The Fourth Phase Most Impressive as Bears Roll Titans

The Fourth Phase Most Impressive as Bears Roll Titans

There were a lot of odd things happening  Sunday at LP Field - a beautiful ballpark on the banks of the Cumberland River. Things I've never seen or heard at an NFL stadium in my twenty-plus years going to NFL games.

First, let's set the scene. No one, not a single person in the city of Nashville, will convince me there were more Titans fans than Bears fans at LP. On every beer line, in every men's room, in the parking lots, on the pedestrian foot blue and orange. Everywhere. Bears fans not only took over the stadium for three hours Sunday. They took over the city for three days. It was as impressive a road display as I've ever seen.

Then there was the game. Before the unraveling of a giant American flag cut to the shape of the United States and an expensively thrilling flyover, I turned to Noah and questioned in a polite whisper, "Do you think we'll hear boos when the Titans come out of the tunnel?"

We did. And they were resounding.

I couldn't help think what the reaction would be to something so offensive happening at Soldier Field - if another team's fans overwhelmed the world's greatest sporting facility and booed the Bears as they emerged from the tunnel. I would stab someone with a harpoon. What would you do?

And, oh, it got worse. Much worse.

Chants of "let's go Bears" filled every area of the park. Bears players were running up and down the sideline, asking for and receiving noise from fans in the stands. "Bear Down" was being sung at multiple urinals. Every time Packers highlights appeared on the Jumbotron, the boos could have been heard in Memphis. It was a surreal experience for a Bears fan. It must have been a sad one for the 7 Titans fans who didn't sell their tickets.

I'm not a big believer in "the fourth phase" bullshit. I think it's a marketing pitch to make fans think they're more involved than they actually are. But you'd have to Helen Keller's more blind and deaf cousin to not recognize the impact Bears fans were having on Bears players yesterday. I've been to many Bears games but as we gave the offense and defense standing ovations in the fourth quarter, I felt a kinship with them perhaps for the first time. We fans were thanking them for their effort and they were rewarding us with point after point after point.

And Noah and I stayed there. Stayed in our seats until the last Bears player, Chilo Rachal, had left the field. It was a respect thing. Like when you don't leave the dinner table until your father has finished eating. Because without him there's be no dinner. Without the Bears we'd have just been twenty thousand oddly coordinated dressers in the Music City. With them we truly were the fourth phase. We were part of it. And it's a memory that will never fade.

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  • where inching up to the first spot in the rankings.

    Officially on the radar gents.

  • Great piece my friend. Glad you enjoyed my former home.

  • cool story btw jeff. enjoyed reading it.

  • btw, that embroidered denim jacket is faaaaabulous.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    It'd be better if it said "Disco Stu"

  • Good Post Jeff!

    Much like a Bears vs. Rams game here in St. Louis...

    It's like a Bears Home Game.

    Great read and glad you had fun!

  • Great post.

    Having been to a bears game in Cleveland (2005 season, a loss DAMMIT), I know what it's like to be in hostile territory when it's a crappy home team. The home fans are a mix of the indulgent ("Hey, your team is better than ours, but let's all enjoy the game!") and the assholish ("I want to fight your wife because you dare to wear Chicago jerseys!"), but despite the large number of Bears fans at some away games, it never feels like you're anything more than carpetbaggers.

    To convert another stadium into Soldier Field is an accomplishment, and I'm sure the players fed off of that. Like in the Dallas game.

  • IBN. Holy shit. I was at the very same game in Cleveland. Robbie Gould's first BTW. I lost a steak dinner at John Q's in downtown Cleveland to my asshole buddy on that game. Beloved had it won and shit the bed late. We tailgated in Cleveland's muni lots where everybody runs across the railroad tracks to piss on a fence. Weird. Walking into the game I was taking shit for my Bears gear when some dude throws a full, unopened can of beer from third level of a parking structure. Missed me by less than a foot. Still fucking hate Cleveland for that day. Bears lost and some asshole tried to kill me. That was however, the day Mike Brown called everybody out when he said "We suck.". They went on from there to lock down the two seed, take a week off and lose to none other than Steve Smith. Hate that little shit. Peanut slipped on the shitty Soldier turf and the rest is history.

