Cue Hank Williams Jr. Here we go, people. It's Monday Night Football. Does it get any bigger than this? With apologies to the Prez, the Bears and Packers have played 164 times. Iraq and the U.S.? Just once.
Not to make light of any impending war, but good thing the President's speech wasn't an hour later and carried on ABC.
Welcome to ChicagoSports.com's play-by-play commentary. We'll be here all game, so join us and, as usual, don't be shy. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a football note, defensive end Phillip Daniels and cornerback R.W. McQuarters, listed as questionable, are in the starting lineup. That's the Bears' best pass rusher and best single-coverage defensive back. That means a lot in any game, but especially one in which Brett Favre is on the other side of the ball.
ABC couldn't come up with a better local celeb than Jim Belushi for the intro?
As for Hank Williams Jr., all you need to know about little Hank's career is the "Are you ready for some football" anthem that won't die is on his greatest hits album--along with 15 other titles that begin with "Ain't." Seriously, if you own this CD, do you crank this one on, say, Wednesday nights in June?
The Bears run out of the tunnel wearing blue jerseys and blue pants. Blue pants, those are new for this year. John Madden and Al Michaels talk up Brett Favre and the fact that they're actually in Champaign, Ill. Long commercial break.
The Bears are in all blue, and before we get started, I'd like to thank the fine folks from Cabela's. In honor of Packers fans everywhere, I'm decked out entirely in fluorescent orange. It's this fall's black.
Paul Edinger kicks off as many flash bulbs pop. Hey, it's the Bears' first Monday night game in five years. ... The Packers start from the 25 and Ahman Green runs for 2 yards. ... Favre quickly hits Donald Driver up the middle just beyond the first-down marker. ... A short pass to Green is stuffed by linebacker Mike Caldwell, who's playing for the injured Warrick Holdman. ... Rosevelt Colvin stuffs Green at the line and it's third down. ... Favre goes to Driver again, but Jerry Azumah breaks it up and the Packers have to punt on their first possession. ... Leon Johnson still has his job returning kicks and fields this one, but, as usual, doesn't get much of a return out of it.
The Bears throw on first down--always a good sign--but Marty Booker can't handle the pass. ... Anthony Thomas runs up the middle for a few yards on second down. That's more like it. ... On third and 6, Jim Miller throws behind Booker and so much for that series. Three and out and here come Brad Maynard, who's struggled this season. ... The punt hits the Packers' Driver in the back and there's a huge pile up. Loose ball. About five Bears had a chance at it--Bryan Knight was on it--but the ball squirts out and the Packers recover.
The Memorial Stadium turf looks down-right plastic under the lights. OK, this explains the whole Jim Belushi thing: He's got a show on ABC. Who knew?
From his own 15, Favre rolls to his left and launches it way down field to a wide-open Driver. Eighty-five yard touchdown just like that. R.W. McQuarters was one of three or four Bears who got beat on that.
Packers 7, Bears 0
Driver was the guy who got in the way of that punt and comes right back and runs under a huge pass. The last time the Bears and Packers played on Monday night, Favre threw a 99-yard touchdown pass. Remember that one?
The Bears start from their own 28 and Thomas runs for 7. ... On second down, Thomas is hit by, as Madden puts it, "Big Ol' Gilbert Brown" and then leveled by the linebacker, setting up third down. So, of course, the Bears run on third and Leon Johnson is short. Another punt.
An incomplete pass, a short run and a false start leaves the Packers with third and 13, but Favre hits Green over the middle on a short pattern and Green hustles for the first down. ... Green runs for 2 on first down and the Packers run a reverse to Driver on second down. Driver gets a few blocks down field and runs out of bounds beyond the first-down marker. ... Favre quickly hits Terry Glenn for a first down and the Packers are at the Bears 30. ... Green breaks through a huge hole and McQuarters saves a touchdown. But the Packers are called for two holds. No wonder the holes were so big. First and 12 at the 38. ... Favre finds Driver again. He's wide open for another first down to the Bears' 21. The Packers have outgained the Bears 168 yards to 13. ... Favre throws to the end zone to tight end Tyrone Davis. There's a flag for taunting but the TD stands. Mike Brown, the Bears' biggest hitter, tried to lay out Davis but just bounced off of him and I think Davis must've said something to draw the flag.
