LAKE FOREST | Don't anyone breathe.
Keep perfectly still.
The Bears much-scrutinized offensive line, finally, is experiencing some good karma. Let's not tempt fate.
Jay Cutler remains in one piece at quarterback.
Matt Forte is averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
The Bears' 43-percent third-down efficiency is among the league's best.
They own the NFL's largest point differential -- 78.
New addition Chilo Rachal at left guard and Lance Louis at right guard have brought some stability to the O-line. Group hugs, everybody. About time, right?
"Oh, there's room for improvement, and we've got to keep getting better," Rachal said, quite aware fans can turn on him at any moment. "If we continue to play physical, we will improve.
"I wouldn't necessarily call it pressure. Our job is to execute. It's gettin' there."
And just in time with division rival Detroit coming to town Monday night. Neither team likes the other, particularly since the Lions have returned to respectability.
And once again, Cutler will be a marked man.
"I feel great playing with these guys. We got some talent here," Rachal said of the O-line. "Criticism isn't a distraction, because we know it all starts up front. If we have a bad game, the offense has a bad game.
"We can't let that happen."
A former San Francisco 49er, Rachal paved the way for three 1,000-yard rushing seasons as the pulling right guard for Frank Gore. Frank Sinatra once sang it, and now Chilo Rachal is living it: Chicago is his kinda town, too.
"I fit right in here. I like pullin'. I like hard-nosed football and running the ball," said the 6-foot-5, 323-pound personal escort.
The Lions are considered by many to be a nasty bunch; arrogant cheap-shot artists who frequently step over that line of good sportsmanship.
Most of it attributed to hot head coach Jim Schwartz.
"We don't need to match their nastiness, just come out and play our game," Lance Louis said. "They really like to get after it, and we look forward to the challenge."
Here's another word used to describe the Lions: Dirty.
"Really, it's football," Louis said. "People have to understand things happen. It's the nature of the beast."
Added center Roberto Garza: "They're playing hard. They're competing, and that's what the game of football is all about."
Garza has been the O-line's most steadying influence, making it easy to forget the quirky Olin Kreutz.
"We know what we can and can't do; that we have to grow and get better," Garza said. "We are learning every single week, and we don't listen to what other people have to say. It's about winning football games and competing."
Sh-h-h-h. Don't anyone breathe.
Keep perfectly still.
This O-line thing ... it's working.
Let's not jinx them.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org