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Saturday, September 18

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Bears Wed Oct 05 2011

Bears' Future Looks Murky After Close Win

Thumbnail image for bears.gifThe challenge of assessing these Chicago Bears is holding two ideas simultaneously in your head:

a) This is not a great team; and

b) In today's NFL, that doesn't necessarily matter.

En route to a poetically ambivalent 2-2 record, the Bears have announced themselves as a decent team, beating Atlanta in the opener and Carolina on Sunday while losing to top contenders Green Bay and New Orleans.

They don't play consistently well, but there's enough good in there with the bad and the mediocre to win a few games. Lots of opponents can't do anything to stop Matt Forte, who ran 25 times for 205 yards Sunday, or stop Devin Hester, who scored on a 69-yard punt return and set up another score with a 73-yard kickoff return. That duo, plus big-play defenders like Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, can spark Chicago to victory when the rest of the team is merely treading water.

Yet for all their knack for big plays, at some point don't you have to win the small battles on a down-by-down basis? I watch the Bears squeeze out a 34-29 home win against the rebuilding Panthers and wonder if there is a future here that includes this team beating really good teams to win important games.

Fortunately, there aren't that many really good teams out there.

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