Vikings Dominate Bears

I chose this game over the Texans at Colts game; it was cheaper and made for a shorter day…sort of. Harry wanted to visit his sister, which we did..and enjoyed it.

Oh, the game, the cold game (loved my new wool socks, toe warmer and hand warmers) The Vikings won 29-13. It wasn’t that close , really…yards were 482-259 and the Vikings used their second quarterback in the second half and ran the ball a lot. But basically, the Bears could not cover the Vikings receivers, at all. The Vikings did miss a field goal at the end of the first half when they had to rush their team on and got a “too many men on the field” penalty. So it was only 16-6

This was a new place for me to sit. For more: here is my Soldier Field post.

Workout catch up

I’ve been somewhat busy..and working on a “revise and resubmit.” I should be good to go with that by the end of the week.

Lots of sleeping in until..6 am!

Saturday, 17 December: Workout, graduation, TV football.

The workout was PT and a 5 mile walk that went ok; flat West Peoria course.

Sunday: the before game workout was a quick PT session and a 2 mile treadmill walk. Harry and I also walked ..more than I expected; perhaps 3.5 miles total to and from the parking lot to the game.

I’ll talk more about the game further down. Harry, as usual, was great company.

Monday: Weights, and a sort of brisk 3 mile walk in chilly conditions.

Workout: PT mixed with pushups; 5 sets of 10, one of 30, one of 20

Pull ups in 20F weather: did sets of 10, 5 and 5 singles; enough to get 50 reps.

Downstairs for weights: bench: 10 x 134, 4 x 161, 4 x 161, 4 x 161, 3 x 161 (missed lock out on rep 4)

curls: 3 sets of 10, Swiss bar high incline; 3 x 94

Then the walk.

In the evening: caught some Bradley basketball. Kind of a boring game as Stonehill was overmatched; BU lead 41-19 just before half time and won going away 79-50, with lots of guys getting minutes toward the end. Sparse attendance.

Then today: I laid around way too much this morning; did PT and then went to the Riverfront to do some miles. I didn’t have the confidence to do a 3.5 mile out and back, but I did 2.5 miles to the ball field and added a dam section, 2 different loops and one more extra loop at the end to get 7 miles. Some discomfort from 4.5 to 5.5 on the outside of the left hip; paying attention to my gait seemed to help. Temps were 30’s and breezy.

Bears vs Eagles: the game

Seats: Section 432 (upper grandstand) row 3. Like these; got them for 89 dollars before fees (117 with fees). Got a cool scarf

The Bears lost 25-20 but put up a great fight. The Eagles WERE the better team and sacked the elusive Bears QB 6 times; 4 times in the first half. They also forced a fumble that stopped a Bears drive.

Bears missed an extra point and the windy conditions made the Bears punt from the Eagle 30 yard line (got the ball on an interception..one of 2 but went backwards)

The game was marred with 2 injuries within the first 2 minutes; fortunately the neck injury for the offensive lineman was not life altering.

After a scoreless first quarter (Bears thwarted one Eagle drive with an interception) the Eagles drove for a field goal. Spectacular running from the Bears quarterback lead to a Bears touchdown, but the Bears missed the PAT.

The Eagles responded with a touchdown of their own; spectacular 20 yard run up the middle by the Eagles quarterback. So it was 10-6 at the half.

Third quarter was explosive. Kick was returned by the Eagles to about midfield, and a drive (spectacular pass to the right flag) set up a touchdown sneak. So, 17-6, but then, after the Bears punted, they forced a fumble after catch, and then from the 15, drove it in on a short pass. It was now 17-13 and it was getting interesting.

Now in the 4’th, one Eagle drive ended on a doink field goal attempt. But a second drive, lead by a long pass inside the Bears’ 4 yard line set up a sneak and a nifty 2 point conversion (quarterback roll out to the weak side off of an unbalanced line) made it 25-13.

Bears did not give up; they had one time out and just under 4 minutes; in fact, they scored a touchdown off of a long pass and a roll out. So it was 25-20 with just under 3 minutes left, and the Bears had one time out.

An onside kick failed and the Eagles put it away on a 3rd down pass (slant route).

Great game.

Cold: yes; some wind, and the high reached 21. It was in the teens early and late; I was bundled up enough and did not have to button my coat. But my hands and feet; especially my feet. I will look into electric socks or insoles.

