Thursday, October 25, 2012
Cover 2 killer Smith awaits Bears again
By Jeff Dickerson
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Steve Smith is the definition of a Cover 2 killer.
The Panthers' Steve Smith burned the Bears for 181 yards receiving last season at Soldier Field.
No matter what the Chicago Bears have tried over the years, it hasn't worked. No player, with the possible exception of the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson, has caused more trouble for Lovie Smith's defense than Carolina's star receiver.
Three of Smith's four lifetime meetings against the Bears have come against a Lovie Smith-coached team. In those three games, Steve Smith has caught an outrageous 34 passes for 568 yards and two touchdowns. No game was bigger than the 2005 playoff game when he caught 12 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns in a 29-21 victory, one of the most dominant individual performances in Soldier Field history.
Earlier in the 2005 regular season, Smith hit the Bears for 14 catches for 169 yards. Last season he went off for eight receptions for 181 yards at Soldier Field.
But the Bears do hold an edge over Smith in one important area.
"We've won the games though, right?" Bears cornerback Charles Tillman noted on Thursday.
That's mostly correct. The Bears have won two of those three games and are 3-2 overall against the Panthers since 2005. Smith missed the 2008 and 2010 games due to injuries.
However, that fact doesn't make Smith any less dangerous.
"He's just a heck of a football player," Lovie Smith said. "You start with that. As we said, he's got great speed, he can catch the ball, he's a competitor. Every coverage has been tried against him. But you have to have a plan for him, and we do."
But will that plan result in the Bears stopping Carolina's No. 1 receiver on Sunday?
"I don't know," Tillman said. "We'll see Sunday what our success is. Maybe we can change that and prove you wrong."