Berrian shows he still has Seahawks' number

By Larry Mayer
chicagobears.com
We showed a little life! in offense, but we need to step it up, the only we can salvage the season it win out, if that what we go to do, then lets do it!

SEATTLE – Wide receiver Bernard Berrian enjoyed
another productive outing against the Seahawks, catching a team-leading
nine passes for 102 yards Sunday in the Bears’ 30-23 loss at Qwest
Field.

Three of Berrian’s four career 100-yard games have now come against
Seattle, including his two most prolific days as a pro. Last season,
he caught three passes for 108 yards including a 40-yard TD in a 37-6
regular-season win and five passes for 105 yards highlighted by a
68-yard TD in a 27-24 playoff victory.

Bernard Berrian registered the Bears’ first 100-yard receiving game of the season Sunday in Seattle.

Berrian’s 191 receiving yards in the last two weeks are fifth most in
the NFL, trailing only Dallas’ Terrell Owens (298), New Orleans’
Marques Colston (247), Seattle’s D.J. Hackett (237) and Indianapolis’
Reggie Wayne (215).

In four and a half games with Rex Grossman at quarterback, Berrian
has caught 28 passes for 401 yards and 1 TD. In five and a half games
with Brian Griese, the fourth-year pro has 23 receptions for 308 yards
and 1 TD.

With 709 receiving yards in 10 games, Berrian is on pace to finish
with 1,134 yards this season, which would be the fifth most in Bears
history.

In the bag: All five Seattle’s sacks came in the second half, including one on each of the Bears’ final four drives.

“They had some pretty good blitz schemes,” Grossman said. “We picked
up most of them, but they do a good job of looping guys around. A
couple times I held the ball a little bit to try to make the play.
That’s kind of what you have to do to push the ball down the field, and
they got to me.”

Excellent effort: Muhsin Muhammad made a
spectacular diving 22-yard catch on second-and-17 from the Chicago 13.
Berrian followed with a one-handed 23-yard grab over the middle on the
next play to the Seattle 42.

“They had a great game,” Grossman said of the Bears’ starting
receivers, who combined to catch 12 passes for 173 yards. “There are a
lot of guys who had great games on our team. We just didn’t get it
done.”

Costly mistake: The third play in that sequence
wasn’t quite as successful as the first two. Drifting to his left,
Grossman was looking downfield when he was sacked by defensive end
Patrick Kerney, who forced a fumble that the Seahawks recovered with
5:43 left in the game.

“We had a shot to go deep on that play,” Grossman said. “They got
out of there and did a good job covering it. I saw a crease and I was
trying to run into it and either throw the ball to Adrian Peterson or
run it. There was a defender in between us. At that point, a guy from
the backside came in. It was a big play in the game.”

Orton moves up: Still recovering from a sprained
left shoulder he had sustained a week earlier against the Raiders,
Griese was named the emergency third quarterback Sunday with Kyle Orton
serving as Grossman’s backup.

“Brian wasn’t able to practice much during the week,” said offensive
coordinator Ron Turner. “He didn’t practice at all on Wednesday and
came out Thursday and tried to do a little bit. It was bothering him,
so he couldn’t throw too much. He didn’t practice Wednesday and
Thursday really, so because of that, we went with Kyle.”

Briefly: Rashied Davis’ 36-yard catch on the Bears’
final drive was his first reception since a 3-yarder Oct. 21 in
Philadelphia. … Rookie tight end Greg Olsen established a career high
with seven catches (for 43 yards). After being blanked a week earlier
in Oakland, the first-round pick caught a 7-yard pass on the Bears’
first play from scrimmage. … Former Bears kicker Jeff Jaeger, who lives
in the Seattle area, attended Sunday’s game. … Adam Archuleta
registered one of the Bears’ two sacks. He now has two this season and
18 in his career and is the only safety in the NFL with at least one
full sack every year since 2001.

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Berrian shows he still has Seahawks’ number

By Larry Mayer
chicagobears.com
We showed a little life! in offense, but we need to step it up, the only we can salvage the season it win out, if that what we go to do, then lets do it!

SEATTLE – Wide receiver Bernard Berrian enjoyed
another productive outing against the Seahawks, catching a team-leading
nine passes for 102 yards Sunday in the Bears’ 30-23 loss at Qwest
Field.

