LAKE FOREST – They’ve seen it on television. They might have even gone as fans in the past. But being in the field, in pads & the helmet, that’s something different for a number of the Bears.
Postseason games haven’t been common for the team and a number of the Bears’ players are still in the dawn of their careers. So Sunday’s Wild Card round game against the Eagles is going to be something quite different.
Kyle Fuller’s heard about them but never taken part since joining the Bears in 2014. So, naturally, he’s sought some perspective from the veterans.
“A little bit but I think you can kind of — you have a feel for what to expect,” said Fuller on Tuesday ahead of his first NFL playoff game. “You know, just faster game, a little bit more physical, and just intensity will be greater, which you should expect.”
Maybe it’s that simple. But there is other factors that go into a ‘win or go home’ game that hasn’t been played by the Bears since January of 2011. Hence no member of this team has ever taken the field for a game with this particular franchise in the postseason.
First-times include Fuller, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd, Jordan Howard, Eddie Jackson, and Mitchell Trubisky. What’s ahead for them against Philadelphia at Soldier Field on Sunday is to be seen.
But others like Prince Amukamara, Trey Burton, Akiem Hicks, and Khalil Mack have. They haven’t seen such an atmosphere at Soldier Field, but they’ve been in other places in the playoffs.
Amukamara saw it on the highest level as a rookie with the Giants in 2011. He made one tackle in New York’s 21-17 Super Bowl XLVI victory over the Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium for the franchise’s fourth Lombardi Trophy.
“I think really just been passing on what’s been given to me and that’s just a lot of advice and a lot of experience,” said Amukamara. “I mean, there’s a lot of guys who — I mean, Trey, Trey Burton is coming off a Super Bowl run and I’m sure he has a lot to give to the table.
“Chase (Daniel) does, Danny (Trevathan) does, and I’m sure I’m missing some guys, but a lot of guys have a lot of stuff to give to the table. So we are all going to give where we can.”
Now a seven-year veteran of the league, what’s his advice?
“All that matters is that you got in. My first year with the Giants, we went — we got in by the skin of our teeth. We got in 9-7, was hot and just kept rolling,” said Amukamara. “I think the last thing is that everybody takes their game to the next level. The intensity is higher. The crowds are louder.
“The field is a little bit more harder, and the weather here is going to be a little bit more colder, so everything just intensifies by that much more.”
He knows that. A few more of his teammates are about to find that out soon enough.