AL HAMNIK: Bears finding new ways to survive

2013-11-17T18:15:00Z 2013-11-18T19:15:11Z AL HAMNIK: Bears finding new ways to surviveAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
November 17, 2013 6:15 pm  • 

CHICAGO | So this is how it's going to be.

The Bears' defense, missing five starters to injury this season, are no longer monsters but more of a nuisance, like the neighbor whose dog prefers your lawn over his.

Chicago's nuisance defense will now caddy for the offense.

New guys like Jon Bostic and David Bass will occasionally step up and make big plays, maybe even score some points, but the loss of cornerback Charles Tillman will remain a concern.

The defense will look dirt-mean one game, play like turnstiles the next. It will raise you from your seat, then make you slump over and curse.

That's the way it's going to be until quarterback Jay Cutler can stay healthy long enough for the Bears' big-play offense to break through and start running opponents off the road.

Sunday's 23-20 overtime banishment of the Baltimore Ravens, played in apocalyptic-like weather, saw the Bears lose many of the statistical battles.

Their 13 penalties for 111 yards was a category they did rule.

Thankfully, they got three Robbie Gould field goals, including the game-winner, a pick 6 from Bass, and an 11-tackle, 2-sack performance from Julius Peepers, who has been missing in action much of this season.

"The footing was terrible. It was one of those games where we knew they were gonna run it and they knew we were gonna run it," Peppers said.

Ray Rice did it very well for Baltimore with 25 rushes for 131 yards and a touchdown. Matt Forte had 83 yards for Chicago.

"It was one of those games where you had to deal with the elements. That's what makes football great," Peppers said, sharing a childhood moment. "It can be cold, snowing, raining and you just gotta play.

"It was old-fashioned football today. It had that certain element to it. Muddy uniforms. Everyone sliding around. It was fun, but we don''t want to do it anymore."

That's OK. Bears fans will take an explosive offense and a nuisance defense seven days a week.

In Chicago, this is how your pro football team must win today until further notice.

The real monsters are gone, using walkers and shopping for whole grain cereals now.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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