Three of Berrian’s four career 100-yard games have now come against
Seattle, including his two most prolific days as a pro. Last season,
he caught three passes for 108 yards including a 40-yard TD in a 37-6
regular-season win and five passes for 105 yards highlighted by a
68-yard TD in a 27-24 playoff victory.

Bernard Berrian registered the Bears’ first 100-yard receiving game of the season Sunday in Seattle.

Berrian’s 191 receiving yards in the last two weeks are fifth most in
the NFL, trailing only Dallas’ Terrell Owens (298), New Orleans’
Marques Colston (247), Seattle’s D.J. Hackett (237) and Indianapolis’
Reggie Wayne (215).

In four and a half games with Rex Grossman at quarterback, Berrian
has caught 28 passes for 401 yards and 1 TD. In five and a half games
with Brian Griese, the fourth-year pro has 23 receptions for 308 yards
and 1 TD.

With 709 receiving yards in 10 games, Berrian is on pace to finish
with 1,134 yards this season, which would be the fifth most in Bears
history.

In the bag: All five Seattle’s sacks came in the second half, including one on each of the Bears’ final four drives.

“They had some pretty good blitz schemes,” Grossman said. “We picked
up most of them, but they do a good job of looping guys around. A
couple times I held the ball a little bit to try to make the play.
That’s kind of what you have to do to push the ball down the field, and
they got to me.”

Excellent effort: Muhsin Muhammad made a
spectacular diving 22-yard catch on second-and-17 from the Chicago 13.
Berrian followed with a one-handed 23-yard grab over the middle on the
next play to the Seattle 42.

“They had a great game,” Grossman said of the Bears’ starting
receivers, who combined to catch 12 passes for 173 yards. “There are a
lot of guys who had great games on our team. We just didn’t get it
done.”

Costly mistake: The third play in that sequence
wasn’t quite as successful as the first two. Drifting to his left,
Grossman was looking downfield when he was sacked by defensive end
Patrick Kerney, who forced a fumble that the Seahawks recovered with
5:43 left in the game.

“We had a shot to go deep on that play,” Grossman said. “They got
out of there and did a good job covering it. I saw a crease and I was
trying to run into it and either throw the ball to Adrian Peterson or
run it. There was a defender in between us. At that point, a guy from
the backside came in. It was a big play in the game.”

Orton moves up: Still recovering from a sprained
left shoulder he had sustained a week earlier against the Raiders,
Griese was named the emergency third quarterback Sunday with Kyle Orton
serving as Grossman’s backup.

“Brian wasn’t able to practice much during the week,” said offensive
coordinator Ron Turner. “He didn’t practice at all on Wednesday and
came out Thursday and tried to do a little bit. It was bothering him,
so he couldn’t throw too much. He didn’t practice Wednesday and
Thursday really, so because of that, we went with Kyle.”

Briefly: Rashied Davis’ 36-yard catch on the Bears’
final drive was his first reception since a 3-yarder Oct. 21 in
Philadelphia. … Rookie tight end Greg Olsen established a career high
with seven catches (for 43 yards). After being blanked a week earlier
in Oakland, the first-round pick caught a 7-yard pass on the Bears’
first play from scrimmage. … Former Bears kicker Jeff Jaeger, who lives
in the Seattle area, attended Sunday’s game. … Adam Archuleta
registered one of the Bears’ two sacks. He now has two this season and
18 in his career and is the only safety in the NFL with at least one
full sack every year since 2001.

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Bears defense, special teams main culprits in loss

By Larry Mayer
chicagobears.com
yep another dismal week for the Bears, I believe that all 3 phases of the Bears played bad this week, for one thing they scored on us, could not stop the run and of course our dismal offense….come on Lovie, play Kyle Orton get him ready for next season, he’s the best chance we have! look at Tony Romo, he came off the bench and now he’s a hero here in Dallas!

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Much of the credit for the Bears’ success in
recent years went to the defense and special teams. But those two
phases deserve most of the blame for Sunday’s 30-23 loss in Seattle.

Chicago’s defense yielded 425 total yards and allowed the Seahawks
to score on six of their first 12 possessions, while the special teams
committed three costly mistakes that led to 17 points.

The
Bears generated little pressure on Matt Hasselbeck after Darwin Walker
sacked the quarterback on the first play of the second quarter.

“We did enough offensively to keep us in the game and give us a chance
to win,” coach Lovie Smith said Monday. “Defensively, we did not.
Special teams-wise, we didn’t play well either.”

