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Columnist
Weather less a factor than Jaguars' play
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 12/7/2008 9:08 PM

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The weather outside is frightful (indeed), but in Soldier Field it's so delightful (in theory).

"It's an advantage we should have," Bears defensive end Alex Brown said.

Even accepting that premise, the Bears will have to play better Thursday night against the Saints than they did Sunday afternoon against the Jaguars.

OK, it did look like Jacksonville made the mistake of visiting Chicago in December. What, Florida's beaches were shut down for the weekend?

The Jags played like they couldn't block, tackle, run, throw catch their breath or do much else during a chilly 23-10 loss to the Bears.

Then again, the Jaguars couldn't do much of anything last week at Houston either, so maybe cold is more an excuse than a reason.

Perhaps the Bears just played better than Jacksonville, which wouldn't be difficult considering the Jags have lost four straight games and pretty much are somewhere between punting and putting.

"We always kind of enjoy playing in the cold," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said straight-faced. "I think our team looked forward to that."

Yeah, and O.J. Simpson looks forward to nine years in prison with a guy named Monster flirting with him in the yard.

"If you talk to teams that aren't from Chicago," Bears head coach Lovie Smith insisted, "believe me, they don't want to come to Chicago in December."

Maybe not, but the cold (temperature 19 degrees, wind chill 9) wasn't that big a factor on this day.

Didn't the Bears get touchdowns from Desmond Clark, a Florida native who went to Wake Forest, and Greg Olsen, a University of Miami product?

Didn't Matt Forte, who played his college ball in New Orleans at Tulane, have another productive day both rushing and receiving?

Somehow those Southerners overcame the conditions.

So-called Bears Weather has been marketed for decades, and the Bears certainly have won a lot of frigid games.

In fact, the victory over Jacksonville was the Bears' 700th all time, and legend has it that 650 came in December.

Ah, but 20 years ago the California 49ers slid into Soldier Field amid all those four-letter words - cold, wind, snow, brrr - and shattered the myth by making the Bears look like ice sculptures.

"I think a lot of that is hype," Jags running back Fred Taylor said. "I love playing in the cold."

That's probably true. Generally, though, the team playing better beats the team playing worse, and the elements wind up settling for a tie.

Somehow the Texans went into Green Bay and beat the slumping Packers on Sunday, didn't they?

If the Bears want to play this weather-or-not mind game, so be it. If they want it to be a crutch Thursday night against the Saints, a supposedly double-whammy Southern dome team, so be it again.

"It's part of our everyday life," Smith propagandized. "We practice in it for the most part and it's no issue with us."

But Bears defensive coordinator Bob Babich put it this way: "You still have to go out there and play."

Yes, the Bears will have to defense New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints' hot passing offense.

The weather figures to be frightful, but overall the Bears will have to make more plays for the game to be delightful.

mimrem@dailyherald.com