davis in the middle of the field to put the Bears in the red zone. 31-7 Bears as my fellow members of the media are beginning to scratch their heads up in the press box ...

(2:18) That's the end of the third quarter. The Bears look nothing short of dominant right now. If there were any questions about how good this team really is after smashing an out-manned Packers squad last week, they are certainly putting those to rest today ...

(2:26) 13:01 left in the fourth quarter, and we have our first Mark Bradley sighting of the day on offense. I think it's safe to say that Berrian has solidified himself as the starter opposite Muhammad. He's got five catches for 89 yards and a touchdown today ...

(2:30) Gould stripes a 45-yarder and tacks on to an already commanding Bears lead. It's now 34-7. He's 6-of-6 on the young season and looks to be one of the better kickers in the NFL already ...

(2:36) Pretty amazing that the Lions have five wide receivers in the formation right now, yet not one of them is last year's first-round draft pick, Mike Williams. How does GM Matt Millen still have his job? Three consecutive wideouts taken in the first round, and although Roy Williams looks to be a player, Mike Williams can't get on the field, and Charles Rogers was cut a few weeks ago ...

(2:41) Brian Griese might have a Pro Bowl selection on his resume, but as he takes the field right now, he's currently a garbage-time QB in a lop-sided game. Grossman finishes the day 20-of-27 for 289 yards with four touchdowns and no INTs, good for a passer rating of 148.0 ...

(2:47) Great play by Jamar Williams to break up a deep pass over the middle from Kitna. And I'm not just saying that because he writes his Rookie Diary every Wednesday right here at BearReport.com. Really, I'm not ...

(2:49) I wonder how many points Roy Williams thinks the Lions left on the field today ...

(2:54) Courtesy of the P.A. system, "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight" ...

(2:58) And that's the ballgame, folks. 34-7 Bears in another awfully impressive performance. Two games, two blowout victories for Lovie Smith's crew. For all the doubters out there, with no other team in the NFC seemingly head-and-shoulders better, the Bears look more than ready to take the next step and make a Super Bowl run. Something special could be brewing in the Windy City ...

Be sure to make your way back to BearReport.com on Monday for all the analysis, postgame quotes, and your Stud and Dud of the Week.

JC


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