Yet their guilt was undeniable and understandable.
"I definitely feel like I could have played better," said Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, who returned after two games away due to a pulled hamstring.
Their feelings stemmed from one number -- 218. That was the Washington Redskins' rushing yardage Sunday.
"They rushed for over 200 yards," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "You can't have that. They were able to keep the ball for a long time early in the first half."
With Urlacher back in the middle, Clinton Portis still chewed up the Bears' run defense for 171 yards on 36 carries. The 218 rushing yards as a team were the most given up by the Bears since they allowed 248 yards to the Miami Dolphins and Ricky Williams Dec. 9, 2002.
In the first half, the Redskins relied on their ground game to achieve a 20:28-9:32 time-of-possession advantage.
For Portis, it was a chance at some redemption. He'd averaged only 3.08 yards per carry since he had a 64-yard run on his first carry as a Redskin. In the meantime, he had lost four fumbles.
Portis had 21 carries by halftime Sunday. "One time we went three-and-out, so I asked coach, "Do you see my tongue hanging out?' He said no, so I told him to run me until my tongue is hanging out," Portis said. "I am going to go out and play the same way all the time. "If I have 400 carries and can produce like I know I can, then at 400 carries and 5 yards a pop, that's a pretty good year." Portis' day included one play when Urlacher grabbed his facemask with both flying full speed up the sideline. Urlacher got a 15-yard penalty. "Obviously I didn't meant to do it," Urlacher said. "I was just trying to grab his jersey." The penalty helped propel the Redskins to a 26-yard fourth-quarter Ola Kimrin field goal for a 13-7 lead. Those points ultimately proved the difference in the game. "I didn't really make any big impact plays," Urlacher said about his own play. "I didn't make any big plays in the backfield, any sacks, picks, fumbles, anything like that.
"So I've got to really step it up."
After allowing 218 yards rushing to a team with virtually no complementary passing attack, the entire Bears defense has to be saying the same thing.