Bears hope to avoid chippy play against the Lions
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org October 15, 2012 10:53PM
Bears cornerback D.J. Moore breaks up a pass intended for Colts receiver Reggie Wayne in the fourth quarter of the Chicago Bears 41-21 win over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday September 9, 2012 at Soldier Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: November 17, 2012 6:21AM
Cornerback D.J. Moore is one of the Bears’ most affable and approachable players. But after walking off the practice field with media relations manager Jim Christman, he declined interview requests Monday.
It wasn’t a big surprise. The Bears are trying to put a plug on a storyline that is the bane of coach Lovie Smith’s existence: the repercussions from a fight between Moore and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in the Bears’ 37-13 rout of the Lions last Nov. 13 at Soldier Field.
But they can’t muzzle everybody.
‘‘There’s always going to be bad blood, just because we’re Chicago and they’re Detroit,’’ said cornerback Tim Jennings, whose interception — one of four by the Bears — precipitated the brawl.
‘‘They’re in our division. We know we’ve got to go through one another to get that championship we [want].
‘‘So there’s always going to be bad blood with them, Minnesota and Green Bay. It’s nothing different. They’re going to come in here with the same attitude I’m sure, the mentality that they don’t like us. They want to win and it’s going to be a dogfight to the end.’’
The Moore-Stafford altercation was the main event that followed an undercard of chippy play that included Ndamukong Suh ripping Jay Cutler’s helmet from his head, a late hit by Kyle Vanden Bosch on Cutler, a chop block by Dominic Raiola and various alleged cheap shots on both sides that netted the NFC North rivals $52,500 in fines from the NFL.
No matter how much the Bears try to defuse the situation, it’s unlikely the Lions have forgotten. Vanden Bosch disputed his late hit and claimed the Bears were cheap-shotting Stafford earlier in the game. Stafford, who instigated the incident by pulling Moore to the ground by the helmet after Moore blocked him following an interception, was unapologetic. ‘‘They hit me every play. I’m going to hit them every chance I get,’’ he told the Detroit Free Press the following week.
The Bears are going to do everything they can to avoid a sideshow.
‘‘They’ve got a chip on their shoulder. I guess we’ve both got a chip on our shoulder,’’ safety Major Wright said. ‘‘But I don’t feel like we have to brace [for a response from the Lions]. We’re just going to take it like every [other] week. Go out. Play hard. Play fast. Play physical. And let everything else dictate itself.’’
That will be interesting to watch. Defiant Lions coach Jim Schwartz likes his team to play on the edge. Smith feels coaching is more productive.
‘‘Our coach, he’s not big on playing [on too much emotion],’’ Wright said. ‘‘Just play at the same level each week and you don’t have to change much.’’
Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to avoid.
‘‘Every time we play each other it’s kind of intense,’’ Wright said. ‘‘We play them twice a year. We know what they do. They know what we do. We play hard. May the best man win.’’