The ghost of Steve Smith has been slayed. The Carolina Panthers receiver who toasted the Bears during last season’s playoff loss for something like 500 yards and 17 TDs has haunted Bears players, coaches and fans for a year. In what has been lining up as a season that could make all forget the struggles of old, Robbie Gould’s game winning overtime field goal stuck the final dagger into the heart of the postseason phantom.
The Bears couldn’t have planned the start of the game any better, taking the opening drive 80 yards, capped off by a Thomas Jones TD nine-yard run, giving them a 7-0 first quarter lead.
After Seattle tied the game at 7-7, Bear fans took a sigh of relief as “the good Rex” proved that he had come to play, as Grossman hit Bernard Berrian in stride for a 68-yard TD reception.
The Seahawks jumped ahead 24-21 late in the third quarter thanks to a 13-yard Shaun Alexander TD run. As they had all season, the Bears defense held tight, giving Gould his chance at becoming Chicago’s favorite number nine since Jim McMahon.
The kicker tied the game at 24 with a 41-yard fourth quarter FG before hitting a 49-yarder in overtime to destroy any repeat playoff failure.
“I’ll be able to sleep now,” head coach Lovie Smith said. “There were nights when I would wake up in a cold sweat and see it in my bedroom. Today’s win killed the nightmare that was Steve Smith’s ghost.”
Number of the Game: 1
Victories needed for the Bears to advance to Super Bowl XLI.