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A lovely Chicago fall afternoon welcomes the Cardinals back to Chicago. Since they left in 1959 not much has happened with the franchise. They moved to St. Louis and St. Louis eventually traded them in for the Rams and a Super Bowl.
Perhaps this old-school matchup would be more appropriate at Comiskey Park, the Cards' old home. Considering these two teams' records, however, maybe Gately Stadium.
Anthony Thomas is out with pneumonia, joining Mike Green, Chris Chandler and others on the inactive list. That means Rex Grossman is the No. 2 QB. Could this be the week?
With Thomas out, the pride of Boise State, Brock Forsey, will carry the load at running back.
One question for Forsey: What's with the blue turf at Boise State? A friend told me last night they had trouble out there with birds thinking the "smurf turf" was a lake and trying to land on it. If this isn't true it should be.
As the little girl who sang the National Anthem was leaving the field, Kordell Stewart stopped his warm-up tosses to tell her she did a nice job.
The Cards win the toss and send Josh Scobey back to return.
The Cards start out running Marcel Shipp, who rushes twice to set up a third-and-short. Jeff Blake then finds Freddie Jones, no relation to the band, for 8 yards and a first. Shipp runs again on first down, this time for 6 yards. Blake misses on the next try and then has his pass batted at the line by one of his own linemen. The Cards will punt. R.W. McQuarters signals for a fair catch but lets the punt drop at the 5 and it bounces straight up in the air and is downed by the Cardinals at the 4.
From deep in their own territory, the Bears run Brock Forsey to get a little room with which to work. Forsey picks up 2. Stewart swings a short one to Pritchett, who is cut down after another 2 yards. Bobby Wade joins the Bears third-down formation and catches a pass underneath and then makes a nice run after the catch, for a gain of 22. Stewart throws one up for grabs to the other rookie receiver, Justin Gage, and Gage goes right over the back of David Barrett and takes the ball. He finally goes down around the three. That might have been over the back on the basketball court. No call here. Stewart wastes no times on the next play, rolling right and hitting a diving Marty Booker for the touchdown. I may be wrong but I believe that's the Bears' first opening-drive touchdown of the season. Is it not? Anyway, the two rookies came up huge on that drive. Wade as a third-down possession guy and Gage as the jump-baller. The Bears go 94 yards on their opening drive. Huh.
Bears 7, Cardinals 0
Shipp runs for 2 yards and then 6 yards. Blake scrambles and shakes Alex Brown and Brian Urlacher and gets 6 yards and the first. Shipp tries to change directions and is dropped by Keith Traylor for a loss of 1. Blake hits Shipp, who makes Urlacher miss another tackle and picks up 10 to midfield. On third-and-1, Shipp follows his immense right tackle Russell Davis for the first. Blake hits tight end Jones again for 28 yards. Jones got by Briggs at the line and into coverage. Ball at the 19. Hey, Emmitt Smith! Urlacher stuffs the NFL's all-time leading rusher for a 2-yard loss. Blake hooks up with Steve Bush for 7 yards. On third-and-6 from the Bears' 15, Blake throws over the middle for Jones and Mike Brown should've picked it off. Neil Rackers squeezes a 32-yard field goal inside the left upright.
Bears 7, Cardinals 3
The Cardinals line up in an onside kick formation and then Rackers squibs one up the field taken by John Gilmore. Jerry Azumah has become such a weapon that no one will kick to him. The Bears will start at their own 33.
Forsey gets free on theh right side and picks up 11. A reverse to Wade is sniffed out and Wade takes some punishment in the backfield. A loss of 6. Stewart hits Booker on a kick out for 10 yards. Stewart goes to Dez White, the ball pops up in the air and comes down before the penalty flag for pass interference. First down Bears. Not sure where the penalty was but that's another story. Forsey hits the hole with a head of steam and picks up another 15 yards down to the Cards' 32.
