Self-Examination

LANDOVER, Md. - The Bears defense talked about being one of the league's best throughout preseason, but their performance against the Redskins was enough to make them think twice.

Defensive players were absorbing as much blame as possible for Sunday's 9-7 season-opening loss to the Washington Redskins.

"Two reasons why we lost the game,'' safety Mike Brown said. "We couldn't stop the run and we couldn't get off the field on third down.''

The Bears' defense had talked a lot about dominating and leading the league in several categories this year. They gave up 323 net yards 18 first downs and 6-of-16 third-down conversions (38 percent).

"It's extremely disappointing,'' Brown said. "All that talking we were doing, and we didn't back it up. It's disappointing. I thought we let our team down today and hopefully it won't happen again.

"I don't know what to tell you (media). I'm a little upset.''

Linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer said today's film session at Halas Hall will be educational because defensive player figured there was no way running back Clinton Portis could hurt them again when they used eight men near the line of scrimmage.

Instead, he broke 100 yards for the third straight time against the Bears, gaining 121 on 21carries.

"We'll be anxious to see the film because an eight-man front all preseason meant no gain or a tackle for loss,'' Hillenmeyer said. "They were getting us for three (yards), four, then they'd pop a big one. That's not what we're used to doing. We've got to take a look and see what we did wrong.

"We played five preseason games pretty uniformly. Without question we stopped the run if we were in an eight-man box. This was the first game where we were putting a bunch of people up and they were still managing to get a few on us. I don't know if it was missed tackles or getting out of our gaps, but it's not something that we're used to happening.''

The Bears' defense had no three-and-outs in the game. They did take the ball away after one play once and forced a punt after four plays once. But the Redskins had six drives of six plays or more.

And the Redskins' biggest drive was a 15-play march to the winning field goal in the third quarter after the offense had forced a 7-6 lead. The Redskins converted one third down and one fourth down on that drive.

"I wasn't tired,'' Urlacher said. "I don't think our defense got tired.

"They had some short passes there, they had a couple third-and-shorts they converted. They have a good run game. They have a good scheme. We've just got to stay in our gaps and we didn't do that.''


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