On the Mend

Lake Forest - The Bears were missing five starters in their victory over Atlanta, but the team could get at least one starter back this week against Green Bay.

Sunday night - strong safety Mike Brown (calf), free safety Chris Harris (knee), strongside linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer (thumb), right guard Terrence Metcalf (chest) and fullback Bryan Johnson (back) - in addition to Todd Johnson (hip), their top backup at safety were all inactive.

Mike Green started for Brown, rookie Brandon McGowan for Harris, Leon Joe for Hillenmeyer, Roberto Garza for Metcalf and Jason McKie for Bryan Johnson. It was the first NFL start for Joe and McGowan. It ended a streak of 42 straight games played for Hillenmeyer.

"Going in, we had quite a few injuries, and we had a lot of starters that didn't suit up," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "We had a lot of guys really step up and play big. Mike Green (interception, two passes defended) really played well, Brandon McGowan stepped up big, and Leon Joe made play after play."

Smith said there is a chance that Brown could return to the field at Green Bay. It's the scene where he suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in Week 2 of last year.

Give Them a Break
The Bears' defense liked the fact the offense converted three third-downs and extended three drives to six plays or more in the second half under Rex Grossman, as opposed to the first half when the offense went three-and-out the first four possessions under Kyle Orton.

"The offense picking up first downs like that gives us a chance to catch our breath," Brian Urlacher said. "It was just a fun game."

Streak Breaker Adewale Ogunleye's second-quarter sack of Michael Vick gave him 10 for the year.

It's the first time since 1993 (Richard Dent 13.5) a Bears defensive end had a double-figure total for sacks and the first time since 1995 (Jim Flanigan, 11.0) any Bears defensive lineman has had double-figure sacks.

"It is, it is a big accomplishment," Ogunleye said. "Richard Dent has made life miserable for defensive ends here in Chicago (with all his sacks). To get this 10th sack, it's really big. But more importantly, this 10th win is huge for us."

Popular Bunch The fan votes are in for the Pro Bowl and the Bears have three players as the top vote getters at their position: MLB Brian Urlacher, C Olin Kreutz and special teamer Brendon Ayanbadejo. The fan voting counts for one-third of the total process. The Pro Bowl team will be announced on Wednesday.

"We have some good players, I'll just say that," Smith said after mentioning 10 different players on the roster he thought deserved Pro Bowl recognition.

Playoff Scenarios The Bears can clinch the NFC North with a win or tie or if Minnesota loses or ties Baltimore. The Bears can clinch first-round bye with a win and losses by the New York Giants and Carolina. The Bears can clinch playoff berth with a Washington loss or tie. A Tampa Bay loss would also clinch a spot in the postseason for Chicago.

Bear Report Top Stories