Forsey picks up 2 and a play-action bootleg to Pritchett gets 4, setting up third-and-3. Rabih Abdullah can't get the first, so here comes Paul Edinger for a 44-yard try. It's low and quite short.
Chris Villarrial hurt his ribs and his return is questionable. Terrence Metcalf replaces him at right guard.
From his own 34, Blake heaves one long to Anquan Boldin, but it falls incomplete. Shipp is stuffed at the line and the Cards quickly face a third-and-10. Pressured by Urlacher, Blake dumps one to Jones, who's short of the marker. Arizona will punt.
The Bears are going with a rotation at receiver. David Terrell, Gage and Booker line up on first down and Stewart over-throws Terrell. He throws one over Terrell's head on second down. Four receivers in the game now, Stewart throws one underneath the Cardinals' zone to Booker and he's just short of the marker. Brad Maynard comes on for his first punt. It bounces out of bounds at the Arizona 34.
The Bears line up in their nickel defense on first down, Mike Brown and Urlacher come on a blitz and Alex Brown takes down Shipp in the backfield for a loss of 2. Shipp picks up 8 on second down. Mike Brown again comes on a safety blitz but he's picked up by Shipp. Blake hits Bryan Gilmore but he's short of the first. Another punt for Arizona lands at the 10 with no return.
Make that the 11. Forsey follows Pritchett up the middle for a 6-yard gain. Forsey catches a little flip from Stewart and stumbles for the first. Had he kept his feet there were more yards to have. Forsey again. He runs right and picks up 5. After Pritchett got a few on a counter, Stewart hits Desmond Clark for the first down. Stewart trips over the 28-yard line and loses 5. Ray Thompson then nails Stewart on a linebacker blitz. Loss of 8 brings up third and 22. With an empty backfield, the Bears run the dreaded wide-receiver screen to White. As usual it gets nothing and the Bears will punt. That play brings out the first boos of the day. Maynard shanks another one that goes out of bounds at the Bears' 42.
Blake goes long to Bryant Johnson, who nearly makes a one-handed grab before getting close-lined by Bobby Gray. Shipp picks up a yard to bring us to the 2-minute warning, which means everyone in the press box will hit the buffet early, bumping my chair as they file by.
The Cardinals eventually punt and it's a good one downed at the 6. The Bears have 1:39 on the clock and two timeouts. Stewart looks for Gage on first down but it's knocked away. Lunch appears to be meatloaf sandwich. Stewart's pass to Booker is nearly picked off. Booker fell down. Stewart scrambles from his own end zone and nearly gets his helmet ripped off before getting the first. A quick hit to Booker for 9 yards and the Bears use their second timeout. Ball at the 27 with just under a minute to play, you've got to start throwing down field. Gage grabs a pass on a sideline patter and gets 15. Abdullah picks up a corner blitz and Stewart hits Clark for 10 more. Terrell is nearly killed over the middle, bringing up second down just across midfield. Gage makes a great hands catch at the 33, picking a ball thrown behind him off the turf like a shortstop. Nineteen seconds on the clock. Stewart lofts one to Gage and Gage again goes up and gets it in the end zone. But he's called for offensive pass interference. He pushed off but that's kind of ticky tack. Add a delay of game and it's second and 25 at the Arizona 48. Stewart avoids the rush, tosses it up for Booker in the end zone and it falls incomplete.
Rackers' kick goes through the corner of the end zone and the Bears will start the second half at their own 20. Arizona has really been blitzing lately and they start the half by bringing Ray Thompson. He sacks Stewart for a loss of a few. After throwing one away, Stewart takes off and is nailed 5 yards short of the marker. The Cardinals can't do Shipp on two running plays. Add an incompletion and they'll punt it away. Horrible kick. Maybe 10 yards. Fifteen to be exact and the Bears get the ball at the 36.
