Taking it Up a Notch

While most called the win over Carolina a coming out party for the Bears, to go on the road against a good Tampa team and come away with a victory is also a defining moment.

"We are getting better every week," said MLB Brian Urlacher. "This was a big game for us. They are one of the best teams in the NFC. We came into their house and got a big win."

Although Urlacher admitted it wasn't the best performance by the league's top defense, it was good enough for the team's seventh straight win.

A missed field goal by Tampa's Matt Bryant kept the Buccaneers from tying the game at 13 with less than three minutes left in the game. Strangely enough, the Bears would own the top spot in the NFC if New York Giants placekicker Jay Feely could have converted any one of three attempts at a game winning field goal against the Seahawks. Seattle eventually won the game in overtime on a Josh Brown kick.

The Bears enter Week 13 one game behind Seattle for the best record in the conference. Even though the Panthers are also 8-3, by virtue of their victory over Carolina the Bears own the tiebreaker.

Not only are the Bears on their longest winning streak since 1986, but they've also won three straight games on the road for the first time since 2001.

"The best thing about it is that no one gives us a chance each week. I love it," Urlacher said. "We like playing the role of the underdog. We keep doing that and keep winning, and proving people wrong."

The offense has only scored 20 points twice during the streak. Conversely the defense has given up an average of 8.8 points per game over that span. The average margin of victory has been 8.4 points per game, which includes a 25-point blowout of the Vikings to start the streak.

Head coach Lovie Smith was asked during his post game press conference how far the defense could take the team.

"Hopefully it can carry us all the way," Smith said. "If you do not let a team score you have a heck of a chance of winning. I know that is simple but that is how it is. We play good defense, we run the football, and try not to make too many mistakes. That is our formula for success."

The impressive part of the way the Bears are winning games is the number of different players stepping up. For three straight weeks a member of the team has won Player of the Week honors. Robbie Gould took the special teams award for a game-winning field goal against the Saints. Over the past two weeks, Nathan Vasher took the special teams honor followed by the defensive award.

There's a good chance that Alex Brown will be recognized for his performance against Tampa Bay that included two sacks, one forced fumble and four batted balls.

"I think we epitomize what the word "team" is all about," said WR Muhsin Muhammad. "This is a team sport. This is the ultimate team sport. It's not one individual, it's not one all-star, it's not just one guy that makes a team. It's the whole team. We are playing good team ball right now."

Despite their rise to success, the Bears aren't taking anything for granted. Even with 2-9 Green Bay coming to Chicago, the Bears know that their rival will get up for the game. The Packers have already clinched their first losing season with Brett Favre at their quarterback, but he has a 21-5 lifetime record against the Bears.

"It is a great experience to win seven in a row," said RB Thomas Jones. "It is an accomplishment in any professional sport. It is so hard to win on Sunday. Any team can beat you. [You] need to come out focused every Sunday and consistently play well and get a win."

The story will be no different against the Packers.

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