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Columnist
3-0 is 3-0, no matter how Bears did it
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 9/28/2010 12:20 AM

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The Bears finally, finally, finally, agreed to accept a victory Monday night after the Packers insisted, insisted, insisted on offering it.

They didn't even mind it coming later than sooner.

Only four seconds remained when Robbie Gould's 19-yard field goal provided the winning points in a 20-17 victory.

No team dreams of winning a game this way. Of course, few people dreamed this particular team would start 3-0.

"We're doing enough to win," Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said, "but we have to get better."

Last week's conversation was starting to make it sound like this was supposed to be the Game of the Century. You know, two undefeated teams, tied for the NFC North lead, the NFL's oldest rivalry -

What evolved was an early-season game between two football teams trying to figure their own selves out, much less the opposition.

Cutler had to admit, "I thought we were out of sync. We didn't play our best game, but we won."

Thanks to the Packers playing one of their worst, of course.

Consider this: The Packers led 10-0 late in the first half despite compiling almost as many penalties as rushing yards.

Consider this, too: The Packers scored a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter thanks to a roughing-the-passer penalty, then gave the Bears a tying field goal with roughing-the-passer and unnecessary roughness penalties.

Folks, the Bears kept up with Green Bay in points essentially because they couldn't keep up with them in penalties.

The Packers committed a remarkable 18 for 152 yards. It would be nice to report that their mistakes were due to the Bears' hard hitting, but too many of them were unforced.

To the Bears' credit they did force the Packers' fatal gaffe when Brian Urlacher punched the ball out of James Jones' arms and Tim Jennings recovered.

A Green Bay pass-interference call - what else? - set up the Bears at the 9-yard line and four plays later Gould kicked the winner.

If there was a single bit of beauty on this night, his name was Devin Hester.

Reliving some past glory, Hester nearly ran back one punt for a touchdown and then did run back another for a TD. The difference was that he was tackled by the punter the first time and he hurdled him the second.

Hester aside, however, the game was exciting but sloppy and intense but ugly.

"The guys kept fighting through," Bears coach Lovie Smith said.

The Packers were waiting to be beaten, almost begging to be beaten, and the Bears just wouldn't accommodate until they had no choice in the final seconds.

The Bears deserve some credit for beating the Packers with defensive tackle Tommie Harris inactive based on, according to Smith, performance in the season's first two games.

Preseason projections were that the Bears couldn't win without Harris, but they beat the Packers after deciding they couldn't win with him.

Now, believe it or not, less than a month into the season the Bears are the NFC's only undefeated team.

"We're 3-0 right now," Smith said, "and we feel good about that."

The best part for the Bears is that history indicates 3-0 teams usually go on to make the playoffs regardless of how those first 3 victories were accomplished.

mimrem@dailyherald.com