Bears start thinking about clinching
By Neil Hayes email@example.com December 14, 2010 12:20AM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
The Bears wrapped up film review Monday of the 36-7 loss to the New England Patriots and began looking forward instead of back.
Next Monday night, at a stadium to be determined soon — almost certainly in Minneapolis — the Bears will play the Vikings. If the Patriots roll over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, then the Bears can clinch the NFC North by beating the Vikings.
“That’s the first goal,” tight end Greg Olsen said. “It’s not the ultimate goal; obviously everyone’s goal is to win the Super Bowl. But first things first. The easiest way to get into the playoffs is to win your division. You don’t have to count on wild cards and tiebreakers and all that. Just win your division and you’re in, then, as you know in the past, anything can happen.
“Once you make the playoffs, it’s a clean slate.”
If they lose and the Packers pull off an upset, the Bears will create huge headaches for themselves.
“We’re undefeated in our division,” coach Lovie Smith said. “That’s hard to do. Not many teams can say that in the NFL right now. We’re in perfect position, with a little bit of luck, to accomplish another one of our goals this week.”
Smith isn’t averse to watching the tape of a blowout loss because every performance should be a learning experience.
“We watched it on film,” center Olin Kreutz said. “They out-executed us. They did everything better. They deserved to win the game by that much.”
Major Wright was supposed to have deep responsibility on Deion Branch’s 59-yard run-and-catch as the final seconds of the first half expired. The stunning touchdown gave the Patriots a 33-0 lead. Smith said the rookie safety must learn from it.
“Especially when you’re a young football player, you’re going to have some days like that,” Smith said. “You’re going to have some plays that you would like to have back. It wasn’t just Major. We could’ve gotten a better pass rush. There are a few other things we could’ve done in there. But, yes, he has to be back there. That was his responsibility on that one.”
Charles Tillman was seen limping around the locker room after the game Sunday, but Smith said he should be able to practice Wednesday.
“He’s good to go as far as I know,” Smith said. “From the game, you have some bumps and bruises, but we’re expecting everyone to practice the next time we play.”
Running back Chester Taylor said he has recovered from the knee injury that forced him to miss practice time last week.
“I had treatment all week last week, so I’m ready to go this week,” he said.
Contributing: Sean Jensen