"I don't know if I'd say comical, but it's definitely been a part of what we've dealt with this year, coming out of nowhere, it's not like a lot of people expected us to be in this position. The Packers were supposed to be in this position, so I guess I can see why, but to me the playoffs, it's pretty hard to say a team should be the underdog in the playoffs. We've played them twice this year, we had two great games. The last time up at their place, went right down until the end."
Smith, on whether his decision to play to win in Week 17, even with nothing at stake for his team, was based on the hope of keeping the Packers out of the playoffs:
"You know, I've been asked that question a few times on whether we were trying to knock Green Bay out, we're not trying to knock anyone out, we're just trying to win a football game as much as anything. Yeah, they're our rival, we want to beat Green Bay every time we get a chance to play them, but as far as that day, we were trying to get better as a team, we knew we had a week off, we wanted to get some work in, and I felt like that's probably why our guys went up there and competed without a lot on the line. But that's what you expect from a group like this, so we got a lot from that game, they beat us that day, but this is the rubber match for us and hopefully we'll have different results this time around."
Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, on whether he would have called the Week 17 game differently had it "meant something":
"I did not do a good job calling the game at all, really. I probably got away from some things. We tried to create some things on first down in the passing game that I thought would be good. We just didn't execute very well, we didn't play very well and certainly didn't coach very well in that game. It was uncharacteristic of who we are. As you go back and look at it, we did some pretty good things in the running game but the passing game, we were really off, really out of sync in all aspects of it. I thought it was disappointing. Of course, when you throw it on first down and don't complete it's second-and-10 like we did — and you're obliged to make it up another way — of course they're going to pressure you. I just did a bad job, really, in that game. You go back and reflect on that and look at how you dealt with some of those things and try and correct that."
"He's really good. Does a great job off the initial contact of spinning and making things happen. If you hold the ball, if you double-clutch it for a second, he's going to get there. There is no real stopping him, he's got a high motor. J'Marcus (Webb) has done fairly well against him but we need him to have a huge game this week."
Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, on the second-half improvement from the offense:
"It's been nice because, obviously, we always harp on the three phases and each phase has been able to lean on one of the other phases throughout this year. The defense has come up – the team has been able to lean on the defense a little more in the first half of the year. The defense has been able to lean on the offense toward the end of the year. We've both been able to lean on the special teams throughout the year. All three phases are going to be important this week."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.