Urlacher: Blame defense, not Hanie
November, 27, 2011
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The way Brian Urlacher sees it, Caleb Hanie's three first-half interceptions weren't responsible for the Bears' 25-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Instead, Urlacher puts the loss squarely on the shoulders of the Bears' veteran defense.
"He did a good job," Urlacher said of Hanie. "He threw a couple picks, but that's going to happen. The tipped ball was a nice play by them. He'll get better, and I didn't think he did a bad job today. He kept us in the game. If we play better defense we win the game. We were in the game late, but just did not make enough plays on defense."
Two separate issues upset the perennial Pro Bowl linebacker following the loss which snapped a five-game winning streak and dropped the Bears to 7-4.
First, the Bears managed to force only one turnover -- a Corey Graham interception -- despite being presented with multiple chances to intercept Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer.
"We should have won that football game based on the game our offense played," Urlacher said. "We didn't play well enough on defense, gave up too many big plays and didn't get enough takeaways. That's why we didn't win."
Cornerback Tim Jennings put himself in position to break up three passes, but was unable to come away with a pick. That's not to say Jennings had a bad game, but in those situations the defender must come up with the football, especially on a team that needs turnovers to win games.
"I had a couple of good reads and good breaks, but I got to come down with those and give us opportunities to get the offense back on the field," Jennings said. "We just got to get those takeaways."
Urlacher's second objection was the Raiders' late touchdown that ultimately proved to be the deciding score. After keeping Oakland out of the end zone all game, Raiders receiver Louis Murphy slipped past Jennings and hauled in a 47-yard reception that set up Michael Bush's 2-yard touchdown run.
Murphy made an excellent route adjustment on the play, breaking off an inside pattern which Jennings had perfect position against, and turning up the field to beat the man coverage.
"I mean, they get the ball back with five and half minutes and we had a chance to stop them but gave up a touchdown," Urlacher said. "That's not good defense. They made some plays, we didn't make enough. When the game was on the line they made plays.