The Bears mixed up their coverage but couldn’t stop Matt Hasselbeck,
who completed 30 of 44 passes for 337 yards with 2 TDs, no
interceptions and a 106.0 passer rating.

Throwing quick passes and using his mobility to keep plays alive,
Hasselbeck rallied the Seahawks from a 10-0 first-quarter deficit,
ultimately giving Seattle a 24-17 lead it would never relinquish with a
4-yard TD pass to Nate Burleson on the opening possession of the second
half.

“When you have a lead early we normally are able to hold on to that
lead,” Smith said. “They hit some big pass plays. You’ve got to give a
lot of credit to Seattle. They played well, especially in the passing
game. They have an All-Pro-type quarterback and he played that way.

“Their receivers caught the ball well. We tried to pressure him, we
tried to play coverage against him; all the different things to try to
get a quarterback out of his rhythm a little bit. But we weren’t able
to do that.”

After registering their second and final sack of the game on the
first play of the second quarter, the Bears hardly touched Hasselbeck
on his final 29 pass attempts.

“We were getting [after] the quarterback pretty good, I believe, in
the first half on a couple of plays,” said defensive end Alex Brown.
“But then they started throwing it short, taking short drop-backs and
we weren’t able to get our hands on the ball as a defensive line. We’ve
got to help the DBs out there. We just didn’t make plays when we needed
to. We were coming close, but we weren’t getting them.”

Both of the Bears’ starting cornerbacks got beat for big plays. On
back-to-back snaps late in the first quarter, Charles Tillman yielded
an 11-yard reception to Deion Branch on third-and-four and a 19-yard TD
catch to D.J. Hackett, enabling the Seahawks to close the gap to 10-7.

Then one play after Robbie Gould’s 47-yard field goal had drawn the
Bears to within 24-20 early in the fourth quarter, rookie Trumaine
McBride gambled and lost, jumping a route to try for an interception
but instead surrendering a 59-yard completion to Hackett that set up a
field goal.

Asked how tough it was to watch tape of the game Monday, Tillman
said: “It was hard. It was frustrating, just to know that we were close
to making plays and we just didn’t make them.”

The Bears mustered just one takeaway against the Seahawks, with
Adewale Ogunleye causing a Hasselbeck fumble that Brian Urlacher
recovered. Chicago has forced just 17 turnovers this season after
leading the NFL with 44 in 2006.

“Takeaways are a big part of our philosophy and we were unable to
get more than one, and that’s disappointing,” said defensive
coordinator Bob Babich.

After ranking second in the NFL with 24 interceptions last season,
the Bears are tied with the Eagles and 49ers for last in the league
with just six this year. That puts Chicago in jeopardy of eclipsing its
team record for fewest interceptions in a season set in 2002 with nine.

“It is shocking considering how many interceptions we had last
year,” said Tillman, who hasn’t picked off a pass this year after
registering five interceptions in each of the two previous seasons.
“It’s shocking. It’s frustrating. It’s all that bottled up.”

The Bears weren’t much better on special teams, committing a trio of costly miscues.

Rod Wilson’s 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for a hit well
out of bounds on a punt return enabled the Seahawks to start a
possession at the Chicago 32. Four plays later, Maurice Morris’ 19-yard
TD run gave Seattle a 14-10 lead with 6:31 left in the second quarter.

After the Bears retook a 17-14 lead on Adrian Peterson’s 5-yard TD
run with 1:16 remaining in the half, Robbie Gould booted the ensuing
kickoff out of bounds. Taking over at its own 40, Seattle picked up 38
yards in under a minute and tied the game 17-17 on Josh Brown’s 40-yard
field goal with :17 left in the half.

Nate Burleson then returned the second half kickoff 44 yards to the Chicago 49, setting up Seattle’s go-ahead score.

“We [permitted] three big plays that gave them good [field] position
and put our defense in a bind a little bit,” Smith said. “We played
well in one phase of the game and in the two other phases, special
teams and defense, we didn’t play well enough.”

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Week 11 Score

Some great scores here!! New England. Picked the wrong team, I really thought Buffalo had something for them. But like I always said they are still cheating in my book..

