Bears hold Plummer in check

The Bears defense had watched the film, and they went into yesterday's contest knowing his tendencies. Gene Chamberlin brings you the inside scoop on how the Bears game-planned for Plummer and shut down on of the Broncos' most dangerous weapons...

DENVER _ The Bears' defense denied the Denver Broncos their boots on Sunday.

Denied the ability to run bootleg passes in the open field, the Broncos' quarterback looked more like Jake the plumber than Jake Plummer. It helped result in the Bears' best defensive effort of the year in a 19-10 victory.

"That was good," Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. "We knew coming in that they would run a lot of boots.

"We started trying to bring some things off the edge to try and keep him in the pocket. But the guys up front did a good job of getting after him and just trying to keep him in at bay, so to speak."

When Plummer wasn't being harassed into incompletions by the Bears' front line, he was getting the ball knocked back down his throat by Bears linemen. Alex Brown, Keith Traylor and Phillip Daniels each had a knockdown. Plummer wound up getting sacked twice and throwing 16 incomplete passes in 35 attempts. His 176 yards was his lowest in a complete game since the opener.

"I don't know how many we batted down today, but our team is pretty good at batting down balls," defensive tackle Bryan Robinson said. "That's one of the things that we do in practice and our quarterbacks hate it. But I tell (Chris) Chandler and Kordell (Stewart) that if we don't do it in practice we wont do it in the game."

The Bears' defense came in with their normal goal of stopping the run first. But they gave up 200 rushing yards on 21 carries to Clinton Portis and the Broncos, their second-worst effort of the year.

"We're going to bend a little bit, but it's important that we don't break and tear ourselves down," Robinson said. "We really wanted to come in here and stop a pretty powerful offense and running game. We didn't get that done in the running game, but we felt like we kept Jake Plummer in check. He didn't dash and boot on us like he wanted to do."

The Bears' secondary, which held the Broncos to 4-of-12 (33 percent) on third down conversions, capped off the complete defensive effort with two plays to save touchdowns and a few to prevent them.

Even if they did give up rushing yardage, it proved largely inconsequential.

Mike Brown made a touchdown-saving tackle on a 49-yard Clinton Portis run early in the third quarter and the Bears eventually held the Broncos to a 49-yard Jason Elam field goal. In the second quarter Portis broke off a 59-yard run but R.W. McQuarters slowed him and turned him toward Charles Tillman for the stop. The Broncos' Elam then missed a 40-yard field goal after that.

"Those two plays they had more than 100 yards rushing and only had three points to show for it," coach Dick Jauron said.

The secondary had been delivering big hits with physical play all game and delivered the knockout blow in the fourth quarter -- literally.

Bobby Gray, starting for injured Mike Green, delivered a jolting open-field hit to Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe on a third-and-five pass of 28 yards. Sharpe had to leave the game and when that drive ended in a botched field goal try, the Bears had essentially won.

"Actually, it makes me feel good to do that to anybody, but the Broncos, they're really good this year," Gray said. "This kind of lets us know that we're capable of making big plays against whoever."

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