2007 Chicago Bears season

2007 Chicago Bears season

Infobox NFL_season
team = Chicago Bears
year = 2007
record = 7-9
division_place = 4th NFC North
coach = Lovie Smith
stadium = Soldier Field
playoffs = "did not qualify"

The 2007 Chicago Bears season was the team's 88th regular season in the National Football League. The season officially began on September 9, 2007 against the San Diego Chargers, and concluded on December 30 against the New Orleans Saints.NFL.com, [http://www.nfl.com/teams/schedule/CHI Chicago Bears — Team Schedule] Retrieved on April 4, 2007] The Bears entered the 2007 season as the National Football Conference Champions and had hopes of returning to the Super Bowl, [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3275 Bears determined to complete unfinished business] Retrieved on April 4, 2007] but instead finished the season with a disappointing 7-9 record.

Offseason

Roster changes

One of the biggest stories in the Bears’ off-season was Tank Johnson’s jail sentence. In December 2006, Johnson came under increased scrutiny after police entered his house in Gurnee, Illinois, and found several guns and weapon paraphernalia. [NBC5.com, [http://www.nbc5.com/sports/10535933/detail.html Tank Johnson Charged After Police Raid Home] Retrieved on March 17, 2007] The situation was further complicated when Johnson’s friend, William Posey, was murdered the following evening while defending Johnson at a nightclub. On March 15, 2007, a judge in Skokie, Illinois sentenced Johnson to a 120 days in jail and fined him $2,500 dollars. [CBS Chicago, [http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/local_story_074094000.html Tank Johnson Sentenced To 120 Days In Jail] Retrieved on March 15, 2007] He was released from jail on May 13, 2007, due to good behavior. [Chicagosports.com, [http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/chi-070513tank,1,4655572.story?coll=cs-bears-headlines Tank's a free man again] Retrieved on May 29, 2007] Johnson also faced an additional eight game suspension from the NFL. [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/ChalkTalkStory.asp?story_id=3184 Will Tank Johnson be suspended?] Retrieved on March 17, 2007] The league ultimately suspended Johnson for half of the regular season on June 4. [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3492 NFL announces Tank Johnson suspension] , Retrieved on June 4, 2007] Despite vowing the amend his ways, Johnson was pulled over for speeding in Arizona, and was later given a blood test after an officer suspected he was driving under the influence. The incident prompted the Bears to waive Johnson on June 25. [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3549 Bears say goodbye to troubled defensive tackle] , Retrieved on June 25, 2007] Johnson was replaced by Darwin Walker.

Additionally, controversy ensued between the Bears’ management and Lance Briggs. Only weeks after losing Super Bowl XLI, the Bears placed a franchise tag worth nearly $7.2 million dollars on the Pro Bowl caliber linebacker, keeping him with the team for another year. [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3079 Bears designate Briggs as franchise player] Retrieved on February 17, 2007] Briggs became unhappy with the action and voiced his anger on "The Mike North Morning Show". [Chicago Sun-Times, [http://www.suntimes.com/sports/283643,briggs030507.article Briggs to Bears: Pay me or trade me] Retrieved on March 3, 2007] He even went as far to claim he no longer wanted to be a member of the Bears, a statement he later reiterated nationally on FoxSports.com. [Fox Sports, [http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/6562918 Bears Pro Bowler ready to sit out season] Retrieved on March 17, 2007] Despite Briggs' remarks, the Bears stated that they planned to keep him with the organization for the 2007 season. [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3144 Briggs remains in Bears' plans for 2007 season] Retrieved on March 17, 2007] The Washington Redskins offered to exchange first round draft picks with the Bears in exchange for Briggs. [The Washington Times, [http://www.washtimes.com/sports/20070328-120127-6167r.htm Gibbs acknowledges talks, but Briggs trade unlikely] Retrieved on March 31, 2007] Angelo deferred the offer on April 3, [ESPN.com, [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2823964 Bears tell Redskins draft pick swap won't do] Retrieved on April 3, 2007] but later stated they were interested in negotiating another deal the following day. [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3253 Bears still negotiating with Redskins] Retrieved on April 4, 2007] Briggs came to terms with the Bears on July 25, and accepted the 7.2 million dollar contract. [Gano, Rick, [http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-bears-briggs&prov=ap&type=lgns Briggs agrees to 1-year deal with Bears] (July 25 2007), Yahoo! Sports, Retrieved on July 25 2007.]

