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updated: 11/17/2013 8:57 PM

Bears find the will, a way to win

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  • Bears tight end Martellus Bennett sheds the tackle of Ravens defender James Ihedigbo for a 43-yard overtime reception that set up the game-winning field goal Sunday.

      Bears tight end Martellus Bennett sheds the tackle of Ravens defender James Ihedigbo for a 43-yard overtime reception that set up the game-winning field goal Sunday.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

There is an odd vibe developing within the Bears' locker room.

Odd as in confidence, belief in the face of so much adversity that it almost defies logic.

Twice in a span of three weeks, the Bears have won a game they seemingly couldn't, and Brandon Marshall is pretty clear as to why it occurred.

"Marc Trestman is a special individual," Marshall said after the Bears' 23-20 overtime victory Sunday at Soldier Field. "He breeds that kind of feeling that you're going to do good things as a team and as a player. He connects with you intellectually. He has a connection with every player."

Asked if all NFL players claim to love their head coach, Marshall said, "I don't know about that. Maybe. I just know that we have something very good happening here."

What's happening is the Bears (6-4) are staying alive in the playoff race despite a rash of injuries to very important players, like their starting quarterback and three best defensive players.

And, yet, they won in Green Bay by knocking out Aaron Rodgers, and beat Baltimore on Sunday with a 34-year-old career backup quarterback -- Josh McCown -- who stared down a fierce pass rush, horrific field and weather conditions, and an opposing QB -- Joe Flacco -- who marched the Ravens to the Super Bowl last season and became the NFL's highest-paid player with a $120 million contract.

"The No. 1 job of the quarterback is to protect the football, and that's the No. 1 reason we were able to stay in the game," Trestman said. "Before we went out there we talked about that as a team. The team that took care of the football and created turnovers was going to be in a position to win the game."

The game took a back seat to the weather as the day started in summer, ended in winter and in between endured the worst storm many have ever seen hit a professional sports venue, but that was a break the Bears needed, and Trestman took full advantage.

The coaches did walk-throughs with the offense, straightening out issues from the first two series, while an engaged Trestman walked through the locker room, stopping constantly to talk to his players.

"I sat in the locker room with the players," Trestman said. "I walked around the room. Went over plays with them. Walked through the first 15 with them. Played a little catch with Brandon. I went over to the defensive side, talked a little bit. Sat down on the floor with Tim Jennings.

"I just moved around, kept busy. Met with the coaches. Made sure we reinforced what we were going to do, managed how we were going to get it done."

The Bears were clearly distracted by the inevitable disruption and came out flat, trailing 10-0 in the first quarter, looking as though they were waiting for the weather to hit, and then benefiting greatly from the nearly two-hour delay.

"I needed it," Marshall said. "The first two drives I felt a disconnect in our huddle from the quarterback to the receivers to the offensive line. I asked around how everyone else was feeling, and everyone felt the same. For us to come in, we needed that. We got on the same page."

But unlike those in areas devastated by the tornadoes, the Bears survived unscathed.

"I want to let the people out there, especially in Peoria, know we're thinking about them," Marshall said. "It's not all about football. They're in our thoughts. We're praying it's not as bad as it looks."

The only damage at Soldier Field was to the turf, which was more mud than grass by the time the waterlogged field got just a few minutes of play.

"Worst field I've ever played on in my life -- by far," said Bears rookie Jon Bostic, who played on many wet fields in Florida. "I have a lot of experience playing in the rain and going through delays, so I tried to use that to my advantage."

The best advantage for the Bears turned out to be Baltimore's odd play-calling, which consistently got away from a successful run game when it was nearly impossible to throw in a ferocious, swirling wind, and Flacco handing the Bears 10 points off two poorly thrown balls that were picked in the second quarter.

That allowed the Bears to hang around long enough to survive the day and move back into a position where they can still dream about playing in January.

"This game was reflective of the kind of team we want to build," McCown said. "We're all a part of it. We fought through some adversity and we all had a hand in it."

Even if it was difficult afterward to explain.

"So much happened out there and I can't really remember which quarter was which, and what was before the delay and after," said safety Chris Conte. "I know we won the game. Just a great team win."

Of that, the Bears can be confident.

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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