Packers 14, Bears 0
This one looks ugly for Bears fans.
Leon Johnson breaks the kick up the middle all the way to the Packers' 38. By far his longest return of the year. The 15-yard penalty helped, too.
For those of you wondering why Vinny Sutherland, the return specialist the Bears signed this week, isn't back there on kicks, well, he pleaded no contest to drunken-driving and hit-and-run charges today stemming from a May incident. The AP says he could do 15 days in jail.
Miller throws to Booker for a 6-yard gain. Madden and Michaels are saying the Bears need to go for it here. I'm sure no one would disagree. ... Miller again to Booker, who makes a nice catch on a really nice throw from Miller. First and 10 on the 18 and the Bears call a timeout. ... Miller lofts one to the corner to Thomas and Matt Bowen is called for pass interference. He had Thomas' left hand. ... Ball on the 4 and Miller rolls left and hits a wide-open Booker in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
Packers 14, Bears 7
Booker still going with the fly chest press touchdown celebration thing. I think that's what he's doing. Whatever it is, the Bears and the crowd are back in it. That taunting penalty really came back to bite the Packers.
You get the feeling the Bears have to keep Favre off the field. Favre shrugs off a blitz and throws another beautiful pass to Glenn for another first down. End of the first quarter.
What are the odds I can time a pizza delivery with halftime?
A reader wants to know why everyone is blaming Jim Miller for the Bears' offensive woes instead of John Shoop. I don't know. Miller looked great on that drive. Then again, Shoop let him throw it.
Favre picks up right where he left off, hitting twice, once for 15 and then for 26 to Terry Glenn. Both passes were frozen ropes. The Packers are quickly on the 5. Glenn made a tremendous catch there. ... On second down, Favre drills it to Bubba Franks for a touchdown.
Packers 21, Bears 7
The Bears can't stop Favre. He's got over 200 yards passing already. Make that 228 yards and three TDs. Thanks, Al.
OK, I believe Johnson had a nice return on the kick. I was on the phone with Giordano's ordering a pizza. ... Thomas runs twice but it short of the first down. Ball on the Bears' own 43. ... Another third down an another run. The Bears are short and they have to go for it here. ... Madden says Jim Miller has an inch and a half career rushing average. Seriously. How do they measure that? ... Thomas runs up the middle and barely makes it. A crucial first down. That would've handed the ball back to Favre with not much field in front of him.
A reader suggests the Bears run the clock out to avoid any further humiliation.
Thomas runs twice and picks up a first down. ... A pass to Booker sails out of bounds, but Thomas picks up 15 yards on a screen pass. Dez White is called for blocking down field while the ball was in the air and that negates that play. ... Miller rolls right and then throws back across the field to Dustin Lyman who almost makes a great catch, but Bowen breaks it up as the two fall out of bounds. ... A short pass to Dez White brings up another fourth down. The Bears have been hovering around mid-field. ... Whoa. Let me see if I can get this straight: Edinger runs out onto the field for a 53-yard field goal. But everybody moves to the left side of the line. They snap the ball to Booker who runs and flips an option-style pitch to Urlacher. Urlacher pulls up and throws a knuckle ball to the long snapper Patrick Mannelly. The Packers break it up. A better pass by Urlacher and that might have worked. That was about as much trickery as you could jam into one play.
To quote Madden: "Had this worked, that would've been a thing of beauty. The fact that it didn't work, makes it very, very ugly."
The Packers take over at the Bears 37.
The Bears hold the Packers on a nice, third-down play by Daniels, Urlacher and Azumah. They got a shot on Favre there.
Another decent return by Leon Johnson, but two flags fly. Referee Ed Hochuli is huge. Serious guns on this guy.
Favre is having his shoulder checked on the bench and Jim Belushi is now in the booth. I don't want to go on a rant here, but what was the last thing he was in that you care to remember?
OK, Bears take over at the 37 and run three uninspired plays. A short run, a near pick by Miller and an incomplete pass. ... The Bears punt and Belushi leaves the booth on a high note, dropping a Lee Elia reference.
You didn't think Favre wasn't going to continue, did you? He hits Glenn for a first down. ... Then hits Driver and he drops the ball and guess who's there to pick it up? It's Mike Brown and he's running in the open field making Packers miss. He's finally tackled at the 5. This is what this guy does. Unbelievable.
