Daily Herald
This victory just could be fool's gold
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 9/12/2010 9:00 PM

Call it victory by technical knockout, or maybe by technology knockout.

Either way the Bears weren't reluctant to raise their arms in victory Sunday afternoon as if they had bloodied the perpetually bloodied Lions.

"A win is a win," was the rationale of head coach Lovie Smith, quarterback Jay Cutler and everyone on down.

Yes, the Bears' record is 1-0 after a 19-14 victory over the Lions in Soldier Field.

But Bears players and coaches can't really be proud about reducing the Lions' record to 2-31 in their last 33 games, can they be?

Ah, they probably can considering the mind games athletes play with themselves. Better make it the mind games they play on themselves.

A Bears' loss was perhaps one more botched play away, or perhaps another questionable coaching decision, or most of all perhaps a potentially blown officials' call away.

Instead the officials got it right and Bears cornerback Zack Bowman could say with a smile, "Great rule."

The rules became an issue after Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson outfought Bowman in the end zone for an apparent touchdown.

Officials on the field ruled no catch because the ball left Johnson's hand after he sprawled to the ground. Video review upheld their judgment.

The result was that the Bears maintained their 5-point lead with 24 seconds left, and the game ended three plays later.

These 2010 Bears, who inspire little faith around town, had at least 1 victory that nobody can take from them.

"We're 1-0 right now and going to Dallas," Smith said.

Presumably the Bears' head coach referred to next week against the Cowboys. However, as optimistic as Smith customarily is he might have meant the Super Bowl scheduled for Cowboys Stadium.

"It's been a long time since we've been at the top of our division," Smith chirped.

Seriously, folks, the man actually said that after the Bears pretty much played like they don't belong at the top of the Chicago Public League standings.

The Bears and Lions made you wonder what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is thinking when he proposes to shorten the preseason.

Both teams looked like they could use a couple more practice games, if not a couple more months, to rise up to professional football standards.

The Bears committed 4 turnovers, 3 in the first half alone, and 9 penalties for 100 yards - and they still won!

Why? Because the hopeful Lions remained the futile Lions, especially after starting quarterback Matthew Stafford sat out the second half with a shoulder injury.

To be fair, it should be noted that the Bears' offense did show refreshing potential under new offensive coordinator/guru/savior Mike Martz.

If the Bears can stop stopping themselves, they likely will be able to score on even the NFL's best defenses.

But that was the impression throughout the off-season, too. Sunday the Bears provided little indication that they'll start refraining from beating themselves.

At least on this day the Bears managed to avert what would be one of the most disgusting defeats in memory.

"A win is a win," Cutler emphasized, "and we're going to take them any way we can get them."

Even sloppily against a sloppy team like the Lions, thanks to a dubious rule and a smart officiating crew.