You are what you do

Two things are on my mind. One is this old article that I’ve frequently talked about. I was going to quote excerpts but, oh, just read it. It isn’t that long. The upshot: People and organizations have needs and how you’ll be received is approximately proportional to how they think you will meet said needs.

Of course, in professional settings, it is “what do you bring to your organization/team?” vs “how much trouble are you?” In personal settings, it can be something as simple as “how do you make others feel” or, rather, how do others feel around you? Are you uplifting? Do you help others feel better about themselves? Do they enjoy your company?

And yes, accomplishments matter; people are attracted to success.

And, well, you are in trouble if you end up extracting more from others than they get from you.

That brings me to the short “Meal Ticket” from the Ballad of Buster Scruggs. You can see a discussion of that short here.

Spoiler alert: the upshot is that the short is about a travelling showman who goes to rustic frontier towns in the 19’th century US. It is cold; the towns are rustic, and the people hard. The main act is a legless, armless orator who recites famous poetry, speeches and playlines, while lit by candlelight on a stage. That is the act.

Over time, the audiences dwindle and give less and less money and the showman gets depressed. He then notices a livelier competing show; it is a chicken that can supposedly solve arithmetic problems. People shout out, say, “2 +7” and the chicken pecks the pan with a 9 on it.

The showman wants to take over the act, so he pays, for him, a lot of money for that chicken.

So, now the armless, legless orator, the showman and the chicken are travelling together…and the showman decides the orator has exhausted his usefullness…

Yes, very dark indeed. But note: that chicken cannot do math; the showman thinks that the chicken can do math! Follow the above link to see the secret. I admit that when I saw the film for the first time, I thought part of the story was a supernatural chicken…but then…why would the owner sell it?

But the larger point: the orator’s physical neediness was tolerated and accepted (yes, there is a bathroom scene) so long as his orations brought in money. When it stopped…well…you get the drift.

And that leads to another point of mine: on social media, people are always clamoring to “make noise”, “not take it” or about “that is NOT ok”. But: unless said people have something that others want, be it money, position to take action, or a position and ability to lead actual action, they are just making noise and will be tuned out.

Humans are transactional and people need to be given a reason to listen to you. Of course, there is a very dark side to this too.

Illinois 41 Northwestern 3

It was an interesting trip with Harry: about 3 hours each way. Got there way too early. Had time to eat, lounge around and see the game.
What surprised me is how residential it is around Ryan Field. The stadium is antiquated (more so than the East side of Memorial). Most of the sightlines are ok though there are some sections I’d say away from.

They do rent chairbacks for 10 dollars (cash only); highly recommend them for people with older or achy backs.

Ah, the game itself: check out the stats. While the Illini did have success on the ground, with the no. 2 back doing most of the damage, the offense didn’t do *all* that much.

Yep, it was the turnovers. Northwestern repeatedly clowned themselves with bad throws that where intercepted (one pick-6, one almost pick-6) a botched hand off that the quarterback flipped over his head that was returned for a touchdown, etc.

The scrimmage line play was not as one sided as the score would indicate.

The game started off with an exchange of punts; then the Illini got a decent drive, mostly off of running to take a 7-0 lead. NW got a good drive, but then through a dreadful pass which set up an Illinois field goal.

The defenses took over again until the Illini mounted a decent 2 minute drive to take a 17-0 lead at the half.

The Illini got a field goal to take a 20-0 3’rd quarter lead,when on consecutive drives: the NW quarterback botched a hand off, flipped the ball over his head which was returned for a touchdown.

Then another drive, another interception, pick-6. By then it was 34-0 and all that remained was for the Illini to try to pad the stats of their no. 1 running back (didn’t happen, though he did get a touchdown and literally limped into the end zone..he was playing with an injury), and a face saving field goal.

Overall: decent trip; I do wonder about the historic stadium. The facilities are lacking (our restroom had one urinal and one toilet) though the sightlines were ok; had a good view of the game. It is probably time to tear it down and rebuild, as they are planning.

Some sights: “Do the math” (has to be Northwestern!)

I’d say “50 percent” Illinois fans

Lakeview of where we stopped to eat

Some tailgating

The large Bahai temple

Harry and me: balcony, just under the basically empty “club seating” that they have.

