The Bears often get in trouble by playing too conservative on offense. They went 3-and-out four times in a row in the fourth quarter, running on 11 of the 12 plays, and blew a 10-0 lead in Denver. But that’s understandable with the brutal Caleb Hanie (6 interceptions the previous two weeks, 115 yards passing Sunday) at quarterback.

The Bears often get in trouble by playing too conservative on offense. They went 3-and-out four times in a row in the fourth quarter, running on 11 of the 12 plays, and blew a 10-0 lead in Denver. But that’s understandable with the brutal Caleb Hanie (6 interceptions the previous two weeks, 115 yards passing Sunday) at quarterback.


No, this time Chicago’s problem was playing scared on defense. Tim Tebow was 3-for-16 for 45 yards through three quarters. With 4:34 left and a 10-0 lead, Chicago backed its safeties up to prevent big plays. Tebow took lots of small ones. He was 18-for-24 for 191 yards in the fourth quarter and OT in the 13-10 win. Tebow has done this four weeks in a row against prevent defenses.


2003 draft still haunts Bears


Terrell Suggs forced three fumbles with three sacks for Baltimore, giving him 13 sacks on the season and 81.5 for his career. Coupled with reports that Bears GM Jerry Angelo might retire after the season, it seems a good time to revisit Angelo’s 2003 first-round draft moves. Angelo could have traded up one spot and taken the greatest wide receiver in Chicago history (five-time Pro Bowler Andre Johnson). Instead, he traded down from No. 4 to Nos. 14 and 22, losing chances to pick Suggs (No. 10) and five-time All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams (No. 9).


Angelo chose Michael Haynes two spots in front of All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu and passed on three future All-Pros (Dallas Clark, Larry Johnson and Nnamdi Asomugha) and a 7,000-yard rusher (Willis McGahee), who all went in the next 10 picks after Angelo took Rex Grossman.


Pass rush with no help


Jared Allen had three more sacks, giving him 17.5. Has any player ever had a better season playing on a worse defense? Allen needs 5.5 sacks to break the NFL record on a Vikings team that ranks 30th in points allowed in 26 in pass defense.


Bad call vs. Vikings hurts Bears


The worst non-call of the season might cost Chicago a playoff spot. The Bears fell a game behind the Lions after DeAndre Levy got away with blatantly grabbing Joe Webb’s facemask and forcing a fumble on the final play from the 1 in Detroit’s 34-28 win over Minnesota. The Vikings should have had one final play from the half-yard line. Detroit has several players every bit as dirty as Ndamukong Suh, which means the fault lies with coach Jim Schwartz.


Pats coach calls out Brady


Turns out Jay Cutler isn’t the only quarterback who swears at his offensive coordinator during games. Tom Brady got into a heated argument with Bill O’Brien after throwing an end zone interception on a drive that could have clinched the Patriots’ win over the Redskins.


“That’s what I deserve, you know,” Brady later told reporters. “If you make bad plays, you’re supposed to get yelled at by your coaches.”


The folly of short-yardage runs


Cleveland on Thursday stopped Pittsburgh on four straight runs from inside the 2. Too many of even the best teams still don’t realize you can’t run up the middle against a short-yardage defense without misdirection or play-action.


Packers could be best ever


The Packers and the 2007 Patriots are the only teams in recent history that seem to realize the NFL crowns a Super Bowl champion every year but that teams get only one chance to go down as the greatest in history. If Green Bay goes 19-0, the Packers will go down as the all-time best as surely as the 1996 Bulls and 1927 Yankees wear the “best-ever” titles in basketball and baseball.


Matt Trowbridge’s NFL Quick Shots appear Tuesdays. Contact him at 815-987-1383 or mtrowbridge@rrstar.com.