Mark Anderson Rookie Diary: 11

Mark Anderson sure picked the right time to become a member of the Chicago Bears. The Monsters of the Midway won their first playoff game in 11 years last Sunday and are now one step away from going to Super Bowl XLI. In the latest installment of his Rookie Diary, Anderson writes about his faith in Robbie Gould, stopping Seattle in overtime, and preparing for the New Orleans offense.

I can hardly put into words right now the excitement I'm feeling. Winning our first game of the playoffs my first year with the team is beyond what I'd ever hoped for.

I think we'll all be celebrating this victory most of tonight, then we'll rest up on Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday, though, it will be back to our regular practice routine. With the Saints coming in next weekend, there's not much free time before we all need to be refocusing and getting back to work.

The flow of the game was pretty much as I'd expected it to be. We went out there and did what we had to do when we had to do it. I felt that there was a good balance between our offense and our defense. Neither side of the ball had to be out there for an extended period of time, which makes a difference in your energy level by the end of the game. I felt that we all had plenty left to finish it out.

Watching Robbie's field goal sail in was one sweet moment. We were all standing there on the sidelines seeing everything that was happening out there. The play seemed to last a long time, but the result was exactly what it should have been.

Did we ever worry it wouldn't go in? No. Robbie knows what he's doing. I think in situations like that, it's a matter of condfidence in your kicker. We knew all about Robbie's performance under pressure and his ability to get that ball through the uprights.

As the final score went up on the board, we were shouting and hugging each other, jumping up and down and running all over the place. I was so happy. We all were. It was what we'd worked for from early last year. I can say for sure it was one of the best football moments I've ever experienced.

I felt very well prepared. The entire game day was pretty much as the veteran players told me it would be. It was incredibly intense. You are so aware that this is a lose-and-you're-out kind of a situation, so you know you have to put it all on the line.

When I was out there, I didn't see anything from the Seahawks that surprised me. It went pretty much as we'd thought it would. We made a few adjustments at halftime but nothing really big in terms of changing things. It seems best to stay with what you know works out well for your team rather than try something entirely new.

It was great to have most of the injured guys back. And the ones who were hurt still and couldn't play were right there on the sidelines working things out with us and cheering us on.

There was a different feeling at Solider Field for this game. I noticed it right away when we first came into the stadium. The crowd was going wild, and the noise was really beyond belief. That definitely pumps your adrenaline level right up there. The fans stayed right with us throughout the day and helped make a difference in the outcome. I'd just like to let them all know how much we appreciated that.

As a defense, we knew exactly what we had to do and how we were going to do it. When the pressure was on us to perform, we came through. I felt that particularly during the last minutes of the game and into the overtime. There simply was no margin for error on any of our parts. I know that some of the national media has been getting their digs in at us, but I think we stayed in this and proved them wrong.

Situations like that help build confidence. If you can get it done when you have to, that makes you feel good.

As overtime began, we knew what had to get it done. We were very focused and ready to go. There was no way Seattle was going to score. We had to stop Hasselbeck and give Rex and our offense a chance. To let the game get away from us wasn't an option. Everybody played beyond themselves in that moment, and it worked.

Now it's on to the next level. I've already begun some of my preparation for that.

I spent quite a bit of time on Saturday watching the other playoff games with my eye on the Saints offense. I think I picked up some things that will come in handy against them next weekend. They are good and they are strong, but remember that they will be coming to our house. It's our job to defend our territory.

I can't wait to be back here again next weekend. I am feeling good physically and mentally. Having the weekend off last week helped all of us. We had the opportunity to relax and refocus. A break this time of the year makes a positive difference. And I think in a playoff situation, you should use every advantage that you can.

Soon we'll be back at Halas Hall attending to what needs to be done for the next game. But for right now, it's party time tonight. I'm going to enjoy this with my friends, my family and my teammates. A win in the playoffs is wonderful, even better than I thought it would be. I'll remember this day for a long time.

Mark Anderson writes his Rookie Diary every Wednesday exclusively for BearReport.com.


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