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Article updated: 1/19/2011 8:35 PM

Lovie: Bears defense solid, but need more takeaways

By Bob LeGere

Bears coach Lovie Smith had just one complaint at his Wednesday afternoon news conference as he discussed the team's defense, which was No. 4 in the league in fewest points allowed.

"Defensively, I'm not pleased with the amount of takeaways we've gotten lately, but that's about the only thing I can complain about," Smith said. "They come to work each day; showed up every game."

The Bears had no takeaways in their divisional-round playoff victory over the Seahawks, and they were also blanked in that department in Weeks 13 and 14. But they still finished tied for third in the league with 35 takeaways.

Smith acknowledged the return of middle linebacker Brian Urlacher and defensive end Julius Peppers as major reasons for this season's improvement.

"We were a 7-9 team last year," Smith said. "Getting a player like Brian Urlacher back has meant the world to our team. Julius Peppers has been everything we wanted him to be. He's played as advertised. We've had our role players who have stepped up and filled our roles, and our stars have played that way each week, and that's why we're here."

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