Miller throws to John Davis in the end zone and Davis drops it. Flat out drops it. ... Thomas blasts up the middle full speed but meets Big Ol' Gilbert Brown. That's the wrong guy to run into. On third down, the Bears runs play action and Miller goes back to Davis, who holds on this time. Nice play. Thomas and Miller both made great fakes.
Packers 21, Bears 14
Do we have a game here?
Favre has 2:40 in the half. Two running plays don't amount to much and bring us to the two-minute warning. Favre is waving his arms, mocking the crowd. ... Second and 10 Favre drills it low to Driver and flags fly from both directions. Reggie Austin is called for pass interference for grabbing Driver's jersey. ... A short dump and an incomplete pass bring up second and 7 and Favre throws to Javon Walker, but Walker bobbles it and drops it. The Bears hang in there. The punt goes into the end zone and they start at the 20 with 1:20 remaining in the half.
Make that 1:13. Miller tries a Favre, scrambles and throws on the run only to have it go right through Dustin Lyman's hands. ... A quick 6-yard hit to Booker brings up third. ... Miller takes a two-step drop and throws to Booker, who appears to be tripped. No flag and the Bears punt. ... The Bears are called for in-eligible man down field and have to punt again.
Mike Caldwell pulls Green down from behind and the Packers call timeout. ... Favre throws across the middle to Glenn, who picks up the first down but can't get out of bounds. The Packers call another timeout, their second. ... Favre throws incomplete and stops the clock with 16 seconds left on it. The Packers need another completion to get into field-goal range. ... Favre goes for it and has Walker open deep but McQuarters leaps and knocks it away with one hand. That saved a touchdown. On third down, Favre hits Glenn and Ryan Longwell comes on for a 49-yard attempt. It's good. And that's the end of the half.
Packers 24, Bears 14
Favre ends the half with 284 yards passing and the three touchdowns. The Bears have 85 yards of offense. Meanwhile, where's the pizza?
The Fridge is on with Al Michaels and he's wearing a "TheFridge.net" hat. I get a "not found" when I go there. Does this work for anyone else?
Since the pie is not here, time to check the e-mail.
OK, not much of this is printable. To put it mildly, people are frustrated with the Bears' offense and the defense's inability to stop Favre. Plus, many kind words for offensive coordinator John Shoop and John Madden. I did get a nice note from a Bears fan in Finland.
Rabih Abdullah lets the second-half kickoff go right through his hands and the Packers recover at the 10. Shades of the New Orleans game.
David from Long Island wants to know why the Bears don't use the new returner.
Green runs on first down and then Favre drops the ball on second. Urlacher makes a nice play, running down Green on a screen pass and there's a minor victory for the Bears; the Packers have to kick. ... Rookie Marc Colombo blocks the kick and the Bears escape that potential disaster.
In the exaggeration of the night, Bob Marley's "We're Jammin'" rings out in Memorial Stadium.
The Bears start from the 20 and Thomas runs up the middle for 2. ... The dreaded wide-receiver screen to David Terrell gets nothing on second down, but Miller finds White for a first down on third down. ... Miller then hits White on the other side of the field and White uses his speed to pick up 20 yards. ... Left guard Rex Tucker is down writhing in pain and it doesn't look good. Thomas was tackled right into the back of Tucker's left leg and the cart is on the field. Second-year man Mike Gandy replaces Tucker. ... That's bad news, but back to football: Miller hits Terrell on the left sideline for a first down. ... Miller is sacked by what's that defensive end's name, KGB, and fumbles. The Bears recover. ... Miller is stuffed, throws it straight up in the air and there's Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila aka KGB again, picking it off and returning it 73 yards for a touchdown. Man, what a turnaround. The Bears were driving and then this happens.
Packers 31, Bears 14
A horrible turn of events for the Bears. Had they only kicked a field goal there, they would've been down 7. Instead they're in a 17-point hole. I hope I don't have to type "Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila" again.
To make matters worse, the pizza is still MIA and the cleaning woman just fired up the vacuum.
More angry e-mail. One reader calls for Chandler while another, Bronko from Austin, Texas, asks, "We waited five years for this?"
Is the baseball game on ABC family or Animal Planet tonight? This may turn into a Braves-Giants play by play.
