Win Helps Mental Health

Although getting to 2-3 puts the Bears in a first place tie in the wacky NFC North race, defensive coordinator Ron Rivera believes it did more for the team psychologically than in the standings.

"It's a tricky thing, how the mind can work when you are deeply involved in football," Rivera said. "The guys and I spent considerable time this past week not only refining our game plan, but talking among ourselves about just how important this game would be for the rest of the season. You never want to find yourself 1-4 in mid October. At least now we still feel that we have a viable opportunity to come out on top eventually."

For the past two years, Rivera's group has been lauded as one of the potential dominant defenses in the league. Once again, his players have also shouldered the added burden of helping to ease rookie quarterback into his starting role.

"I don't mean that we are telling (Kyle) Orton what to do," Rivera said. "It's not like that at all, what I mean is that the players on defense have taken it upon themselves to give Kyle and his guys the optimum field position every single time we are out there. We are trying every play to get the ball back to our offense, we need to get the ball back to our offense to give them a real shot at getting a score."

During the first quarter against the Vikings, it appeared that Rivera's plan had been sidetracked as the Bears only logged 4:58 total time of possession compared to Minnesota's 10:02. But thanks aggressive play by the Bears defense and a lack of special teams execution by Minnesota left the Vikings with only 3 points.

‘We wanted to keep them out of the red zone wherever possible," Rivera said. "And we succeeded. (Paul) Edinger had a blocked FG and (Daunte) Culpepper had no TDs, so that's definitely where we wanted to be by the end of this game."

Rivera credited stepped up play by safeties Charles Tillman and Chris Harris for much of the Bears success against the pass. The Bears secondary had been under scrutiny after giving big plays for touchdowns against the Bengals and the Browns during the past two games.

"Those two guys, Chris and Peanut, have been working so very hard," Rivera said. "It was a challenge for (defensive backs coach) Perry Fewell, and I gave it out early last Monday morning. The big plus is that their hard work is really showing positive results on the field right now."

A noticeably subdued Tillman, who had an interception and seven tackles, was pleased to hear that Rivera praised his play, but requested that the second-guessing by the media to come to an end.

"You know, I don't play for the media, I don't care what the media says about Chris, Nathan (Vasher) or me," Tillman said. "We are playing for our teammates, for our coaches, for the guy in the next locker. You can write whatever you want about us, that we're good or that we're bad and we really don't care. I make it a point not to read any of that stuff because you all really don't know what you're talking about.

"Yes, I did what I had to do. Things went well. But I played well last week, too. I never saw any reports about that."

For Rivera, being able to experience the psychological lift of a win couldn't come at a better time.

"I don't even want to consider where we would have been mentally if things had not gone well today," Rivera said. "We accomplished what we set out to do. This is a win we will build on for next week."

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