Bennett Rookie Diary: 23rd Entry

It only took 15 games, but the Chicago Bears finally gave third-round draft pick Earl Bennett a chance to play some receiver. He didn't make a catch against the Packers, but it was a start. In this installment of his Rookie Diary, Bennett writes about that amazing battle Monday night at Soldier Field.

What can I say? I'm absolutely ecstatic over the win from Monday. There was absolutely no margin for error, and somehow we came through when it counted most. I'm excited. I'm looking forward to Houston this weekend. I'm ready to go.

This game was one of those things you think will never happen, but I guess it goes to show that nothing is for certain in the NFL. Who would have predicted that the teams we needed to lose on Sunday would all go down? Who could have predicted that we'd start so slow but still be able to pull this thing out at the end? It's amazing.

I can't say enough about Robbie Gould. This is two games in a row that he has pulled it out for us. It's the kind of a situation where if you are near the end of a game or in overtime and you can get the ball down the field just enough to give Robbie a chance, you have increased your odds of winning considerably.

It was amazingly cold out there. The ball felt like a lead weight. But there he was, lining it up at the 20 and putting in the overtime 38-yarder. To Robbie, it probably felt like a nice summer day. That's how good he is.

Also, I can't say enough about our fans. They were in this with us all the way. When I first heard the forecast for this game, I thought there was no way anybody would actually show up and sit there watching – even if we were playing Green Bay.

But when I came out of the tunnel, there they all were shouting and cheering for us. It was exactly the lift that we needed.

And wasn't that overtime coin toss the strangest thing? It looked to me as if the coin went too high, but then it hit Brian Urlacher's helmet before falling to the ground. They were all out there looking for it in the grass. But then when we found out that we'd won the toss, it was crazy. It was almost as if we were meant to win this game and whatever should have happened eventually did happen.

I learned so much that night. This was my first opportunity to be in there as a wide receiver, and although I wasn't able to accomplish as much as I'd intended to, at least it was a start.

WR Earl Bennett
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

But what I saw when I was standing on the sideline was amazing. The entire game was a struggle for us, but nobody ever gave up. It was all about just finishing out. We were in there for the entire 60 minutes and then into the overtime.

When something out there went wrong, somebody else would step up and correct things. I know that on paper what we did out there won't look that impressive, but there was enough effort to get the win – in the end, that is what people remember you for.

When Robbie got the final field goal, the stadium was up for grabs. It was so loud, it reminded me of some of those tough Vanderbilt-Tennessee rivalry games I experienced in college. Just crazy. It was wonderful to be able to share that kind of an experience with my teammates and also with the fans. It doesn't get better than that.

I think we allowed ourselves a little time for celebration after the win, but it is a relatively quick turnaround before we head to Houston for another must-win game. Our goal all along has been to reach the playoffs, and that definitely is still within reach. Our fate is in our hands, but it's going to take a lot of concentration and a lot of hard work at practice this week to reach that point.

Houston has been paying very well. It will be interesting to look at the film this week and analyze their defensive scheme. What I expect to see is a fast defensive line that can be very physical. We've struggled offensively recently, so we'll have to take that apart and rebuild in an effective way.

I don't see much time to sit back and celebrate Christmas this year, or at least not this week. My personal plan is to stay at home and rest, maybe eat some turkey, go over the game plan.

It's my first season in the NFL, so this is all new to me. I know that I will have to mentally move on to the next game. This one will be as important as any game can be for us. But when things finally calm down and the season is over, I know this game against the Packers will stay with me as one of the highlights of my rookie year.

Earl Bennett writes his Rookie Diary with longtime correspondent Beth Gorr every week exclusively for

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