After a few unsuccessful plays, Stewart hits Forsey in the flat and look at him go. Forsey makes a guy miss and picks up 22 yards. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I'm going to be asleep by the fourth quarter. Speaking of potatoes, Forsey is stuffed for no gain. Clark drops a short flip by Stewart. So third-and-11 the Bears throw longer than 11 yards. Booker makes a sliding catch 14 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. A bad pass from Stewart (intended for Clark) followed by a nice one (to Gage, who takes a shot.) With the ball on the 25 we've got an injury timeout. A Cardinal is down. Broken wing, perhaps. I think there's a scary old lady down the block who takes care of wounded squirrels and birds. She should be home. Gage was short of the first so Edinger will try a 43-yarder. It's a fake. Edinger steps in over center and tosses a perfect pitch to Urlacher, who can't handle it. Edinger looked like Flutie in there. Same number, different result.
The Cardinals get the ball at the Bears' 29 and they manage to go backwards. On third-and-forever, Blake's pass to Boldin is broken up by Charles Tillman.
The Bears get the ball back and David Terrell actually makes a play. More like David Terrell actually was given an opportunity to make a play. He picked up 11 on a pass over the middle. Clark picks up 3, bringing up third-and-7. Stewart throws behind Clark and here comes Maynard. Another bad punt will look good in the box score because of a nice bounce and roll to the 10.
Blake finds his tight ends on two straight plays to get out of trouble. Phillip Daniels sacks Blake on second down for a 12-yard loss. That was big and got the crowd into it. Blake chucks one long on third down and it's broken up by McQuarters.
The Bear take over just before midfield and Forsey runs twice and gets the first. Play-action on first down and Stewart misses White badly. He was wide open. Forsey runs on third and continues to make guys miss. First down. The Bears should consider dying the Soldier Field turf blue. Forsey gets nothingo on this try. The third quarter is a thing of the past.
From the 25, Stewart's arm is hit as he throws and the ball falls incomplete and a pass to Gage down the sideline is broken up. Edinger's kick is wide left.
The Cardinals take over and on first down, McQuarters steps in front of Blake's pass and is pushed out by Emmitt Smith at the 12. Boldin had R-Dubs beaten there but the pass was off the mark and almost resulted in a defensive touchdown for the Bears.
Forsey pounds it up the middle for 2 yards. Stewart threads a pass to White in the end zone for a touchdown.
Bears 14, Cardinals 3
The Cardinals go three and out and McQuarters takes the punt out to the 30.
Forsey rips one for 17 yards but right tackle Aaron Gibson is down and it looks like a knee injury. Metcalf will move over from left guard to take Gibson's spot and Corbin Lacina takes Metcalf's spot. Forsey runs for a few more and has gone over 100 yards. Forsey cuts back and picks up the first on third-and-1. From the 31, Dez White makes a double move and is wide open. Stewart lays it in there and White is pushed out at the 2. A better-thrown ball would've resulted in a TD, but hey. The Bears will try to get Forsey a score here but he's stuffed for a loss of 1. Olin Kreutz commits his second false start of the day and the Bears are backed up. Stewart takes off on a designed QB draw, gets a block by White at the goal line and sprints into the end zone.
Bears 21, Cardinals 3
After two short passes, Blake scrambles, looks, scrambles some more and is taken down from behind by Michael Haynes. Blake fumbles and Alex Brown recovers at the Arizona 34.
The Bears start with another short field and go right back to Forsey. The rookie picks up a few before Stewart hits White on the far sideline for a first down at the 21. More from Brock "the unstoppable" Forsey, down to the 8. Forsey takes the handoff, makes a great cut and gets to the pylon. Touchdown.
Bears 28, Arizona 3
If the Bears get the ball back, I'm thinking Grossman. Maybe not since they'll just have to take a few knees.
Arizona is doing a few things, nothing special. Though they just threw a pass to former Wilmington and Northwestern start Damien Anderson. Boldin makes a nice catch and run, but the drive ends with a Jerry Azumah interception.
The Bears get the ball back at the 11 and take a knee. That's it.
So the Bears keep hanging around. It was the Arizona Cardinals after all. Thanks for reading. Until next week...
Final: Bears 28, Arizona 3