  • In reply to Johnnywad:

    At least Jennings just got a little payback for that one. Smitty can chalk that one up to karma. :)

  • @mikecwright
    No update on Alshon Jeffery, but told he'll be looked at again today.

    The Bears need Jeffery back.

  • +1

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    I firmly believe he will develop into "Baby Brandon".

  • hmmmm...he should be ready to go as soon as he's cleared, but if Alshon gets into the mix, we'd be more dangerous.

    For some reason, Cutler seems to get into a better flow when Alshon's in, and maybe that's due to Tice play calling improving with Alshon as an option.

    But, more on that later. For now, it's a celebration, bitches!

  • A hearty "Well Done" on your "invasion" of Music City, Bear fans!

  • Bear Down, Chicago Bears!...

    Sorry, I'm a little late to the partay, but had to get that in. I don't think anyone can honestly say they predicted the game to unfold that way, but I did predict a few picks that may possibly be taken to the house (that's what happens when your QB is noodle armed going up against a savvy D).

    That Franken-Lacher did it was the cherry on top. I guess he got tired of watching everyone on his D score in the film room. That juke on Hasslbeck was Karmic retribution for slicing our D up for all those years. White-on-white crime? Elderly-on-Elderly? Bald-on-Bald?

    Don't know, but I was both cheering and laughing when he ran into the endzone.

  • @mikecwright
    Cutler said "the second half adjustments have been spot on" but they've got to improve in the first half.

  • The Amazing Peanut...

    Here's the astonishing part about Peanut's strip skills. Most defensive players who get fumbles are LBs/DEs who stick their helmets on the ball, or go for the strip sack on the QB. They get a lot of tries, and sometimes the ball squirts out.

    But PEANUT, hot damn! He has ONE effective Bruce Lee punch, and I'm not sure on the percentage of fumbles-vs-tackle, but I would have to guess that Peanut has the highest FF-vs-tk ratio in the history of the NFL, and that's saying something cause for a CB, he avg about 80 tks a season (which in itself is remarkable).

  • If you think about it, the best home field advantage has to be when fans take over an opposing stadium on the road. Not only are the local teams humiliated by the lack of fan support (which would otherwise galvanize the team during road games) but perhaps more importantly the players don't have to worry about getting booed for poor performances like they do at home at Soldier Field. Nobody is going to travel hundreds of miles to boo their favorite team. Maybe the Bears should move Soldier Field to LA? Nahhh.

  • And now, a word from our sponsor...
    The Bears went down to play in Nashville,
    ...a town that's very pretty.
    And Chicago's fans were not bashful...
    ...they just took over "Music City"
    Burma Shave .

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    This is my favorite one. Good one Al

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    From the Nashville Tennessean...

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Nice one Al.

  • Anyone having trouble with the Tribune's paywall?

    Delete your Trib-related cookies. Then re-sign in. They don't track article viewing through your account, just through your browser.

  • Strangely enough, I've been able to read all the articles I want. But thanks for that tip, I'll be filing it away for future reference...

  • fb_avatar


  • My brother, who lives in TN, almost didn't go to the game because of work requirements in Ohio the following (today) day. But I was able to convince him. I told him he'd kick himself for not going after Da Bears win the SB. Told him it could be historic season. Little did we know how historic the GAME would be. He called me from LP field every time the Bears did something. Letting me listen to the crowd chant "Lets go Bears!!! and Bear down!!!!" It was unreal because it seemed as soon as he hung up...he'd have to call to say " DID YOU SEE THAT???!!!" He said he was hammered by end of the first because everyone in a Bears jersey was buying beer for someone else, didn't matter if you knew the guy or not. If you were in a Bears jersey, you were family. He said there must have been 20 thousand Bear fans there. After the game they took over the Beer (Bear) Cellar. Said a few fights broke out in the streets between hillbillies and Bears fans. That's too bad.

    I must say from experience. When I lived in Tennessee, I met more people from Chicago than I ever did living in Illinois. I cant tell you how many people I knew in IL who have never even been to Chicago. But in Tennessee its unreal. People I met every day it seemed who migrated South from Chicago. I truly believe Middle TN is Chicago South. No doubt they didn't have to travel far to get back home. Because it seems to me Tennessee is home to WAY more Bears fans than Titan fans.

  • That has to be in my top five all time articles of yours Jeff.

    Kudos. Really, really good.

