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Bears defense gets wake-up call from Patriots

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Dec. 13, 2010 @ 6:14 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

The last time the Bears suffered a beating like they did on Sunday was back in Week Four, when the Giants knocked Jay Cutler out with a concussion after he was sacked nine times in the first half. The Bears went on to lose 17-3, but at least the defense held up its end of the bargain pretty well that day.

Bears S Chris Harris said the aftermath of the 36-7 loss to the Patriots brought a much different feeling than the loss to the Giants did. Chicago's defense, which was ranked third in the league heading into the game, was gashed for 33 points before halftime.

Despite the setback, defensive players didn't seem to think it would be hard to move past the loss and get ready for Minnesota in Week 15.

"In my opinion, it'll be easy to regroup and prepare for next week," DE Julius Peppers said. "We have a lot of high-character guys on this team. We'll put this game behind us and come back this week with a positive attitude, prepared to work hard."

The PFW Spin

The cover-2 defense has its critics, but Bears players believe in it. They just didn't execute it well enough against a team that is so good at taking advantage of mistakes.

One costly breakdown came at the end of the first half.

The Patriots were already ahead 27-0 and had the game well in hand, but QB Tom Brady didn't just kneel down. He went with a no-huddle with the clock running, took the snap with five seconds to play and threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to WR Deion Branch. CB Charles Tillman didn't do a good job of jamming Branch at the line of scrimmage, which put rookie FS Major Wright in a precarious position. Wright wasn't deep enough in his zone and Brady, not surprisingly, found the void in the cover-2 after looking at TE Rob Gronkowski, who was running a deep route up the seam on the left side while Branch was operating just off the sideline on the same side of the field.

Deep plays like that are not supposed to happen against the cover-2.

"When you go into halftime and you have a deficit like that, you've dug such a deep hole," WLB Lance Briggs said.

It was too much for the Bears to come back from.

The Vikings' offense isn't humming like New England is at the moment, but they have playmakers like Percy Harvin, who scored on a 53-yard TD when he was left uncovered by Chicago in Week 10. Minnesota can break the cover-2 if the Bears don't do a better job of executing it on plays like the TD pass to Branch.

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