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Columnist
If Bears' win looks a little familiar, there's a Super reason
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 9/28/2010 12:30 AM

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Anyone with two eyes knows the Bears should have lost Game 1 to the Lions.

And anyone with two discriminating eyes knows their win in Game 2 wasn't very impressive, considering how poorly the Cowboys played.

But the team they beat Monday night at Soldier Field might have been the best team in the NFC coming in, and the Packers got on the bus wondering if that's true anymore.

The Bears, not the Packers, are the 3-0 team after Robbie Gould's chip shot with four seconds left gave them a 20-17 victory.

And while the Bears still have serious issues, the biggest of which remains protection for Jay Cutler, the beloved are the only undefeated team in the NFC and have every right to wonder if they're the best club in the conference after three weeks.

"We didn't play our best game and we won," Cutler said. "That's a good sign."

Yes, the 2010 Bears are finding ways to win, just as they did in - forgive me - 2006, while the Packers did everything imaginable to self-destruct despite the brilliant play of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

But in a recipe that seems eerily familiar to the Super Bowl season, the Bears were outplayed for most of the game, yet outlasted an opponent that left town believing the Bears are who they thought they were.

Rodgers, who might very well be the best quarterback in the NFL, threw for 316 yards and looked as though he could shred the Chicago defense any time he wanted.

For the most part he did, but the Packers had a touchdown called back on a holding penalty and another dropped by a backup tight end.

On special teams, Julius Peppers blocked a field goal, and Devin Hester looked like the '06 version when he returned a punt 62 yards for a TD, his first in 64 punts.

After Rodgers ran it in for a touchdown to give Green Bay a 17-14 lead, the Packers had the game in hand as Cutler was picked off near midfield with 6:38 left in the game.

But Cutler was hit in the head after he got rid of the ball, and the roughing penalty allowed the Bears to keep the ball and drive down for the game-tying field goal with 3:59 remaining.

That was just 1 of 4 Cutler picks either dropped or called back because of penalty.

Oh, yeah, the penalties. The Packers took 18 of them for 152 yards, including a grounding call on the Packers' final possession as Rodgers was again walking his team down the field.

That was before Brian Urlacher poked free a ball on a big Green Bay gain.

Yes, the turnovers. Lovie Smith preaches them and knowing him he'll take credit for it, but it was Urlacher's relentless pursuit and a great recovery by corner Tim Jennings - playing for the benched Zack Bowman - that made it happen.

And with the ball and a chance to win, the Bears marched down the field with the help of another Packers penalty and one great throw from Cutler, who took another incredible beating.

He was hit 11 times Monday night, a few of them brutally hard, but he kept getting up and delivered on the final drive, as the Bears moved down and won the game when, surprisingly, Smith didn't go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1 with a chance to take the lead in the final seconds.

All in all, Cutler was sacked three times while the Bears rarely got a finger on Rodgers.

The Bears' offense wasn't very good and their defense was worse.

They had miscommunication on both sides of the ball and several times it looked like total chaos as players ran on the field, off the field, and back on again.

So they had every reason in the world to lose the game and instead found a way to win.

You can debate whether they're as good as their record, but you can't debate their record.

They're 3-0 and Devin Hester ran forward Monday night.

That might be the biggest step forward they've taken in four years.

brozner@dailyherald.com

• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.