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Columnist
Senseless to make sense of this
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 10/20/2008 12:03 AM

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The Bears' victory over the Vikings on Sunday was a little like a pair of shoes that fit feeling good anyway.

Seriously, a winning score of 48-41 is going to take some getting used to around here. Don't the Bears aim for shutouts rather than shootouts?

To Kyle Orton, this game seemed like he was back in college gunslinging in Purdue's wide-open offense.

"Yes, a little bit," the Bears quarterback said. "Throwing the ball a bunch ... it was fun."

To Rashied Davis, it was like being back playing the indoor football game from which he graduated into the NFL.

"I felt like I was (back) in the arena league," the Bears wide receiver said. "Our goal was to go and score every time."

Actually, to Bears fans accustomed to offensive football that's more run-and-run than run-and-gun, this seemed like arena basketball.

If these games continue against the likes of Minnesota and Green Bay, the Black-and-Blue Division officially will become the Track-and-Field Division.

Remember, there was a time when the Bears and Vikings might play a 14-14, overtime tie. Sunday that was the score at the quarter. The 27-24 halftime score could have represented two games worth of points in the past.

"Our whole mindset," Bears wide receiver Marty Booker said, "was to come in, put points on the board and outscore them."

Every NFL team normally tries to do that. But for the Bears, outscoring the opposition traditionally meant 14-10, or 24-21 tops.

Every series, every play, every yard used to be precious. First downs were like touchdowns and touchdowns were like a week at Mardi Gras.

"The year we went to the Super Bowl," Davis said of two seasons ago, "all we had to do was score 11 points to win the game."

Sunday, though, four times that was required. Three yards and a Walter Payton cloud of dust had to be replaced by 13 yards and an Orton puff of magic dust.

"We're a running team," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said, "but if we have to pass the ball we feel we can."

In other words the Bears still are a team that gets off the bus running, as Smith likes to say, but now they get onto the field running pass patterns toward the end zone.

A 48-41 final score? Tying the most combined points in a Bears game ever? The most points ever allowed by the Bears in a victory?

That's akin around here to one presidential candidate winning 30 states and the other winning 25.

It just doesn't add up, folks.

At least the Bears had a better excuse for giving up 48 points than the Vikings had for giving up 41.

The Bears were missing starting cornerbacks Peanut Tillman and Nathan Vasher, who were inactive with injuries.

That's like Cubs hitters walking into Wrigley Field, seeing the flags blowing out and knowing they might have to win, say, 48-41.

"It was definitely one of those games where we felt we had to outscore them," Smith said. "It was a track meet and luckily we had a little more speed at the end."

So the Bears are 4-3 now and atop the NFC Central Division, sometimes known as the NFC Central Subdivision for its mediocrity.

Next week is the Bears' bye week, meaning next Sunday's score might only be 38-31.

mimrem@dailyherald.com