Bears trying to seize moment
Chicago defeated Seattle 37-6 in the teams' first meeting this season.
CHICAGO (AP) -- An impossible to miss, mysterious sign was planted near the driveway to the Chicago Bears' practice complex this week, imploring a team desperate for a playoff victory: "Play Angry."
Getting mad won't necessarily secure a victory today for the Chicago Bears on what should be a frosty and perhaps snowy Soldier Field. Playing well against the Seattle Seahawks, the defending NFC champions, is more important.
Since they lugged personal belongings into their training camp dormitory six months ago, the Bears have been saying two magic words: Super Bowl.
"I don't want to be one of those players [saying], 'I'm going to wait 'til next year,' " Bears defensive back Charles Tillman said.
"I might never have it. We might never make it this far again. Who am I to say? Now that we are in, now is the time to seize the moment."
The Bears didn't do that a year ago in a similar scenario.
After winning a division title, securing a first-round bye and playing a team they had already beaten in the regular season, the Bears were ousted by the Carolina Panthers when Steve Smith put on a pass-catching clinic at Soldier Field.
The player Smith burned a couple of times during the long afternoon was Tillman, going around him early for a TD when the Bears cornerback stumbled, and later outjumping him for a pass that set up a field goal.
Tillman, sidelined the final two weeks of this regular season with a sore back, has a chance to bounce back. And he should be busy against the Seahawks' multiple-receiver sets.
Atoning for his postseason performance of a year ago motivates him -- to a certain extent.
"I'm not going to say 'I played a bad game, Errrr, I got to play better now,' " Tillman said. "Disappointment is my personal trainer, so yeah it fuels me in a sense."
Seattle came to Soldier Field on Oct. 1 missing some of its offensive firepower, most notably last year's MVP Shaun Alexander and tight end Jerramy Stevens, and left Chicago with a lopsided 37-6 defeat. Now they're expecting a better performance, hoping to give Matt Hasselbeck more time to throw after he was sacked five times in the first meeting.
Both teams are working around key injuries. Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who sacked Hasselbeck twice in October, is out, as is safety and team leader Mike Brown. And Chicago's defense in the final month was not the dominant force it was earlier.
Seattle's big concern is a patched-up secondary that turned to reinforcements from other walks of life after Marcus Trufant, Kelly Herndon and Jimmy Williams all were hurt.
Among those signed were Rich Gardner and Pete Hunter. Hunter had worked in a mortgage office in Dallas while away from the game.
"Well, usually you don't have a lot of loan officers back there playing," Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said comically.
"I'll be nervous about it until we stop playing. ...They've only been here a couple days and then all the sudden you're throwing them out there in a playoff situation against some of the best receivers in football. It's tough duty."
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