Week 11:

Sunday, Nov. 18

» Tampa Bay 31, Atlanta 7

» Cleveland 33, Baltimore 30 (OT)

» N.Y. Giants 16, Detroit 10

» Philadelphia 17, Miami 7

» Minnesota 29, Oakland 22

» Jacksonville 24, San Diego 17

» Arizona 35, Cincinnati 27

» Green Bay 31, Carolina 17

» Houston 23, New Orleans 10

» Indianapolis 13, Kansas City 10

» N.Y. Jets 19, Pittsburgh 16 (OT)

» Seattle 30, Chicago 23

» St. Louis 13, San Francisco 9

» Dallas 28, Washington 23

» New England 56, Buffalo 10

Monday, Nov. 19

» Tennessee at Denver, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

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Bears fall in shootout to Seahawks

By Larry Mayer.
chicagobears.com
We are never going to catch a break!!! how in the world can we win a championship! without a good quarterback…I’m telling, the Bears need to look at the future and start Orton….that’s the only way the Bears are going to salvage a season….look at the post game interview with Rex Grossman, he looked confused didnt know what was going on…come on Lovie, think about the future, instead of game to game….you have the Game to Game covered…lets get this QB issue over with! please.

SEATTLE – Needing a win to reach the .500 mark and remain in playoff
contention, the Bears scored early but ultimately couldn’t keep up with
the Seahawks in a shootout Sunday in Seattle.

Chicago scored on its first two possessions to build a 10-0 lead, but
Seattle rebounded to notch a 30-23 victory that dropped the Bears to
4-6, seriously damaging their postseason hopes.

Cedric
Benson got the Bears started off on the right foot with a career-long
43-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game.

“When you come out with a 10-point lead on the road, it’s definitely a
good start,” said coach Lovie Smith. “We felt like we needed to get off
to a good start to try to get the fans out of it and all that, but
weren’t able to hold the lead. We made some critical mistakes.”

“It’s a tough loss,” said quarterback Rex Grossman. “We got an early
lead on them and made a lot of good plays, but we didn’t score enough
points in the second half. That’s what it came down to. For whatever
reason, we didn’t finish our drives in the second half and that came
back to bite us.”

Grossman’s return to the starting lineup was the storyline coming into
the game, and he put up good numbers on the day, but it was Seattle
quarterback Matt Hasselbeck that stole the show. Hasselbeck completed
30-of-44 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns.

Grossman finished the day 24-of-37 for 266 yards and no touchdowns or
interceptions. Grossman, however, did lose a fourth quarter fumble that
was recovered by Seattle. The Bears were trailing by seven at the time,
and driving in Seattle territory, when Grossman was flushed from the
pocket and stripped from behind by defensive end Patrick Kerney.
Seattle’s Daryl Tapp fell on it, and the Seahawks were able to convert
the turnover into a field goal that all but put the game away.

Cedric Benson’s career-long 43-yard touchdown run on the game’s second
play from scrimmage gave the Bears a 7-0 lead with 14:05 left in the
first quarter. Benson took an inside handoff and bounced outside to his
right to score the first first-quarter touchdown of the season by the
Bears offense.

The score came after Garrett Wolfe returned an opening pooch kickoff 27
yards to the 50 and Grossman completed a 7-yard pass to tight end Greg
Olsen on the Bears’ first play.

After Josh Brown missed a 44-yard field goal wide left on Seattle’s
first possession, Robbie Gould’s 31-yard field goal gave the Bears a
10-0 lead with 8:51 remaining in the first quarter.

The kick capped a six-play, 53-yard drive that was highlighted by
Grossman’s 16-yard pass to Bernard Berrian and Benson’s 20-yard gain on
his second carry of the game.

The Seahawks responded, marching 76 yards on 10 plays capped by
Hasselbeck’s 19-yard TD pass to D.J. Hackett to close the deficit to
10-7 with 3:45 left in the opening period.

Bears cornerback Charles Tillman got beat on the final two plays of the
drive, allowing an 11-yard completion to Deion Branch on a quick slant
on third-and-four one snap before the TD.

Maurice Morris’ 19-yard TD run gave the Seahawks a 14-10 lead with 6:31
remaining in the second quarter. The score came after Seattle had taken
over at the Chicago 32 following a 15-yard penalty on Rod Wilson for a
late hit out of bounds on Nate Burleson’s 10-yard punt return.

The Bears responded in impressive fashion, driving 60 yards on 10 plays
to take a 17-14 lead on Adrian Peterson’s 5-yard TD run with 1:16 left
in the first half. Grossman completed 6 of 6 passes for 49 yards on the
possession.

