Brian Urlacher stares down the opponent.
The Chicago Bears have had low expectations from the beginning of season. These expectations have been well-marked, with the majority of the "experts" picking the Bears to finish below .500 on the season. Brian Urlacher and the Monsters of the Midway have been living off of these low expectations all season long.
Though this team seemed to strike out with free agent coaches (promoted Rod Marinelli from Defensive Line Coach to Defensive Coordinator, and hired Mike Martz as Offensive Coordinator when he could not get any interest anywhere else), the Bears have found ways to win all season long.
Whether it was being the beneficiary of a bad rule (Week 1 vs. Lions), the opponent beating themselves (Week 3 vs. Packers), taking advantage of injuries (Week 10 vs. Dolphins) or being faster than the fastest team in football (Week 11 vs. Eagles), the Bears keep finding ways to win.
Now 8-3 on the season, and with their playoff future in their own hands, the Chicago Bears have a message for all the experts, opposing fans, and yes, even their own skeptical fans: keep doubting us. Chicago seems to play best when they should have no shot at all. Six times this season, the Bears have been the underdogs in their match-ups. In those six games, the Bears are 4-2, and allowed only 17 points in their losses.
After the impressive victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon, Peggy Kusinski of NFL Network asked Urlacher if he thought the Bears would get respect now. Urlacher's response: "I could give a [crap]."
And that, my friends, my brethren, is the attitude this team has taken on. And guess what else? It's working.
The Bears will have more chances to prove the doubters wrong. The last four games for the Beloved include a home game vs. the New England Patriots, away at the Minnesota Vikings, home against the New York Jets, and close the season as Lambeau Field against the Packers. There is a good chance they will be the underdogs in each of these games.
With their destiny in their own hands, the Bears need to play bigger over this last five game stretch than they have all season. It all starts with next weekend, at Detroit. The Bears have to do work against the Lions, and take care of business. If the Bears can manage a 2-3 record over their last five, they will finish 10-6 on the season and almost assuredly find themselves in the playoffs.
Chicago has been doubted all season long, and they don't seem to care. It is imperative that this mentality drives them to a few more victories on the season.
If Cutler continues to make good decisions, and the three-headed monster of Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs, and the aforementioned Urlacher keep playing at the level they are playing, we just may see an extended season for Chicago in a year that they seemed to have nothing but a hope and prayer before the first snap.
Keep doubting, doubters. The Bears and their fans love proving you wrong.