Brian Urlacher likes underdog role

Brian Urlacher has no problem with people picking against his Chicago Bears every week. In fact, he would like the trend to continue.

"We play better in that role," Urlacher said Wednesday on "Mike & Mike" on ESPN Radio. "We've done well since Coach [Lovie] Smith has been here in the underdog role. We hope to keep playing that role. Keep picking against us please, because we like it."

The latest slight, according to Urlacher, came on Sunday when the Bears played host to the 7-3 Philadelphia Eagles, who, like the Bears, had won three in a row.

"Sometimes we watch those pregame shows and I think last week not one person picked us, the Fox channel, CBS, no one picked us," Urlacher said. "It's good though. Us against the world. That's not a bad attitude to have."

The Bears proved those prognosticators wrong when they beat the Eagles 31-26, sacking Michael Vick four times and intercepting him in the end zone to improve to 8-3 and take sole possession of first place in the NFC North.

That might be a surprise to some in the NFL, but Urlacher said he knew the Bears were going to be good from the start.

"There was no doubt in my mind what we had," Urlacher said. "We talked about it during training camp, during the summer. We knew what we had, especially after getting [Julius Peppers], Coach [Mike] Martz has helped a lot, Coach [Mike] Tice has done a good job on offense. We weren't sure how good we could be, but you never know until you start playing the games.

"Then we lost those two games [to Seattle and Washington] in the middle of the season at home which was kind of frustrating, but we're on a roll now. And we know how it is -- if we lose a game we're going to be terrible again. That's the way it is, but we're going to keep playing as well as we can."

While quarterback Jay Cutler has played well lately -- passing for four touchdowns with no interceptions against the Eagles -- the Bears' defense, ranked fourth in the NFL, has been consistent all season.

"We're doing things right," Urlacher said. "We're not making a lot of mistakes. We're athletic on defense. You look at every position: D-line, linebackers and safeties and corner; we're pretty athletic at every position. And we run to the football. We know we're going to miss tackles, we're going to make some mistakes here and there but effort makes up for a lot of those mistakes. Coaches always preach that. In practice we always run to the football, and we do it in games, too."

A major reason for that success is the play of Peppers, whom Urlacher called the best defensive player in the NFL. Signed as a free agent in the offseason, Peppers has just six sacks on the season, but Urlacher said there is a simple explanation for such a low number from a guy with 87 career sacks.

"He doesn't have the sacks this year because he gets double- and triple-teamed almost every play when it's a pass and the ball is gone most of the time," Urlacher said. "But he is so athletic. No one out-runs Michael Vick, but he had a good angle to push him out of bounds the other day, he got a sack on him. He pretty much just shuts down the whole side of the field. Even in the run game -- I think he has 10 tackles for loss this year. He gets in the backfield, he doesn't screw up. He doesn't say much he just does his job and he does it well."