Bears Defense Goes on the Defensive

Dick Jauron wasn't the only coach sweating his way through strategic questions in the Bears' locker room Sunday after the team nearly blew a 15-point lead in a 27-24 victory over Tampa Bay.

Defensive coordinator Greg Blache had to explain how his team had looked so dominant in holding the Bucs scoreless in the third quarter and then so passive in allowing touchdown drives of 10 plays 78 yards first and 12 plays, 77 yards during the fourth quarter.

As usual, Blache's answers came topped with sarcasm. ``Hey, we stink. There ain't no question we stink,'' Blache said. ``We're the stinkiest 7-2 team in the NFL. We stink.''

It wasn't just odor that let the Bucs move downfield, though. The Bears went into softer pass coverages that take away deeper pass routes and routes to main receivers.

``It wasn't a prevent,'' said Blache, bristling at the suggestion the Bears played prevent defense. ``It was our defense. We played our defense, it wasn't prevent. They were throwing the check-down to the back. It was our defense where we try to take away the main receivers.''

Warrick Dunn caught one 13-yarder and a pass for zero yards on the first drive and then passes of 12, 7 and 11 yards on the second drive. When Tampa Bay got the ball back for its last chance at a tie, Dunn caught two dumpoffs for 22 yards and drew the unnecessary roughness penalty to set up the try for the tie by kicker Martin Gramatica.

``They were going to a no-huddle offense, and with that they were throwing a lot of passes underneath,'' said safety Tony Parrish. Asked what the Bears could do to prevent an offense from moving against them in the same way in the future, Parrish added, ``you're asking the wrong person. You better ask someone else (coaches).''

The two fourth quarter TD drives given up by the Bears went along with a season's worst 404 yards passing allowed. Johnson threw for the most yards the Bears have allowed (399) since Jeff Garcia threw for 402 in a 17-0 loss to San Francisco last year.

The 395 net passing yards allowed was their third highest total yielded in team history, but not entirely a problem according to defensive end Phillip Daniels.

``We had to stop (Mike) Alstott. We had to stop the run first,'' Daniels said. ``That's what they wanted to do.''

The Bears held the Bucs to 19 rushing yards on 15 attempts. It was the fewest yards they've allowed on the ground since 1996.

``When they ran a few times they saw that it wasn't going to work, so they went to the air a lot,'' Daniels said. ``That was our whole goal – force them to do what they're not good at.'' The points and not the yards mattered. ``We just had to limit them to field goals,'' Daniels said.

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