LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -Lance Briggs realizes there's room for improvement. He just doesn't understand the angst.
Sure, the Chicago Bears failed to register a sack for the second time this season during a 22-20 loss Sunday to Atlanta in which the Falcons' Matt Ryan completed 22 of 30 passes for 301 yards.
Briggs, the Bears' Pro Bowl linebacker, was more interested in the numbers five and 54.
That's how many field goals the Falcons kicked and yards star running back Michael Turner collected. While he was at it, Briggs also brought up the overtime loss to Tampa Bay in which the Buccaneers' Brian Griese threw 67 passes without getting sacked.
``One of our keys was to stop Michael Turner last week,'' Briggs said Thursday. ``We stopped him. They went pass crazy on us. One of the weeks earlier this year, we were supposed to stop the Tampa Bay Bucs' running game. We stopped them. They went pass crazy on us.''
thing right. Their defense just isn't the dominant force they vowed it would be.
``Anything we do in the pass game starts with pressure,'' defensive coordinator Bob Babich said. ``That makes everything go. ... Pressure's where it all starts.''
And the Bears need more of it this week against the Minnesota Vikings - especially with a dinged-up secondary.
``We've got to get a pass rush regardless of who's back there,'' defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek said. ``Whoever is in the secondary is going to do a great job. It's on us to get pressure on the quarterback.''
Chicago could be missing starting cornerbacks Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman as well as backup Trumaine McBride and nickel back Danieal Manning. Vasher has missed two games with a wrist injury and Tillman (shoulder), McBride (shoulder) and Manning (hamstring) went down during the Atlanta game.
``We have to get pressure with the front four, but that's not always in a sack,'' coach Lovie Smith said.
And they're certainly not getting as many as they would like. The Bears are tied for 15th in the NFL with 12.
Defensive end Alex Brown leads the Bears with three sacks but has just 14 tackles, well behind last year's pace when he had 58. Adewale Ogunleye has 1 1/2 sacks after delivering nine last year, and three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris hasn't been himself physically or emotionally.
igning Harris to a $40 million extension in the offseason is three tackles and no sacks, along with a team suspension for the Detroit game two weeks ago. A devout Christian, Harris told the Chicago Tribune he was distraught over the out-of-wedlock birth of his first child and had been late for treatments on his injured left knee.
When asked this week about his struggles, he said, ``Everybody knows my situation.''
Coming off a season-ending hamstring injury, Harris got off to a fast start last year before knee problems slowed him. He had seven of his eight sacks through the first eight games, and had four through the first six before tailing off.
He had knee surgery in the offseason and aggravated the condition during the Bears' 27-24 overtime loss to Tampa Bay on Sept. 21 and sat out a win over Philadelphia the following week. He then got suspended, meaning he had a two-week layoff before registering one tackle against Atlanta.
Harris was closing in on Ryan when he launched a 26-yard pass to Michael Jenkins that set up Jason Elam's winning 48-yard field goal. But again, no sack for Harris. None for the Bears, period.
``I just feel like I'm starting to feel better,'' Harris said. ``I'm starting to show it out on the field. Hopefully, I can continue to just keep getting healthy.''
Advertisement

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Updated NFL MVP Odds Heading into Championship Sunday, Matt Ryan is a clear favorite to take home this season's NFL MVP Award.
Thumbnail Championship Sunday Vegas Spreads How do Las Vegas oddsmakers view this weekend's championship games in the NFL?
Thumbnail Updated Super Bowl LI Betting Odds And then there were four. What are the odds of the four remaining teams to win this year's Super Bowl?
Thumbnail Pats Open as 6-Point Faves vs. Steelers The Patriots will host the Steelers in the 2017 AFC Championship Game and have opened as nearly touchdown favorites for next Sunday's...
Thumbnail Falcons open as favorites vs. Pack The Falcons will host the Packers in the 2017 NFC Championship Game, where Atlanta has opened as a small favorite.
Advertisement

NFL Team Pages