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News » Pretty much a Lambeau bleep

Pretty much a Lambeau bleep

Pretty much a Lambeau bleep
The good news is the Bears woke up this morning to find themselves still tied for first in the weakling NFC North.

As for the bad news, have you got all day?

Kyle Orton's return from a right ankle injury did nothing to spark a wretched offense, and a defense that at least had been stopping the run was trampled by Ryan Grant and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in a 37-3 romp.

Bears coach Lovie Smith not only lost at Lambeau Field for the first time, but also experienced the franchise's most embarrassing defeat there since a 40-3 drubbing in 1994. It's also the most lopsided loss in Smith's tenure, worse than any of the stinkers put up when Terry Shea was masquerading as offensive coordinator in 2004.

The Bears, Packers and Minnesota Vikings are tangled at 5-5, turning it into a six-game season. The Bears can comfort themselves all they want with the ease of their remaining schedule -- there is not an opponent left with a winning record -- but they wouldn't beat the Detroit Lions playing like this.

Smith said it's only one loss, but the impact might be greater. The Bears came out of their bye week talking playoff hunt and needed a rally to beat the Lions before getting mauled by Tennessee and Green Bay.

''Obviously our defense isn't what it used to be,'' safety Mike Brown said. ''Everyone wants it to be what it used to be, and it's not. Once we come to grips that our defense isn't what it's supposed to be, we'll all be better.

''Our perception is that we have a good defense. The reality is we don't.''

Grant rushed for a season-high 145 yards on 25 carries with one touchdown, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers was 23-of-30 for 227 yards and two scores, missing a third when he underthrew Donald Driver deep over the middle and Brian Urlacher snagged his first interception of the season. The Packers moved the ball at will, controlling it for 37 minutes, 28 seconds.

Defensive coordinator Bob Babich changed things up this week. He got away from repeatedly walking linebackers Urlacher and Lance Briggs into the A gap, a strategy one veteran noted last week had ''worn itself out.'' In certain passing situations, the Bears went with three down linemen, replacing a tackle with defensive back Corey Graham. Burned to the crisp on short slants, cornerbacks were instructed to play head up in certain instances, such as when Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings still got inside leverage on Graham for a three-yard touchdown catch, the first score of the game.

If there was an adjustment that worked, none was obvious.

Had it been closer, Smith and offensive coordinator Ron Turner would have been grilled for trying a deep pass to a blanketed Devin Hester from their 9-yard line with 58 seconds left in the first half. The incompletion spared the Packers from using their final timeout, and Green Bay got the ball back on the Bears' 40 after a 30-yard punt by Brad Maynard.

That led to a 53-yard Mason Crosby field goal that put the Packers ahead 17-3 before things got out of hand. Had the Bears simply run the ball, they could have run off nearly all the time.

''We wanted to take a shot,'' Smith explained. ''One of the passes we thought we'd have something, and it didn't work that way.''

Orton, playing two weeks after injuring his ankle, wasn't 100 percent, and Turner said that affected play-calling to a degree. He was off for the first time this season, completing 13 of 26 passes for 133 yards, with only four caught by wide receivers. Even with Brandon Lloyd back, the Bears didn't have the weapons to attack cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Al Harris.

Rookie running back Matt Forte carried 16 times for 64 yards and added 40 yards on six receptions, and that was it for the offense. You have to wonder how the Bears will respond next time they fall behind by two scores because if they're not dictating the tempo as they did in good wins earlier in the season, it can turn ugly like this.

The defensive line was pushed around, and it's debatable whether this defense can stop the run without selling out against it -- the exact thing Smith denied last week was happening. So many questions, so few answers and so little time before a meeting with the Vikings on Nov. 30 at Minnesota.

''For them to come in and beat us like that, it's tough,'' Hester said. ''It's all on us. We've got to be the ones to put more time in, study film and stuff like that. We felt like we didn't put in enough time, but we'll make sure we're ready next time. Today was embarrassing for us.''

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 17, 2008

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Ray Edwards Name: Ray Edwards
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