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Bears' defense is ready

January 14, 2007|From the Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, ILL. — Alex Brown smiled and rolled his eyes in disgust. He wasn't worried about possible endorsement deals or the legacy these Chicago Bears will leave behind.

No, the only thing on his mind was the Super Bowl. More immediately, correcting the flaws on defense.

The other stuff can wait.

"What we're doing right now, what every team is shooting for right now, there's nothing bigger than this scenario. Nothing at all," said Brown, a defensive end. "You want to win the Super Bowl, that's it."

First, it's about beating the Seattle Seahawks today. And, it's about rediscovering the form the Bears' defense showed through the first 10 regular-season games.

While fans wonder which version of Rex Grossman will appear -- the guy who plays like a Pro Bowl quarterback or the one who plays catch with opponents -- there's a pressing issue on the other side of the ball: Which defense will show up?

The one that gave up an average of 251.8 yards through the first 10 games? Or the one that gave up 364.7 through the final six?

The one that held the No. 1 defensive ranking? Or the one that dropped to fifth by the end of the regular season?

The ferocious unit that manhandled Seattle, 37-6, at Soldier Field on Oct. 1, or the one that gave up 373 yards in a 26-7 loss to Green Bay in the regular-season finale?

So many questions surround a team that went 13-3 and has the top seeding in the NFC. It would have been difficult to believe that the defense would become one of those questions after the last game against Seattle, when Chicago sacked Matt Hasselbeck five times.

Tommie Harris had two, despite being double-teamed, as did Mark Anderson. Ricky Manning Jr. intercepted two passes and Hasselbeck was only 16 for 35 with 196 yards.

It was a defining win for the Bears, even though the defending NFC champions were missing injured running back Shaun Alexander and tight end Jerramy Stevens.

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