Rex Grossman made it very clear on Sunday that this is his football team.
Grossman had perhaps his best game yet against Tampa Bay, completing a career-high 29 passes on a career-high 44 attempts for a career-high 339 yards. The Bears made the Soldier Field faithful uneasy by blowing a 24-3 second-half lead and had to pull this one out 34-31 in overtime, but their fourth-year quarterback was as cool, calm, and collected as he had been all season long. Grossman threw two more touchdown passes and did not commit a turnover for the second consecutive week.
The former Gator is the Bear Report Stud of the Week.
Grossman has now thrown for 2,963 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2006, by far the best statistical campaign for a Bears quarterback since Erik Kramer compiled 3,838 yards and 29 TDs back in 1995 in offensive coordinator Ron Turner's system. The Monsters of the Midway won the NFC North in Week 13, secured a first-round bye in Week 14, and wrapped up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs in Week 15 - all with No. 8 at the controls. The Bears can now use the final two regular season games to get their roster fully prepared and 100% healthy for the postseason.
Most importantly, any NFC team that wants to play in Super Bowl XLI this February will likely have to make a detour to the Windy City first.
Tampa Bay may not be the same defensive unit that dominatied its way to a championship in 2002, but they can still make some things happen with the likes of linebacker Derrick Brooks and cornerback Ronde Barber. Grossman led the Bears to their highest output of the season with 446 total yards, and he spread the ball around beautifully to all of his playmakers. Tight end Desmond Clark had a career-best 125 yards, receivers Muhsin Muhammad and Bernard Berrian each caught six passes, and fullback Jason McKie contributed with five catches of his own.
Grossman will lead his troops into battle at division-rival Detroit in Week 16, and for the first time all season, there won't be an ounce of pressure on him.
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