The team traded running back Thomas Jones to the New York Jets and their second-round (63rd overall) pick for the Jets' second-round (37th overall) pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. In addition to the loss of Jones, Todd Johnson, Cameron Worrell, and Justin Gage left the Bears for other teams later. [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3148 Bears continuing their march to a championship] Retrieved on March 11, 2007] [Profootballweekly.com, [http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/Features/Free+Agency/2007/news031707.htm Bucs net June; No match for Fowler; Titans sign WR Gage] Retrieved on March 17, 2007] In order to fill the void, the Bears acquired strong safety Adam Archuleta from the Washington Redskins in exchange for their sixth round draft pick. [Upi.com, [http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Sports/redskins_trade_safety_archuleta_to_chicago/20070320-094310-6252r/ Redskins trade safety Archuleta to Chicago] Retrieved on March 20, 2007] They also signed former Redskins' kicker Nick Novak to back up Robbie Gould. [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/ChalkTalkStory.asp?story_id=3081 Will Hester play on offense in 2007?] Retrieved on February 18, 2007] Defensive tackle Anthony Adams also was signed to further bolster the Bears' defensive line, following the departures of Alfonso Boone and Ian Scott [ESPN, [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2812251 Adams will sign a four-year contract with Bears] Retrieved on March 25, 2007] [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3261 Adams prepared to tackle new challenge with Bears] Retrieved on April 8, 2007]

The Bears resigned Ruben Brown, the team's last remaining free agent from the previous season, to a year extension for an undisclosed amount of money. [Yahoo! Sports, [http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AmFGnCZcDp99BW9Y2yvROOpDubYF?slug=bearssignings&prov=st&type=lgns Bears agree to terms with G Brown, DT Adams] Retrieved on March 25, 2007] Amidst these significant changes, Jerry Angelo, the team's general manager, stated, "I know on the outside it looks like we want to dismantle the team. It has nothing to do with that. We want to keep this the best possible football team that we can. And that's what we're trying to do.", while addressing the media in March. [Yahoo! Sports, [http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-bears-offseason&prov=ap&type=lgns Angelo: Bears building, not dismantling, winner] Retrieved on March 25, 2007] By the end of May, the Bears had lost ten members of their 2006 roster. [Yahoo! Sports, [http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/chi/notes Notes and Transactions] Retrieved on April 8, 2007]

The team has resigned Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman to multi-year contracts. [Associated Press, [http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-bears-vasher&prov=ap&type=lgns Bears sign Vasher to five-year deal] (June 25 2007), Yahoo! Sports, Retrieved on July 25 2007.] [Mayer, Larry, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3610 Tillman agrees to six-year contract extension] (July 24 2007), chicagobears.com, Retrieved on July 24 2007.] The team traded one of their draft picks for to the Buffalo Bills for Darwin Walker, who will replace Tank Johnson. [Seligman, Andrew, [http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-bears-walker&prov=ap&type=lgns Bears, Walker agree on 5-year contract] (July 31 2007), Yahoo! Sports, Retrieved on August 1 2007.] The Bears traded safety Chris Harris to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for an undisclosed draft pick in 2008. [Mayer, Larry, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3652 Depth at safety made Harris expendable] (August 2 2007), chicagobears.com, Retrieved on August 2 2007.] Dante Wesley was also traded to the New England Patriots in exchange for a seventh round pick. [McClure, Vaughn, [http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/cs-070807bears,0,5141362.story For safety Brown, it's all about staying in one piece] (August 7 2007), Chicago Tribune, Retrieved on August 8 2007.]

Coaching changes

The Bears’ coaching staff also saw significant changes during the off season. The team did not re-sign defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, whose contract expired at the end of the 2006 season. [Fox Sports, [http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/6485778 Bears won't renew Rivera's contract] Retrieved on February 19, 2007] [ESPN, [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2771399 Chicago doesn't plan to retain D-coordinator Rivera] Retrieved on February 19, 2007] He was replaced by linebackers coach Bob Babich, who had followed head coach Lovie Smith from the St. Louis Rams. [Yahoo! Sports, [http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-bears-babich&prov=ap&type=lgns Bears named Babich defensive coordinator] Retrieved on February 19, 2007] Eventually, five assistant coaches, including quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, would leave the Bears for other teams. [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3094 Wilson leaves Bears for same job with Cowboys] Retrieved on February 19, 2007] The team worked out a contract extension with Lovie Smith, which extended his contract for four years to 2011. Smith will make a total of $22 million dollars during the course of the deal. [ESPN, [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2783609&campaign=rss&source=ESPNHeadlines Lovie Smith scores $22 million extension with Chicago] Retrieved on March 1, 2007] Jerry Angelo, the team’s general manager, also signed a six-year deal on the same day. [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3123 Smith, Angelo sign contract extensions] Retrieved on February 28, 2007] The Bears billed Pep Hamilton of the San Francisco 49ers as their new quarterback coach, and Charles London of Duke University as the team’s offensive quality control coach. [Chicagobears.com, [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3140 Bears add Hamilton, London to coaching staff] Retrieved on March 11, 2007]