Super Catch up

Sunday: sort of a lame 3 mile walk after a very so-so deadlift sesssion:

10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 261 (4 inch); lame, 4 x 280 8 inch (bailed), 10 x 260 8 inch.

Monday: PT, (as usual), push ups were 30-30-30-20, pull ups were sets of 5 singles/5 reps.

Bench: 10 x 134, 4 x 160, 4 x 160, 3 x 160 (fail), 1 in 145, 5 x 145
curls 3 sets of 10, Swiss bar high incline 3 sets of 10 x 94

Walk: 2 miles plus 1 mile commuter.

Today: great day; PT, 4 miles with Lynnor, 1.6 with Olivia.

Day for the ages

Illini drop 2 in a row at home but..

Well, we can talk about questionable or downright bad calls.

But we cannot dismiss how badly Purdue outplayed the Illini. Yes, it ended 31-24 when the Illini kicked a field goal with 22 seconds to go to pull within one score (a good call; down by 10, we need the FG anyway so may as well get it)

Anyway, to the game.

It was COLD.

Fortunately, my buddy Tom showed up and, well, a “slightly rubenesque” (and attractive) Purdue fan showed up and she sat to my right for most of the game, so I had some wind protection (and Purdue fans to talk to)

This was the coldest Illini game I remember. It was only in the mid 30’s, but there was a strong wind, so it felt colder than some Bears games did. I felt good, except for my feet; should have worn boots.

We were fortunate; there were a LOT of no-shows (announced attendance was 45K, but there were far fewer at the game) Technically, I am in this photo, off to the left.

So, how did the game go down?

Purdue got the ball and drove into the wind; turned it over on downs at the Illini 25. It was too windy to have a reliable FG attempt.

The Illini promptly marched it 75 yards for a touchdown, looking sharp. I was feeling good.

Purdue drove it again, got close again, but missed a field goal. Then the Purdue defense started to stiffen just a bit. Purdue threw an interception, but then the Illini had to punt, and finally, given a short field (the Illini let a Purdue punt roll)..Purdue drove it in to tie.

The Illini responded with a beautiful 10 play drive to score, then forced a Purdue punt..but then went 3 and out themselves, but they gave themselves 3 minutes to work with.

Then came the aformetioned questionable PI call..followed by the game tying touchdown pass and..that is where the “here we go again” feeling came back.

The Boilers gained momentum in the second half; forced a punt, then got another touchdown drive..90 yards! This was the key play…set up a spectacular pass to the tight end (we’ve had trouble with that; the Iowa tight end hurt us too)

Still, the Illini did fold; the offense got ANOTHER nice, long drive to tie the game again…so going into the 4’th quarter, it was all even at 21.

I still felt ok; though I worried our defense could not stop them.

And of course, we couldn’t. A long drive with a pass to the right end who drug our DB over the goal line gave Purdue the final touchdown of the day.

The Illini could go nowhere and though the D forced 2 Purdue punts, an interception with 3:4x left allowed Purdue to make Illinois use their time outs and gain just enough yards to kick a FG into the wind to go up 31-21 with 1:05 to play.

A last gasp Illinois drive lead to an Illinois FG with 22 second to play, but an onside kick failed.

Workout

Of course, I did my own workout before the game: PT followed by a 5K walk where I got gassed in the final mile; blood donation yesterday.

Did a second exercise walk on campus (carrying a bag full of gear) trying to be mindful to not get too sweaty. The weather WAS pleasant for walking.

Other remarks: didn’t see Illinois State get smacked at South Dakota State (not a surprise).

Navy: bless them; down 35-13 at the half in Baltimore to ND, rallied to cut it to 35-32 but didn’t get the final onside kick. ND was coming off of a big win vs Clemson.

Texas: I openly wondered why UT was favored over TCU, and the more I watched the game (a defensive slug fest at first), I wondered some more. It finished 17-10, but that was because TCU fumbled a read option hand off (no defensive pressure causing it) and UT got a scoop and score. It really wasn’t that close of a game.

Aging: friends and loved ones

Axiom: the longer your life, the more friends and loved ones will suffer from ailments of various kinds, and yes, die.
I’ve lost 3 good running friends from 2008-2015 or so (all I ran with, all who could beat me) and now another one has lung cancer.
I don’t know the stage (discovered by biopsy) but even best case is 70 percent survival rate in 5 years; worst is 5 percent.