Meanwhile, the Bears are still fighting. They were driving on that last possession until all heck broke loose. Miller hits Booker for a couple of first downs, but is then sacked again, this time by linebacker Na'il Diggs. ... Bernard Robertson is called for his weekly false start penalty and it's now second and 21. ... Of course, that means run a screen pass, which the Bears promptly do. And then Miller throws an interception at the Packers' 10 and Big Cat Williams is flagged for a personal foul after the play.
With the penalty the Packers start at their own 21--yeah, I messed up the yardage--and Favre hits Glenn on an 50-something yard pass. ... Giants up 3-1 in the seventh, as Andruw Jones bats against Tim Worrell with one on. Jones takes a few balls and then pokes one into right. The tying runs are on base. Meanwhile on the other channel, the Packers miss a field goal.
Somehow the Bears get to third and 4. I'm guessing a few runs--but I'm not sure--and the Bears throw underneath to Thomas, short of the first down. Here come the boos. The Bears punt and the pizza is good, thanks for asking. End of the third quarter.
Readers are going to bed. Wish I could do the same.
Green makes a long run and the Packers are deep into Bears territory again. Azumah could've had an easy pick there but completely whiffed on it. The ball was zipped by Favre. ... Hey, the Bears sack Favre. Rookie Alex Brown was in there. The Packers kick a field goal.
Packers 34, Bears 14
Dez White gets a shot to return the kick and is forced out around the 30. It's obvious the Bears aren't happy with their return game, despite a few decent runs by Johnson tonight. If White, who has campaigned for the job, could hang onto the ball, he'd be a natural choice. He's got great speed.
The vacuuming will not cease and acid reflux is setting in.
Miller looks Marcus Robinson's way the first time tonight. Robinson picks up 9 but then drops the ball on the next play. ... Thomas runs left but Dez White is called for holding. A running clock would be welcomed at this point. The NFL should consider this. ... Booker makes a nice grab for a first down, White catches a short pass and stays in bounds but a Packers' penalty stops the clock. Have mercy on us. ... Booker catches a short pass, cuts back up field for close to a 30-yard gain. ... Miller throws incomplete and there's Vladimir Putin's guy, KGB, with another sack. ... The dreaded wide-receiver screen brings out the boos and Madden and Michaels take a few shots at Shoop. "It's tough being a Bears fan," Madden quips. ... Miller throws to the end zone for Booker who gets bumped a bit but no flags. I guess that was fourth down. Who knew? Packers take over as the e-mail continues to pour in on subjects ranging from Bernard Robertson to Jerry Azumah to Brett Favre's mother. It's getting ugly, folks.
Favre's now going with the casual, un-tucked jersey look.
In typical Monday night blowout fashion, Madden and Michaels have completely forgotten about the game.
Miller stays in there and continues to go to Booker. I don't know the numbers but he has to have a lot of catches tonight. ... Dez White makes a nice catch as the Bears quietly move down the field under the radar. Michaels is still talking about how the Bears used to play at Wrigley Field as Miller throws to John Davis in the end zone. Touchdown. Where's my pom-pon?
Packers 34, Bears 21
The Bears attempt an onside kick and the Packers' Robert Ferguson leaps and snags it one handed like Bill Russell grabbing a rebound. ... Daniels nails Green in the backfield and the Bears stop the clock with just under 6 minutes. ... Now Urlacher stuffs Green and the Bears call another timeout. Thankfully for all, it's their last one. ... So the Packers go for it on fourth and 4 and Favre hits Glenn up the middle for the first down. Fortunately the clock is running. ... Meanwhile Gary Sheffield is facing Rob Nen in the bottom of the ninth down two runs with two on and no one out. Quick foam poll: More annoying the foam cheeseheads or the foam tomahawks? ... What the heck, the Bears get the ball back and Terrell catches a 52-yard bomb to the 6. ... Just over 2 minutes, there's time for this. There's time for this. Miller pumps once and then throws an interception on the end zone. Well, a boy can dream. It almost got really interesting there but this one should be over now. ... Two-minute warning.
The Packers run the clock out but eventually have to punt. The Bears run a token play as Miller throws a sideline pass to Dustin Lyman.
This one's over. The Packers take a two-game lead in the NFC North and the Bears fall to 2-3. Thanks everyone for tuning into the Brett Favre Show, featuring Jim Belushi.
And thanks to everyone who took time to read this feature and write in. Good night, everyone.