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News » Cold truths about a possible hot streak


Cold truths about a possible hot streak


Cold truths about a possible hot streak
If Kyle Orton were doing the Chicago weather forecast Wednesday, he probably would have looked at the Doppler radar, peeked out the window at the wintry mix and predicted sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures.


And there are many Bears fans out there who would have seen whatever Orton saw and left for work without a coat and gloves.

"I feel like we're going to play our best ball from here on out," Orton said. "We have to win out."

Nobody put it on T-shirts, but that was the prevailing theme among Bears players: Win out.

That would require the Bears to win four straight games -- something they haven't done since their Super Bowl run in 2006. They haven't even won three of four since the end of that season.

This season is the only one in franchise history in which the Bears have gone 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 and now 6-6, according to research by ChicagoBears.com.

Yet despite such evidence, Orton and company plan on making December sweeps month in Chicago?

"We haven't played very well, [but] it's just how hard we worked and how much we put it into," Orton said. "It's now or never."

Never looks like the leader in the clubhouse from here.

But not in the Bears' locker room, a more hopeful place than one might expect for a team that has lost three of its last four games. Tuesday's announcement that the NFL had upheld the four-game suspensions of Minnesota defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams turned more than a few frowns upside down.

A Minnesota judge issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday against the NFL that might allow the Williamses to play Sunday, but their availability for the rest of the season remains iffy at best.

Forget about the Bears' glasses being half-full this week. They are overflowing.

"No real reaction, really," coach Lovie Smith said with a straight face.

Maybe there was no reaction anybody wanted to share publicly. But optimism was evident from conversations at Halas Hall.

Three days after losing a game Smith billed as big as any he had coached with the Bears, suddenly bigger moments seemed possible. It was like Smith got out that giant eraser he must keep in his office and wiped away the previous 12 games.

"I don't wish for anyone to miss games for anything, but it might help us out a little bit," safety Kevin Payne said of the suspensions.

Good fortune keeps smiling on the Bears; if only they would stop looking the other way. The Colts opened the season without starting center Jeff Saturday and with Peyton Manning at 70 percent. Then Carolina played without Steve Smith and Tampa Bay without Jeff Garcia. Now this.

Sunday comes another Bears gift in a 2008 season of giving.

A Jaguars team veteran Fred Taylor called the worst he had been on in 11 seasons visits Soldier Field. At 4-8, Jacksonville can compete with San Diego for the title of the NFL's biggest disappointment. After injuries that cost the Jaguars two starting offensive linemen in training camp, "we went into a panic," running back Maurice Jones-Drew said Wednesday.

"We don't have that mix," he added.

One vital ingredient was taken away Wednesday when the Jaguars announced cornerback Rashean Mathis, their leader in interceptions, would miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

For a Bears team looking to revive its passing game, it was another break in a season full of them. But while it's nice for any team to be lucky, it's better to be good.

Are the 6-6 Bears?

Three quarters into this season, we still don't know. Therein might lie the answer. The defense remains spotty and the offense has become sporadic.

As easy as it is to believe how the Bears could get on a roll with their defense and finish 4-0, it would not take much persuasion to see how they also could go 0-4. The familiar orange Cs on their helmets should be followed by question marks.

Half of the Bears' victories have come against three teams that have combined for two wins. In November, the month that supposedly separates playoff contenders from pretenders, they were outscored 71-17 by Green Bay and Minnesota. They are giving up an average of 26 points each home game.

Does that sound like a team ready to finish the season on a 4-0 run?

You can remove the Williams Wall from the NFC North landscape, but the Bears still have cracks in their own foundation that temper any enthusiasm.

dhaugh@tribune.com



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 4, 2008

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