Rivera Still on the Radar

Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera remains a candidate for the head-coaching job with the Rams, but he doesn't admit to having a grasp on whether he'll be coaching in St. Louis or Chicago next year.

"It's football," he said. "It's kind of the nature of the game, the nature of the beast, and we'll find out."

Rivera interviewed with the Packers, but they chose Mike McCarthy.

"They made their decision and they went the direction they had to," Rivera said. "But you appreciate the opportunity that you're given and Green Bay gave me and opportunity and so has St. Louis. If they all go the other way, have the opportunity here in Chicago and it's a tremendous situation for me.

"Everybody in this organization has helped me prepare (for interviews). Just the fact that I got the interviews is a statement about this organization and what this organization has accomplished in two years under coach (Lovie) Smith and (G.M.) Jerry Angelo. It's a tribute that I'm getting these type of opportunities."

While Rivera is considered the top assistant on Smith's staff, his loss might not be as drastic as it would appear, since Smith is heavily involved in the defense. He is the Cover-2 guru, having learned the scheme in Tampa and taught it in St. Louis.

Another positive aspect is that all the defensive starters except strong-side linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer are under contract through nest season, and Hillenmeyer is a restricted free agent who isn't likely to attract much attention.

Too Much Talking
Defensive tackle Tommie Harris said he doesn't regret that some of his teammates talked trash during the week, but he hopes next time they play as well as they talk.

"It's just like coach (Lovie) Smith said, 'There's nothing wrong with talking trash as long as you back it up,' and I don't think we backed it up. That's all it comes down to. Sorry Chicago, sorry to everybody."

As DE Mike Rucker left the field Sunday, he shouted, "We don't talk with our mouths, we talk with our pads!"

The Streak Continues
The Bears were seeking their first playoff victory in 11 years and two months, since a 35-18 victory on New Year's Day 1995 at the Metrodome over the Vikings. The Bears have not won a home playoff game in more than 15 years, since a 16-6 defeat of the Saints on Jan. 6, 1991.

Since the Bears' last playoff victory on the first day of 1995, they had compiled an overall record of 18-9 at home in December and January.

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