Taking over at its own 40 when Gould’s ensuing kickoff went out of
bounds, Seattle tied the game 17-17 on Brown’s 40-yard field goal with
:17 remaining in the half. One play before the kick, Hackett dropped a
sure touchdown pass in the end zone.

Burleson returned the second half kickoff 44 yards to the Chicago 49,
then capped Seattle’s 51-yard drive with a 4-yard TD reception from
Hasselbeck to give the Seahawks a 24-17 lead.

The Bears then forced the game’s first turnover when Brian Urlacher
tackled Hasselbeck on a 1-yard run, causing a fumble that Alex Brown
recovered at the Seattle 39.

The Bears seemingly had picked up a first down when Grossman hit
Berrian for a 7-yard gain to the Seattle 24 on third-and-seven. But the
Seahawks challenged the spot and the ball was moved back one yard after
a replay review. Benson was then stopped for no gain on fourth-and-one.

“When they fumbled, we had an opportunity to score some points and we
went four and out,” Grossman said. “That was another pivotal series in
the game that we all wish we had back.”

Gould’s 47-yard field goal drew the Bears to within 24-20 with 14:15
left in the fourth quarter. The 10-play, 57-yard drive was highlighted
by Grossman’s 41-yard completion to Muhammad.

On Seattle’s next play, Hackett beat rookie cornerback Trumaine McBride
for a 59-yard reception to the Chicago 14. Brown’s 23-yard field goal
then widened the margin to 27-20.

With the Bears at their own 13, Muhammad made a spectacular diving
catch for a 22-yard reception and Grossman connected with Berrian for
23 yards. But Kerney then stripped Grossman on a sack and Tapp
recovered.

Good start: Benson’s 43-yard scoring run on the game’s second play from
scrimmage was the first opening drive TD by the Bears offense since
last Dec. 17 when Grossman and Desmond Clark connected on a 24-yard
pass in a 34-31 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Before tallying a TD and field goal on their first two possessions
Sunday, the Bears offense had generated just three first-quarter points
this season, with 20 possessions resulting in 16 punts, two missed
field goals, one lost fumble and one field goal.

Big gains: Benson gained 43 and 20 yards on his first two carries
Sunday. He had entered the game as the only individual among the NFL’s
top 50 rushers without a run of at least 17 yards.

Benson’s 43-yard TD was the longest run by a Bears player since Thomas
Jones’ 52-yard gallop Sept. 19, 2004 at Green Bay and the longest
scoring run since Anthony Thomas’ 67-yard dash Sept. 29, 2003 against
the Packers in the first game at the new Soldier Field.

Roster notes: Cornerback Nate Vasher missed his seventh straight game
with a groin injury. Other Bears inactives were receivers Mark Bradley
and Mike Hass, fullback Lousaka Polite, safety Josh Gattis, linebacker
Darrell McClover, guard/center Josh Beekman.

Check ChicagoBears.com later for more game coverage.

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Packers Aren't Looking Ahead — Here's Why

by Mike Spofford, Packers.com
posted 11/16/2007
packers.com
It’s been all over in the media this week, how this Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers is a classic “trap” game.

The Packers have won four straight since their only loss this
season and are coming off their most complete, dominant performance of
2007 to improve to 8-1. The Panthers have lost three straight to fall
to 4-5 and have all sorts of injury problems at quarterback.

The Packers have a huge two-game road trip looming, beginning with
a Thanksgiving visit to Detroit – the second-place team in the NFC
North – followed by another Thursday tilt in Dallas – with whom the
Packers are tied for the best record in the NFC.

So the circumstances clearly exist for the Packers to get caught
looking ahead and not focusing on the team they have to face this
Sunday at Lambeau Field.

But Head Coach Mike McCarthy
and the players are determined to not let that happen. They’ve been
saying so all week, and their very awareness of the pitfalls makes a
letdown all the less likely.

So to reinforce the players’ comments this week regarding their
focus on the task at hand, here’s a list of thoughts to ponder. As the
Packers aim for there ninth win, call it the nine reasons they
shouldn’t, and won’t, overlook their Week 11 opponent.

1. Carolina’s road record: The Panthers have struggled in
Charlotte, going 0-4, but they’re 4-1 on the road this year, the best
road mark in the NFC behind Dallas (5-0) and Green Bay (4-0), and 14-6
on the road over the last three seasons. One of their road wins this
season was a 16-13 nailbiter in the New Orleans Superdome, just before
the Saints ripped off four straight victories.

