Behind Enemy Lines: Chicago Bears

  • Updated: November 22, 2012 - 10:07 PM

"Behind Enemy Lines" is a Thursday post on the Access Vikings blog. In advance of Sunday's Vikings-Chicago game, Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune interviewed Jeff Dickerson, who covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com. Here are three things you need to know ...

1 The Bears are who we thought they were. Or are they?

After a 51-20 destruction of Tennessee on Nov. 4, Chicago improved to 7-1 and was receiving plenty of seemingly justifiable praise as a Super Bowl front-runner. The Bears defense was legit. Their special teams were consistently delivering. And the offense seemed serviceable at the very least.

But now, Chicago has been humbled in consecutive losses to Houston and San Francisco. They have a 1-3 record against teams that currently have winning records.

"Yes, they beat Indianapolis," Dickerson said. "But they played them in Week 1 with a rookie quarterback [Andrew Luck] making his first start. So I don't really count that. The Colts were not the team then that they are now."

And in games against top competition -- at Green Bay in Week 2, vs. Houston in Week 10 and at San Francisco this past Monday -- the Bears have been outscored 68-23.

"It's justifiable to ask, are the Bears really a legitimate contender or did they get fat and happy on a very easy schedule?" Dickerson said. "We're going to find out there."

2 If a deep playoff run is going to happen, the Bears defense will propel it.

First, an attempt to explain that eye-popping takeaway figure -- at 30 and counting through 10 games.

"The Bears just expect it," Dickerson said. "And how do you really expect takeaways when so much of it is just luck and chance? But somehow they do it. And this year, I can't remember more than one or two times where they've missed an opportunity for an interception or a fumble recovery."

Cornerback Tim Jennings leads the NFL with eight interceptions. Charles Tillman has forced a league-high seven fumbles. Tillman, in his 10th season, has 36 career forced fumbles.

"I appreciate his consistency," Dickerson said. "And I admire his toughness. The way he forces fumbles, he's going to change the way the game is played on defense. The punch is going to be a bigger part of the game going forward. So you can call Tillman a trendsetter."

3 Brandon Marshall might be the Bears' first Pro Bowl receiver since Marty Booker in 2002.

The Bears traded for Marshall last March with a belief that his reunion with Jay Cutler could be fruitful and relatively drama-free. So far, so good. Marshall has 69 catches -- second best in the NFC -- for 925 yards with eight touchdowns.

Marshall's three-TD effort against Tennessee was proof of his ability to make big plays. He also had three clutch catches for 28 yards on a game-winning drive in the final minutes against Carolina in Week 8.

"He's a volatile guy and that's not going to change," Dickerson said. "When he doesn't get the ball, he's not that pleasant to be around. But on the whole, he's been terrific. He may not have great hands and will drop some passes. But he's a great receiver. He can go up and get the ball. He's a reliable playmaker. And I think the Bears are thrilled with how he's produced."

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Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 13 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Gray 5
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 6
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
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Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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