Burden too heavy for Bears' defense

CHICAGO -- The bravado is what has defined the Chicago Bears' defense, what has seemingly always defined it, its sense of ownership and responsibility for the team's fortunes ingrained as a sort of birthright, which is both admirable as well as practical.

And so it was no surprise when first Jay Cutler went down, and then Matt Forte, that Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs and the bunch would promise to take care of things, to hold the team together, to carry the load.

"That's just how we think," cornerback Charles Tillman said. "If we're winning, the defense, I still think, will say 'It's on us.' I think that's just who we are, that's how we are. We know Coach [Lovie] Smith is a defensive head coach, and we like to take the load and we take it with pride."

So how shocking is it after four straight losses, including a rather atypical effort in Sunday's 38-14 loss to Seattle, that the Bears' defense could not fulfill its pledge?

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