2. Steve Smith: The diminutive (5-foot-9) but dynamite
playmaker has 45 receptions for 590 yards and six touchdowns this
season catching passes from a carousel of quarterbacks. He’s
questionable on the injury report this week with a sore shin, but if
he’s able to play and get into any kind of rhythm, he can be downright
scary. And don’t think a little chilly weather will affect the Southern
California native. Back in January of 2006, he torched the Chicago
Bears for 218 yards on 12 receptions, including touchdowns of 58 and 39
yards, in an NFC playoff upset at Soldier Field.

3. Too close for comfort: Last Sunday’s 34-0 blanking of
division rival Minnesota was impressive, but that type of victory has
been the exception rather than the rule for the Packers this season.
The wins over the Eagles, Chargers, Vikings (the first time), Redskins,
Broncos and Chiefs all came down to the final two minutes, and every
single one could have gone the other way. The Packers have shown when
they don’t play their best football, victories are far from a sure
thing.

4. Crazy like a Fox: Carolina head coach John Fox knows
McCarthy as well if not better than any opponent the Packers will face
this season. A defensive coach by trade, Fox went head-to-head with
McCarthy seven times while McCarthy was the offensive coordinator of
the New Orleans Saints (2000-04) – once as defensive coordinator of the
New York Giants in 2001 and six times as head coach of the Panthers in
twice-yearly NFC South matchups from 2002 to 2004. Fox was 5-2 in those
seven matchups.
5. Must keep pace: If the race in the NFC ultimately whittles
down to two teams, the Packers and Cowboys, the showdown in two weeks
won’t mean much if the Packers can’t keep pace. The Nov. 29 game in
Dallas will be the Cowboys’ third straight at home, so the schedule
sets up nicely for them. The Cowboys’ two home games prior to Green
Bay’s visit are against NFC East rival Washington and on Thanksgiving
against the 1-8 New York Jets.

As far as the NFC North goes, the Packers can guarantee themselves
at least at two-game advantage heading into the Thanksgiving showdown
in Detroit by winning on Sunday. A loss to the Panthers coupled with a
Lions win over the Giants, and suddenly Detroit could tie Green Bay
(and technically take over first based on the head-to-head tiebreaker)
by beating the Packers on Turkey Day.

6. Julius Peppers: The Panthers’ star defensive end has gone
to the Pro Bowl each of the last three years, compiling 34 1/2 sacks
and eight forced fumbles in that time. This year, he has just 1 1/2
sacks through nine games, and he’s been answering questions all week
about why he isn’t playing as well and whether or not he’s fully
healthy. Sometimes that’s all the motivation a previously dominant
player needs to return to form.

7. Hanging with the big boys: The final score was 31-7, but
the Panthers were must closer than that to throwing a scare into the
then-unbeaten Indianapolis Colts three weeks ago. Carolina started that
game with an 18-play drive that took 11 minutes, 1 second off the
clock, scoring a touchdown for a 7-0 lead. The Panthers then held the
Colts to a three-and-out on their first possession, but a muffed punt
and an interception in the end zone later in the first half prevented
them from extending the lead. Then, down 10-7 at the half, Carolina
lost quarterback Vinny Testaverde to an Achilles injury, and a
banged-up David Carr was forced to finish. The game got out of hand
late, but Carolina won’t be intimidated coming in to face the
once-beaten Packers.

8. Wounded and dangerous: The Panthers have lost three
straight and have some injury issues, but a wounded team can be a
dangerous one, just like the Chicago Bears were back in Week 5, coming
into Lambeau and rallying from a 17-7 halftime deficit to beat the
Packers, 27-20.

9. Still in the hunt: Despite their 4-5 record, the Panthers
are just one game behind Tampa Bay for first place in the NFC South and
have plenty to play for. Only two games separate all four teams in that
division, so it’s wide open with seven games to play, and the division
champ gets a playoff berth and a home postseason game, no matter what
the records of the wild card teams.

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Packers Aren’t Looking Ahead — Here’s Why

by Mike Spofford, Packers.com
posted 11/16/2007
packers.com
It’s been all over in the media this week, how this Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers is a classic “trap” game.

The Packers have won four straight since their only loss this
season and are coming off their most complete, dominant performance of
2007 to improve to 8-1. The Panthers have lost three straight to fall
to 4-5 and have all sorts of injury problems at quarterback.

