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It turns out, getting there was the easy part
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 12/20/2009 10:50 PM

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BALTIMORE - Maybe instead of battling the elements to get here the Bears should have stayed home. They apparently left their game somewhere between Chicago and snow-covered Baltimore and wound up getting pounded 31-7.

The area around M&T Bank Stadium was pummeled by 21 inches of snow in a 24-hour period, but the Bears were beaten worse by the Ravens. The Bears tried to get out of town Friday night, a day early, but were grounded by mechanical problems. Instead they arrived in Baltimore just before midnight Saturday, about six hours later than their normal arrival time for a road game.

To their credit, the Bears didn't try to blame their performance on the disruption in their normal routine.

"We're not going to make excuses," Smith said. "We get paid to play. We got to the stadium and had an opportunity to play the game, so none of that matters."

The game was originally scheduled as a noon start but pushed back to 3:15 to accommodate snow-removal efforts throughout the city and at M&T Bank Stadium.

"We got here in plenty of time," quarterback Jay Cutler said. "Everybody was rested up. Everybody was ready to go. We're professionals. We know there's going to be some bumps in the road. It's not like we came in two hours before game time. We came in with plenty of time last night. We were ready to roll."

Or get rolled.

Part of the game: Quarterback Jay Cutler was asked about the difficulty of playing on a team where the future of the coaching staff is undecided.

"That's how it goes," Cutler said. "You're never safe in this league, especially when you're losing ballgames or you're not playing to the level you're expected to. That comes with the territory. Everybody understands that."

Backup quarterback Caleb Hanie played in just his second game this season when he mopped up for Cutler late in the fourth quarter and completed 2 of 5 passes for 8 yards but was intercepted once.

Super sub: Earl Bennett filled in for injured Devin Hester (calf) on punt returns and produced the Bears' only points on a 49-yard TD romp late in the second quarter that had the Bears trailing just 14-7 at halftime.

"I want to be on the field contributing no matter what I'm doing," said Bennett, who led the Bears with 50 receiving yards on 2 catches. "When my number was called to return when Devin went down I was excited."

Poor encore: Wide receiver Devin Aromashodu got his second straight start in place of Devin Hester, who was inactive with a strained calf. Aromashodu was targeted by quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie 10 times but caught just 2 passes for 10 yards. Three of the Bears' interceptions came on passes intended for Aromashodu, including the fourth and final pick, which glanced off his hands.

Odds and ends: Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye suffered a fracture in his lower leg early in the third quarter and will miss the remainder of the season. - Corey Graham started at cornerback in place of Zach Bowman, who missed practice time during the week with an illness but still played some Sunday. - Anthony Adams reclaimed his starting job at nose tackle from Marcus Harrison, although both players played a similar number of snaps. - The 4 TD passes and 135.6 passer rating were career bests for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.