When a team starts the season 0-2 there is chance cracks in unity will show. Bobby Wade went from a rookie with a chance to contribute to inactive on game day. However, there was pressure on another of the team's return men.

Defensive coordinator Greg Blache didn't hold back the criticism after the loss to Minnesota.

Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss put the blame for a 202-yard Vikings rushing night squarely on Bears coaches and didn't spare any slams for Bears cornerbacks Jerry Azumah and R.W. McQuarters, either.

The Bears held him to four catches for 27 yards, but Moe Williams had four catches for 50 and nine Vikings caught passes in all.

"Well, I think that they knew what they were doing and I think they had seen last week's performance where Green Bay tried to man me up, and I don't really think they (the Bears) have the type of corners that can play man to man," Moss said. "They stayed in cover-2 (zone) the whole night to try to take me out of my game, and I think we rushed for 200 yards so I think it's really their fault for not trying to stop us from running."

Defensive coordinator Greg Blache took the blame for his team's effort, but tossed around plenty of blame, too.

"We gave up a big pass the first play of the game just because of poor reaction and poor decision making," he said of a 51-yard play-action toss to Kelly Campbell that set up a 1-yard Moe Williams TD run. "I don't think we came off a block. I don't think we made plays when we had an opportunity to make plays. We weren't very detailed in our assignments."

Then again, Blache added, "We're not a very detailed team and that's coaching. That's my fault. The blame is right on my shoulders."

With respect to former Colts coach Jim Mora who said it first:

"Playoffs? Don't talk about playoffs. Are you kidding me? Playoffs?"

Avoiding a second straight loss for the Bears was important from a playoff standpoint, though not as important as in years past.

Since the NFL expanded its playoff field to 12 teams in 1990, only 16 of the 104 teams that started out with 0-2 records went on to make postseason play (15 percent).

In the same time period, 67 of the 104 teams that started a season at 2-0 advanced to postseason play (64 percent).

It seems to be less and less important to start fast in this age of parity, though.

Last year only one of the eight teams that started 2-0 made the playoffs, and in 2001 only three of eight 2-0 teams went on to the playoffs. Last year the Tampa Bay Buccaneers opened with a loss before going on to win the Super Bowl. The previous year, New England started 0-2 before going on to win the Super Bowl.

Rookie Bobby Wade wasn't the only Bears return man who came under scrutiny in Week 1.

Bears kick returner Ahmad Merritt came into Sunday's game on the spot -- although unlike Wade, he had managed to keep his job.

Merritt set a Bears team record last week with nine kick returns, breaking Brian Baschnagel's record of eight in a 1977 47-0 blowout loss to Houston. Merritt had only 170 yards for those nine returns (18.9 ypr).

"There were opportunities there. I thought we missed some opportunities," Coach Dick Jauron said. "And it happens. I'm certainly not putting the blame on anybody. I thought there were some creases that we missed and clearly we missed some blocks too."

Merritt responded to pressure with a 34-yard return on his first effort Sunday. That was 10 yards longer than any of his returns in the opener. Then he broke a 35-yarder his second try.

Defensive coordinator Greg Blache frequently expresses disgust over playing rookies, but used rookie Charles Tillman at nickel back in passing situations in Week 1.

Tillman was benched at times Sunday, though, with safety Bobby Gray moving into the strong safety spot and strong safety Mike Green moving to nickel back. Green played nickel back last year much of the season because of the Bears' lack of an experienced and effective third cornerback.

The Vikings honored former receiver Cris Carter at halftime by retiring his No. 80 and inducting him into the club's ring of fame.

Bear Report Top Stories