  • In light of yesterdays victory we may need to revisit the shot per touchdown rule. We went through a handle of Evan Williams, two people gave up in the 3rd qtr and I was fairly useless the rest of the day, unless you count drunk pool playing and fried food eating useful.

    Maybe Bears Bingo instead?

  • I'm guessing you'll be more sober after the next two games. Hopefully you'll be happily buzzed.

  • Haven't gotten through all my post victory reading yet but I believe Lovie acknowleged the fan support there in one of his post game interviews....

  • Great post Jeff.

    I'm concerned about or O (esp the OL) as much as anyone on here. However, I've never seen so much bitching, complaining, crazy trade talk (didn't we have enough of that ridiculous shit in the offseason?), the sky is falling, etc. after a blowout win. What's the matter with some of you guys. We're 7-1. Enjoy it while you can. Who knows what will happen tomorrow let alone by the end of the season. So what if our schedule has been fairly weak. We have the highest point differential in the league. Yeah, we've played some weak sisters but other than Carolina, we've pounded the fuckers. Maybe it's because I don't watch ESPN or listen to talk radio. Maybe that's why so many of you seem like you're not even enjoying this run. Crazy!

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    My sentiments exactly Canada. All FOUR phases did great yesterday. I'll just enjoy the win until Friday and then think about the Texans.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    I'm with ya, Canada. I think it's some kind of a defense mechanism. People want the championship so bad and they know not winning it won't hurt as bad if they don't think the bears are good enough to win it. I don't even think people realize it. If it continues after we beat a couple good teams, then we'll have a problem.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Canada, first of all, +1.

    Secondly, it's because under the enthusiasm lies a touch of dread, IMHO. Last year, 7-3, Cutty goes down, Hanie wrecks the bus. The hated Packers beat us for our only loss - and that leaves a scar more than any other, I believe.

    I think most fans - even if it's subcosciously - tend to hedge their emotional bets when their team is on a roll. Our fan base is so unique, so passionate, so deeply loyal, that we invest parts of ourselves in this team, this incredible, wildly untrusted (by the media mostly) team.

    Houston is coming up, and with all the pundits you wisely ignore blatantly declaring that the Bears must defeat both them and the 49ers to be believed, memories of past stumbles haunt. I think if it had been anyone but Green Bay that handed us our only loss this year, the atmosphere would be much more heavily charged with unbridled enthusiasm.

    But baby, I am enjoying this run something fierce, make no mistake about it. It's one for the ages, and I think we are a LOT better than 2006. I just want to be able to look at December 16th from here and say, "it's just another game until our playoff bye week". I admit, I can't do that quite yet, but that doesn't mean I'm not all-in.

  • I agree. Until the Cutler-led Bears can beat Green Bay, my confidence in this team won't be as high as I would like it.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Again, and again .... and again. Someone brought up the fact that some of us had the audacity to express opinions on a possible pre-season Forte trade once upon a time. Artoo expressed his opinion that they were just opinions - which is basically all that happens in a comments section - and I backed him up also mentioning Doug Martin. That's all.

    Everybody's bitching about the o-line - well guess what, there was a way to get the cash to get a LT in the off-season, but we didn't take it.

    I don't like the censorship on here. I read a lot of bullshit and hatred and WTF posts and I don't say a word about it because everyone is entitled to their opinion. This a comments section. If Artoo, me or anyone else wants to talk about other running backs or fanny packs all day long, we will. You don't like someone, skip their post - nobody's forcing anyone else to read stuff. We can't all agree and that's normal, that's life. Everybody is an asshole to someone. The assholes are the ones saying that someone's an asshole for saying something. They provide no constructive input, nothing but vitriol, and when that's all you've got inside you good luck.

    For one, I enjoyed the first half of the season .... defensively. If there are fans that enjoy watching the pocket collapse on a constant basis, and your center-who's-a-guard false-starting, then knock yourselves out. I want more than one Lombardi when a small mining town has six.

  • You tell 'em Irish.

    Jack Tatum was an asshole to Darryl Stingley.
    Steve Atwater was an asshole to Christian Okeye
    Ben Bernake is an asshole to the free market.

  • What censorship? Did we start deleting posts at some point?
    Disagreeing about shit is the essence of the comments section. If we all agreed, this place would be a ghost town.
    That wouldn't be any fun at all.

  • That's respect right there.

