Bears try to forget

Even after an off day, the Bears are dealing with the same old question: Can they get past such a humiliating loss in their season opener?

"I don't think we've lost any confidence," cornerback R.W. McQuarters said Wednesday. "It's a long season; it's a marathon -- it was just Week 1. You hate to lose like that, but it happens. It happens around the league. We're not the only team that got blasted, but we're not pointing the finger.

"We've just got to stand by each other's side. We're all in this together."

The 49-7 loss in San Francisco proved the Bears reached an all-time low. It was the team's worst season-opening loss in history and fourth worst loss ever. They managed 127 total yards, gave up 23 points in a matter of 7 minutes and 21 seconds in the second quarter and finished with just 55 yards rushing on 22 carries.

"Without question, when something happens like that you've got to move forward," defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. "We had some adversity, we had some bad things happen to us, but the secret is to handle it the proper way.

"You give it a good Christian burial and move on."

Much of the blame was pointed in Coach Dick Jauron's direction for not having his team ready. But quarterback Kordell Stewart looked more like Henry Burris, throwing for just 95 yards and three interceptions. He averaged just 2.8 yards per pass and had a quarterback rating of 21.9. He was sacked five times, no thanks to a patchwork offensive line, and the Bears managed just eight first downs to the 49ers' 23.

The pressure is on Stewart to rebound quickly. A "must-win" game is one of the oldest cliches in sports, but Chicago must put on a better performance against the Vikings in Minnesota Sunday night. The Vikings are coming off an emotional 30-25 victory over the Packers in Green Bay and riding high on momentum and confidence.

"Certainly one of the fiercest animals out there is a wounded bear," Vikings coach Mike Tice said about Chicago. "I think our guys are smart enough to realize that they can't get overconfident."

The Bears' offensive line problems continue this week. With guard Rex Tucker out for the season, and fellow guard Chris Villarrial out four to six weeks, the Bears will start newly signed and former Viking Corbin Lacina, instead of Josh Warner, at guard.

"I'm an offensive line coach. I feel for (Bears offensive line coach) Bob Wylie and his staff," said Tice, a former tight end. "They have a lot of changes there. Change is not good for an offensive line coach. They have guys in and out of the lineup."

Don't expect Tice to take it easy on the Bears. If he watched any of the 49ers tape, he knows he can take advantage of the team's biggest weakness. Add in the crowd noise at The Metrodome, arguably the loudest in the NFL and the Bears are facing numerous obstacles with audibles with an inexperienced offensive front.

"We went into the season saying we're going to have a lot of young guys and they had to come through for us to be a good football team," Jauron said. "I like them and I believe in them. As I said, I've got to get them better prepared and we've got to play better as a football team."


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