The Packers have a huge two-game road trip looming, beginning with
a Thanksgiving visit to Detroit – the second-place team in the NFC
North – followed by another Thursday tilt in Dallas – with whom the
Packers are tied for the best record in the NFC.

So the circumstances clearly exist for the Packers to get caught
looking ahead and not focusing on the team they have to face this
Sunday at Lambeau Field.

But Head Coach Mike McCarthy
and the players are determined to not let that happen. They’ve been
saying so all week, and their very awareness of the pitfalls makes a
letdown all the less likely.

So to reinforce the players’ comments this week regarding their
focus on the task at hand, here’s a list of thoughts to ponder. As the
Packers aim for there ninth win, call it the nine reasons they
shouldn’t, and won’t, overlook their Week 11 opponent.

1. Carolina’s road record: The Panthers have struggled in
Charlotte, going 0-4, but they’re 4-1 on the road this year, the best
road mark in the NFC behind Dallas (5-0) and Green Bay (4-0), and 14-6
on the road over the last three seasons. One of their road wins this
season was a 16-13 nailbiter in the New Orleans Superdome, just before
the Saints ripped off four straight victories.

2. Steve Smith: The diminutive (5-foot-9) but dynamite
playmaker has 45 receptions for 590 yards and six touchdowns this
season catching passes from a carousel of quarterbacks. He’s
questionable on the injury report this week with a sore shin, but if
he’s able to play and get into any kind of rhythm, he can be downright
scary. And don’t think a little chilly weather will affect the Southern
California native. Back in January of 2006, he torched the Chicago
Bears for 218 yards on 12 receptions, including touchdowns of 58 and 39
yards, in an NFC playoff upset at Soldier Field.

3. Too close for comfort: Last Sunday’s 34-0 blanking of
division rival Minnesota was impressive, but that type of victory has
been the exception rather than the rule for the Packers this season.
The wins over the Eagles, Chargers, Vikings (the first time), Redskins,
Broncos and Chiefs all came down to the final two minutes, and every
single one could have gone the other way. The Packers have shown when
they don’t play their best football, victories are far from a sure
thing.

4. Crazy like a Fox: Carolina head coach John Fox knows
McCarthy as well if not better than any opponent the Packers will face
this season. A defensive coach by trade, Fox went head-to-head with
McCarthy seven times while McCarthy was the offensive coordinator of
the New Orleans Saints (2000-04) – once as defensive coordinator of the
New York Giants in 2001 and six times as head coach of the Panthers in
twice-yearly NFC South matchups from 2002 to 2004. Fox was 5-2 in those
seven matchups.
5. Must keep pace: If the race in the NFC ultimately whittles
down to two teams, the Packers and Cowboys, the showdown in two weeks
won’t mean much if the Packers can’t keep pace. The Nov. 29 game in
Dallas will be the Cowboys’ third straight at home, so the schedule
sets up nicely for them. The Cowboys’ two home games prior to Green
Bay’s visit are against NFC East rival Washington and on Thanksgiving
against the 1-8 New York Jets.

As far as the NFC North goes, the Packers can guarantee themselves
at least at two-game advantage heading into the Thanksgiving showdown
in Detroit by winning on Sunday. A loss to the Panthers coupled with a
Lions win over the Giants, and suddenly Detroit could tie Green Bay
(and technically take over first based on the head-to-head tiebreaker)
by beating the Packers on Turkey Day.

6. Julius Peppers: The Panthers’ star defensive end has gone
to the Pro Bowl each of the last three years, compiling 34 1/2 sacks
and eight forced fumbles in that time. This year, he has just 1 1/2
sacks through nine games, and he’s been answering questions all week
about why he isn’t playing as well and whether or not he’s fully
healthy. Sometimes that’s all the motivation a previously dominant
player needs to return to form.

7. Hanging with the big boys: The final score was 31-7, but
the Panthers were must closer than that to throwing a scare into the
then-unbeaten Indianapolis Colts three weeks ago. Carolina started that
game with an 18-play drive that took 11 minutes, 1 second off the
clock, scoring a touchdown for a 7-0 lead. The Panthers then held the
Colts to a three-and-out on their first possession, but a muffed punt
and an interception in the end zone later in the first half prevented
them from extending the lead. Then, down 10-7 at the half, Carolina
lost quarterback Vinny Testaverde to an Achilles injury, and a
banged-up David Carr was forced to finish. The game got out of hand
late, but Carolina won’t be intimidated coming in to face the
once-beaten Packers.