2007 NFL Draft

chedule and standings

Preseason

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Broncos
R1=3
R2=10
R3=14
R4=7
R5=0
RT=34
Home=Bears
H1=3
H2=3
H3=14
H4=14
H5=3
HT=37
"at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois"
* Game time: 4:15 PM EDT/1:15 PM PDT
* Game weather: 39°F (Cloudy with Flurries and Drizzles)
* Game attendance: 62,148
* Referee: Larry Nemmers
*TV announcers (CBS): Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (color commentator)

Hoping to rebound from their road loss to the Seahawks, the Bears went home for a Week 12 interconference duel with the Denver Broncos. In the first quarter, Chicago got the early lead as kicker Robbie Gould managed to get a 24-yard field goal. The Broncos would tie the game as kicker Jason Elam managed to get a 23-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Denver took the lead as RB Andre Hall got a 16-yard TD run. Afterwards, the Bears responded with Gould kicking a 44-yard field goal. The Broncos would end the half with Elam kicking a 22-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, the Bears tied the game with WR/KR/PR Devin Hester returning a punt 75 yards for a touchdown. Denver would respond with FB Cecil Sapp getting a 5-yard TD run, but afterwards, Hester went right back to work for Chicago as he returned the following kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Afterwards, the Broncos replied with QB Jay Cutler completing a 68-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Marshall. In the fourth quarter, Denver increased its lead with Cutler completing a 14-yard TD pass to TE Tony Scheffler. Afterwards, the Bears tied the game with RB Adrian Peterson getting a 4-yard TD run, along with QB Rex Grossman completing a 3-yard TD pass to WR Bernard Berrian. In overtime, Chicago came out on top as Gould nailed the game-winning 39-yard field goal.

With the win, the Bears improved to 5-6.

For Devin Hester, he became the 5th player since 1970 to return a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in the same game.

Week 13: vs. New York Giants

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Giants
R1=0
R2=7
R3=0
R4=14
RT=21
Home=Bears
H1=7
H2=6
H3=3
H4=0
HT=16
"at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
*Game time: 4:15 p.m. EST
*Game weather: 46°F (Chance of Showers)
*TV announcers (FOX): Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (color commentator), & Pam Oliver (sideline reporter)
*Referee: Walt Coleman
*Game Attendance: 62,244

Coming off their overtime win over the Broncos, the Bears stayed at home for a Week 13 intraconference duel with the New York Giants. In the first quarter, Chicago struck first with QB Rex Grossman completing a 1-yard TD pass to TE Desmond Clark for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, the Giants got on the board with RB Derrick Ward. Afterwards, the Bears ended the half with kicker Robbie Gould getting a 35-yard and a 46-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, Chicago increased its lead with Gould nailing a 41-yard field goal for the only score of the period. However, in the fourth quarter, New York took the lead with QB Eli Manning completing a 6-yard TD pass to WR Amani Toomer, along with RB Reuben Droughns. The Bears did have one final attempt, but it ended with a thud.

With the loss, Chicago fell to 5-7.

Week 14: at Washington Redskins

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Bears
R1=0
R2=0
R3=10
R4=6
RT=16
Home=Redskins
H1=0
H2=7
H3=7
H4=10
HT=24
"at FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland"
* Game time: 8:00 PM EDT/7:00 PM CDT
* Game weather: 26°F (Clear)
* TV announcers (NFL Network): Bryant Gumbel (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (color commentator)
* Game attendance: 82,213
* Referee: Jerome Boger

Hoping to rebound from their rebound from their home loss to the Giants (along with keeping any hope of a playoff spot alive), the Bears flew to FedEx Field for a Thursday Night intraconference throwdown with the Washington Redskins. After a scoreless first quarter, Chicago trailed as Redskins QB Todd Collins completed a 21-yard TD pass to TE Todd Yoder for the only score of the second quarter.

In the third quarter, the Bears continued to trail as Washington continued its night with FB Mike Sellers getting a 1-yard TD run. Afterwards, Chicago would get on the board with kicker Robbie Gould getting a 30-yard field goal, while QB Brian Griese completed a 17-yard TD pass to WR Bernard Berrian. In the fourth quarter, the Redskins replied with kicker Shaun Suisham getting a 23-yard field goal. Afterwards, the Bears responded with Gould kicking a 22-yard field goal. Later, Washington struck big as Collins completed a 16-yard TD pass to RB Ladell Betts. Chicago would draw closer as Gould nailed a 21-yard field goal. However, a failed onside kick sealed their doom.