My bestie also had cancer, but hers is “the best cancer to have if you must have cancer.” I took her to her biopsy.

My wife is recovering from hand/wrist surgery (should restore functionality of her hand) but, well, only 11 days out and yes, there is still pain.

My back issues: not functional; I can manage my chronic conditions (knee, shoulder , back) by not being stupid.

But, well, here is a vow to make time for friends and to enjoy them while we still have each other.

Illinois defeats Minnesota in Big Ten West “Playoff” game

Ok, I got my full PT and a treadmill walk prior to the game, and we added distance to and from the car to get some more miles.

Tracy seemed to like the upgrade to club seats. They have advantages but not sure the extra price is worth it on a game-in, game-out basis. I’ll return to my usual seats next game.

The game itself: Well, this was supposed to be the biggest challenge for the Illini yet, but..I’d say the Iowa game was harder. Yes, I know about the quarterback injury, but the Iowa defense is better than Minnesota’s though the Gopher running game is a LOT better than Iowa’s.

The Illini looked sharp all day; a time consuming drive was capped by a 40 yard pass to our star running back to make it 7-0. An interception stopped the Gophers then later, a drive ended up with a field goal to make it 10-0.

The Gophers then got their only sustained drive of the day, lead by their own star running back; it was now 10-7, but just before the half, the Illini responded..got down to the 5 and ended up with a field goal. 13-7 at the half

Second half: spectacular kick return and a horse collar tackle penalty set the Gophers up at the Illini 5, and then a run put them up 14-13, which proved to be their last score of the game.

Afterward…long drive by the Illini, mainly off a long pass to the 5. Then came a sequence of plays: run up the middle was stuffed, then a spectacular fake and bootleg to the left had the Illini quarterback walk into the end zone.

It was only 20-14, but that seemed to deflate the Gophers. Two more field goals..and there was the final score: 26-14.

I have to say that I was deeply impressed. The Illini offense play calling kept the Gophers off balance all day long. Total yards were 472-180, though the kick return skewed that a bit. Passing: Gophers had 38 yards; the Illini pass rush gave the quarterbacks no time to throw or to even look for open receivers.

The Illini had 27 first downs, 6-17 3’rd down conversions, 4-4 4’th down conversions.

I’ve followed them for about a decade, and, simply put, the stadium is about the same, the uniforms are similar, and even the raw talent isn’t THAT much different (Illini sent guys to the NFL every year), but the level of execution is much different.

When it is 3’rd down, I *expect* them to convert. I am finally getting to where screw ups genuinely surprise me.

The play calling: well, when the coaches call for a run on 3’rd and 8..well, I now think “coaches saw something that makes them think it will work”..and it often does!

Now, yes, I know that the Illinois schedule has something to do with the record: Wisconsin and Virginia are dumpster fires this year, Iowa has zero offense and Minnesota is a one dimensional team (their running is good) who got too much credit for blowing out unexpectedly bad teams (Colorado, Michigan State).

But, Illinois really can make a claim to being the best team in the Big Ten West, as of this moment, though Purdue might dispute that. We’ll seem them in Champaign later this season.

And yes, even genuinely decent teams will lay an egg from time to time; Michigan State and Nebraska worry me. No, they aren’t good teams, BUT they are underachieving teams with talent, and such teams can always be dangerous, especially if you overlook them.

Michigan is still a level above us, and Northwestern: dreadfully bad team but you never know. We managed to lose to Indiana so…

Still, it was a fun game, even if the stadium was 3/4 full.

What will happen tonight?

I am watching some football on TV, thinking about tonight’s Iowa at Illinois game. THIS YEAR, Illinois appears to be better, but Iowa isn’t that bad (two non-embarrassing losses) and still has a chance.

And the Illini will lay an egg sometime.

I’ll take the Illini to win and cover the spread (4 points).

I still got my workout in.

I’ve had some issues with the back/glute/leg (left); hot spot where the IT band inserts but this is probably due to the back.

I started with a slow warm up walk. It didn’t go great, but the PT afterward DID go well..
Then a somewhat faster paced 4 mile walk; again, it was NOT peaches and cream, but..well, no pain..just “thereness” and “not quite energetic.”

Ok, the 4 miler was not much of an effort.

This is one of my back stretches. Note the awful knees.