8. Wounded and dangerous: The Panthers have lost three
straight and have some injury issues, but a wounded team can be a
dangerous one, just like the Chicago Bears were back in Week 5, coming
into Lambeau and rallying from a 17-7 halftime deficit to beat the
Packers, 27-20.

9. Still in the hunt: Despite their 4-5 record, the Panthers
are just one game behind Tampa Bay for first place in the NFC South and
have plenty to play for. Only two games separate all four teams in that
division, so it’s wide open with seven games to play, and the division
champ gets a playoff berth and a home postseason game, no matter what
the records of the wild card teams.

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Bears looking for first back-to-back wins of season

By Larry Mayer
chicagobears.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – After playing for Bears teams that won eight
straight games in 2005 and seven in a row last year, defensive end
Adewale Ogunleye can’t believe the 2007 squad still hasn’t strung
together back-to-back victories.

In six games since a Week 3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys dropped their
record to 1-2, the consistently inconsistent Bears (4-5) have lost,
won, lost, won, lost and won.

Desmond Clark and the Bears will look to win back-to-back games for the first time this season Sunday when they visit Seattle.

“This whole season’s been kind of baffling to me and to this team,”
Ogunleye said. “But that’s why we play the game and that’s why every
year’s different. Hopefully we’ll start a new trend.”

“It’s just the little things,” added special teams standout Brendon
Ayanbadejo. “Last year when we needed a turnover, we got a turnover.
When we needed a touchdown, we got a touchdown and more. The little
things aren’t going our way, and that makes a difference between
winning and losing a game.”

A win Sunday in Seattle would not only give the Bears two straight
victories for the first time this season but draw them to within one
game of the second and final wildcard spot in the NFC. The Lions and
Giants, the wildcard leaders with 6-3 records, play each other Sunday
in Detroit.

“Hopefully we go out and stack another win on top of the one that we
just had [last Sunday in Oakland] because that’s going to be the key,”
said tight end Desmond Clark. “We’ve got to get wins in bunches at this
point because we got a hole that we’ve got to dig ourselves out of.”

“I wish we could string eight [wins] together,” added fellow tight
end Greg Olsen. “We have to put [together] more than just one [win] and
then lose one the next week. We need to put a string of wins together
and then put ourselves in position to try to make the playoffs.”

The Bears are hoping that a victory in Seattle fuels a long winning streak. But they aren’t looking beyond Sunday’s game.

“We’re really concentrating on getting that two-game streak going
right now and then hopefully we can talk about some good things that
happened this year,” said coach Lovie Smith. “I just know right now the
second half [of the season] we’ve gotten off on the right foot and
hopefully we’ll just keep this momentum going.”

“When you’re a team that’s so confidence, you’re used to doing
things a certain way and then you start losing and the losing becomes
contagious,” Ayanbadejo said. “So you kind of get into a frame of mind
where you’re used to losing.

“The hardest thing is changing your frame of mind and going out
there and playing with the same intensity and getting your swagger and
confidence back. I think if we beat Seattle, we have a chance of going
on a nice run. If we don’t beat Seattle, it’s going to be a long six
weeks.”

The Bears have won their last three road games—all with fourth
quarter comebacks in Philadelphia, Green Bay and Oakland. In the past
two seasons, Chicago is 10-3 away from home and 7-5 at Soldier Field.

Winning in Seattle is no easy task, however. Since Week 16 of the
2002 season, the Seahawks’ 31-7 home record is tied with Indianapolis
and New England for the best in the NFL.

With a raucous crowd at Qwest Field, Seattle led the league in false
start penalties by opponents with 24 in 2005 and 26 last season. Since
2005, the Seahawks’ total of 63 is tops in the league.

The Bears prepared to deal with the hostile environment by
generating fake crowd noise during practice Thursday and Friday as they
do before every road game.

“It’s extremely loud at practice,” said quarterback Rex Grossman.
“The tackles probably can’t hear me. The guards will probably be able
to hear me. Just being able to use hand signals and be on the same page
and not try to get overly complicated with our protection schemes, we
should be able to communicate pretty well.”

“I know this [stadium] is louder than any of them, so it’s going to
be a challenge,” said offensive coordinator Ron Turner. “We’ve got to
stay focused on what we’re doing and just apply our rules and go out
and play.”

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