With the loss, the Bears fell to 5-8.

Starting QB Rex Grossman (2 of 6 for 14 yards) left the game in the first quarter with a left knee injury.

Week 15: at Minnesota Vikings

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Bears
R1=3
R2=10
R3=0
R4=0
RT=13
Home=Vikings
H1=0
H2=6
H3=6
H4=8
HT=20
"at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota"
* Game time: 8:30 PM EDT/7:30 PM CDT
* Game weather: Game Played Indoors (Domed Stadium)
* TV announcers (ESPN): Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Ron Jaworski, Tony Kornheiser (color commentators), Michele Tafoya, & Suzy Kolber (sideline reporters)
* Game attendance: 63,800
* Referee: Tony Corrente

Trying to snap a two-game skid, the Bears flew to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome for a Week 15 Monday night NFC North rematch with the Minnesota Vikings. In the first quarter, Chicago struck first as kicker Robbie Gould managed to get a 29-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, the Vikings tied the game with kicker Ryan Longwell getting a 42-yard field goal. Afterwards, the Bears would take the halftime lead as Gould kicked a 47-yard field goal and FB Jason McKie managed to get a 1-yard TD run.

In the third quarter, Minnesota started to creep closer as RB Adrian Peterson got a 1-yard TD run (with a failed PAT) for the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, the Vikings took the lead with Peterson getting an 8-yard TD run. Chicago tried to rally, but Minnesota's defense was too much.

With their third-straight loss, not only did the Bears fall to 5-9, but it also knocked them out of playoff contention.

On a positive note, LB Brian Urlacher had a good day with 4 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception. It was also the first time since 2004 that Urlacher had a sack and an interception in the same game.

Week 16: vs. Green Bay Packers

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Packers
R1=0
R2=7
R3=0
R4=0
RT=7
Home=Bears
H1=3
H2=10
H3=15
H4=7
HT=35
"at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
*Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
*Game weather:
*TV announcers (FOX): Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (color commentator), & Pam Oliver (sideline reporter)

The Bears went into Week 16 knowing that any chance of a Playoff berth was over, but still had the chance to end the season on a high with their rivals the Green Bay Packers traveling to Soldier Field. The game was a must-win for the Packers if they wanted to have any chance of getting the No. 1 seed and gain home field advantage in the playoffs.

On a bone-chilling 16 degree afternoon in Chicago, reserve RB Adrian Peterson ran for 102 yards from 30 attempts including and 8-yard run for a TD (only the second 100 yard game of his career and his first since 2005) whilst Garrett Wolfe also gained a valuable 67 all-purpose yards from the RB position. However it was the Chicago special teams that really excelled in this game.

Despite Green Bay previously going 12 years (929 punts) without a blocked punt, the Bears managed to block Jon Ryan twice on a slippery afternoon. In the second quarter Darrell McClover got his hand onto a Ryan punt but more damaging was Charles Tillman's charge down midway through the third quarter which allowed Corey Graham to pick up the football and run in 7 yards for a TD to put the Bears 28-7 up.

Kyle Orton, Lovie Smith's third choice QB, was steady enough, going 8-for-14 for 101 yards including a 3-yard touchdown pass to Desmond Clark in the third quarter. It was also a good day for LB Brian Urlacher who ran home an 85-yard interception early in the fourth quarter, the first of his career. Alex Brown, starting for the injured Mark Anderson, also got an interception which set up Clark's Touchdown.

In the end it was a fairly comfortable win for the Bears who ran out 35-7 victors which meant that they completed the double over their arch rivals having previously beating them at Lambeau Field in Week 5 27-20. Also, these 35 points were their most against Green Bay since a 61-7 win on Dec. 7, 1980.

Week 17: vs. New Orleans Saints

Linescore Amfootball
Road=Saints
R1=0
R2=17
R3=0
R4=8
RT=
Home=Bears
H1=10
H2=14
H3=7
H4=2
HT=
"at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
*Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
*Game weather:
*"'TV announcers Dick Stockton(FOX):
*Referee: Bill Leavy

References

External links

* [http://www.chicagobears.com/ Official Website]
* [http://www.bearshistory.com/seasons/2007chicagobears.aspx 2007 Chicago Bears at www.bearshistory.com]
* [http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=3055 Historic Analysis of 2007 Opponents]


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