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Columnist
Showing no fight biggest Bears' woe
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 11/17/2008 12:07 AM

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The Bears provided a banquet table full of reasons to criticize them Sunday.

Special teams were bad. Offense was worse. Defense was worst. Coaching was all of the above.

None of those was most bothersome to me, however.

Not much was said afterward about a certain incident, so maybe this is just the perspective of a cranky somebody who has watched the Bears for a half-century.

But what bothered me more than anything was that no bench-clearing brawl occurred during the second half of the 37-3 loss at Green Bay.

Right after a kickoff with eight seconds remaining before halftime, Packers defensive tackle Colin Cole played dirty with Devin Hester.

The whistle had blown. Hester was out of bounds. Cole, who wasn't even in the game, threw a forearm shiver into Hester's throat.

Yes, Cole was penalized for a personal foul. Yes, the NFL likely will fine him. But this called for the Bears themselves to do something. Pro football hasn't reached the namby-pamby point where retribution is taboo, has it?

The Bears could have responded in a couple of ways. Winning the game was preferable, but it was clear early that wasn't going to happen.

Most Bears later admitted out loud that the Packers "kicked our (butts)."

With winning out of the question, the next option was for somebody on the Bears to play hockey goon and smack a Packer upside his neck.

Over the years the Bears taught fans that there's always something a team can do when an unfriendly rival inflicts unnecessary roughness to the Adam's apple of a tiny teammate.

So I kept waiting for a Packer - Cole if possible - to be slashed across the shins, have a fastball thrown at his ribs, or suffer a hard foul in the lane.

In football terms, maybe it could be a sneak punch away from the play, bite marks at the bottom of the pile, or blindsiding a unsuspecting wide receiver on a crossing route.

Bears quarterback Kyle Orton was playing his guts out on a recovering right ankle that required a special shoe for support.

Orton, if not Hester, deserved to have somebody on the Bears take an extracurricular smack at a Packer.

Not all the fight had to be with each other on the sideline. Or perhaps the Bears were saving themselves to spar with the media this week.

Bears center Olin Kreutz did jaw with Green Bay defensive tackle Johnny Jolly - you have to jaw with a guy named Jolly before smacking him? - but grumble never came to rumble.

So I waited for a brawl to break out after the final whistle when players were shaking hands and praying together.

No, sorry, nothing.

My problem is that I grew up accustomed to the Bears not always playing well enough but always playing rough enough. It's the old thing about how you can beat the Bears, but you can't beat them up.

This wouldn't be a big deal as an isolated incident. But it's just another link in the chain of suspicion that the Bears are institutionally soft.

"We in general as a defense got pushed around," defensive coordinator Bob Babich said Sunday.

So, go ahead, pick what you want from the banquet the Bears spread out for you.

My choice is to regret that no Packer paid for the abuse Devin Hester took.

mimrem@dailyherald.com