Brown finds that extra half step to get there

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. _ Defensive end Alex Brown made a career-high four sacks on Sunday and led a pass rush that hounded Giants quarterback Kurt Warner into seven sacks for 28 yards in losses in a 28-21 Bears victory. <P> He also got something else -- needed contract leverage.

"My teammates flushed him to me and I was able to make plays," Brown said of his sacks.

It wasn't quite that easy, but the end result may be some big leverage at the bargaining table for the third-year defensive end. Brown's agent had been speaking to the Bears about extending his deal beyond this year. They had until Monday at 3 p.m. to get a deal done, which would let the Bears count salary cap money from this year toward Brown's new deal.

"My agent and the Bears weren't able to come up with anything," Brown said. "So we'll talk after (the season) I guess. I totally trust his judgment.

"He does that, I just continue to play. That's my job that's what I do."

After this year, the Bears wouldn't necessarily lose Brown, who now has five sacks on the season. He will be a restricted free agent, and they can still make offers before free agency starts. After that, they can keep him by matching any offers, although those may be some pretty steep offers if he continues to play like during the last two games.

The 49ers game didn't reflect his dominance in the sack column, but he forced quarterback Ken Dorsey into several fast throws in that game.

"I was just a half a second late the past three or four games, but I was able to get there today.

"I got my hands on him last week it was just as he was throwing it. I was glad Kurt was holding onto it and I got the sacks.''

Brown sacked Warner for a 5-yard loss on third-and-13 in the second quarter and on second-and-13 for a 3-yard loss in the second quarter.

Brown's two biggest sacks were in the second half. He got Warner on the Giants' final drive for a 6-yard loss on third-and-14 at the Giants' 30, making any sort of last-second comeback almost impossible following a successful New York onside kick. The biggest might have been on second-and-12 in the third quarter with the Giants poised to either go ahead or draw within 20-17.

Warner tried to throw as Brown hit him from behind, knocking the ball loose and directly to Ian Scott who barreled ahead for a 9-yard return to kill the last serious Giants threat until late in the game.

"What an outstanding game by a Brown," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "He's been close a lot of times.

"Of course, it's good to see him be able to finish it today and get a lot of sacks."

Brown was unhappy with his play against the run early in Sunday's game. He got pulled out of his gap and it helped allow Tiki Barber to escape for a 13-yard touchdown run which didn't count due to a holding penalty.

"That's when I was like, `Alex, you've got stay in your gap, stay in your gap, don't take chances. I figured I was thinking pass and they ran the ball."

Barber was held to 72 yards and the Giants had 91 net rushing yards as a team.

The Tommie Harris, Jerry Azumah and Adewale Ogunleye also had sacks of Warner.

"I think you've got to give an awful lot of credit to the defensive backfield," Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera said. "I think what Vance (Bedford, defensive backs coach) did with that group of guys was really good this week. They allowed (pass rushers) the extra step.

"That was the one thing Alex was missing, the one thing our whole defensive line was missing in pass rush was that extra step. I think sometimes when you talk about sacks, sometimes it's a complete team effort."

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