    Kubiak: "They’ve got two of the top defensive minds in the game over the past 15-20 years when you talk about Lovie and Marinelli."


    Talking about defensive MVP is so much more interesting than talking about who the league picks. You just decide which QB has the best stats, the quotes are almost interchangeable.

    I like what Peanut is doing because its unique. It'll never happen, but if he keep playing like this, he deserves the award in my mind.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    Why would you say it will never happen? The Bears are going to make a deep playoff run and Peanut will be punching balls out the whole time. He has a legitimate shot at being the defensive MVP.

  • In reply to Johnnywad:

    "Peanut will be punching balls out"



  • I was laughing while writing
    it. Peanut punches balls.

  • Season of Destiny. You have to just enjoy the games when things are going like this. If you can't enjoy this you are a miserable piece.

    I look at our schedule and I see NO LOSSES. Now does that mean we will win out? I can't say either way but I do know we have the talent to beat every single team in this league. This makes me smile. Not every team can win the super bowl every year but when your team plays like this it makes the odds a little better that we'll be in the final 8 or 4 at the very least.

    Spell it out with me ..... S.C.H.A.U.B D.E.A.D.

  • Roger that!

  • The Texans are one point dogs this week.

  • i was just looking at the stats this year and thinking of people saying how the teams we beat have an overall losing record this year.

    Umm...look at the standings. Every fucking team in the league except the actual division leaders are like 4-4 and 3-5.

  • Yes. You also have to factor in
    that of the 23 losses in that 15-23 wins to losses opponents records, the Bears doled out more than 1/4 of the opponents losses. So exclusive of the Bears those teams were basically. 500 prior to Sunday. By their measure if the Bears keep winning, their opponent's winning percentage decreases and the Bears' wins mean less with each passing week. Hate that type of stat.

  • In reply to Johnnywad:

    You'll notice when I post, I'm pretty careful about that stuff. I did some analysis a couple weeks back on the NFC North, and frankly, our division was kicking the shit out of the rest of the league - as I recall better than 2 out of 3.

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    I remember that. Good stuff. The NFC North is easily the best division in the NFL. And here we sit with a nice lead.

  • A lot of teams suck, but that's a fair point.

  • i know but they suck compared to what? What is the frame of reference? The league has a lot of parity and teams lose by 1,3, 7 pts now does that mean the opponent outclassed them or was it a bounce of a couple of balls?

  • I'm a big believer in chemistry. Team chemistry. O-line chemistry. It matters.

    However this season ends, we are pulling for a team that gives a shit about each other. This team has great chemistry. Not good. Great. (Note to Jerry Jones: you can't buy it.)

    Our o-line will get better, because Mike Tice is that good at getting those guys better.

  • In reply to Viva:

    Tice will get better at facilitating Cutty. Webb won't get better though, nor Garza. We just have to work around them .. or make an effort to run the ball - preferably nowhere near Garza. There's probably us, Atlanta and SF. On the other side, PIT and Belicheat. Are any of them scary? Pittsburgh can move the ball, but this year it's there for the taking.

    It just won't be be as easy as it was in 85, that's all.

  • In reply to Viva:


    Bears going all the way, it's a scientific fact, no big deal.

  • Does this season vindicate the Tampa-2 defense?

    Because there has been a lot of talk (mostly here) about how Lovie can't evolve and the 3-4 mindset, etc etc. Does this season show that when you get the right players for the front 4, you can win using Tampa 2?

    I've also noticed, in a very sly way, Old Sauce has thrown the 3-4 out there. He lines Chicken Dinner up outside, then he'll have Pep shift into the G-T hole, or go heads up on the tackle, and Dinner will stand up, and you'll have Briggs, Urlacher and Dinner and Roach all standing up, and on occasion Dinner will drop out onto the TE (only seen this once) while Briggs brings the juice.

    So, I'm not sure how Tampa this high-2 is, but it's something approaching it.

  • This was my sixth road trip for a Bears game, and I can honestly say that Nashville didn't know what to expect with the Bears coming to town. From Friday morning until the bars shut down on Sunday, the town was a sea of orange and blue. I sat in the nosebleeds - we drank two concession stands out of Bud Light before the 1st quarter ended. After the game, we went to two bars - one had no bottled beer left, the other only had something called Yeungling left. We literally drank the town dry.

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