The Bears Den: December 20, 2012 - Week 16 News and Notes

USA TODAY Sports

Could be the last ever Bears Den, if certain interpretations of the Mayan calendar were correct. It's been a privilege.

Olin Kreutz's speech was catalyst to comeback at Arizona - Brad Biggs: Devin Hester's punt return TD and defensive scores by Mike Brown and Charles Tillman are what most people remember about the last time the Bears played at Arizona. The players remember Olin's halftime speech.

Dispatches from Newtown: how a sports complex offered a reprieve for a day - Amy K. Nelson found a place in Newtown, Connecticut where kids could be kids for a day: the local sports complex.

Peter King's TMQB - Mark Sanchez's struggles can't be ignored by Jets anymore, and readers' mailbag.

Team report - Expecting to remedy all the maladies that have befallen the Bears is especially unrealistic this week against a Cardinals defense that has played very well at times.

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Bears-Cardinals

Game preview - Cutler had three touchdowns and an interception in the Bears' most recent matchup with Arizona on Nov. 8, 2009, but Chicago was hardly competitive in a 41-21 home defeat.

Know thy enemy - Dan Durkin: When you’re starting a sixth-round rookie QB who got the job because he was simply less bad, your season has officially bottomed out. Welcome to the 2012 Arizona Cardinals.

Bears offense knows it must step up in Arizona - Larry Mayer: The Bears offense doesn't have to cure all of its ills Sunday in Arizona; the unit simply has to play well enough to help the team record a much-needed victory over the Cardinals.

Know thy enemy - Adam L. Jahns: Cutler has been sacked 36 times and has thrown 14 interceptions this season. What does the Cards’ underrated defense excel at? Sacking the QB and getting picks.

Know thy enemy - Fred Mitchell: Cardinals pass defense their strong suit; Cutler and Marshall will face a tough challenge against CB Patrick Peterson and rest of secondary.

Reflections on Lovie Smith, playoffs and who the Bears have played - Moon Mullin: Lovie Smith helped the Bears out to a 7-1 record but struggled when they faced the top-half of the league. But he has a chance to turn the 8-6 record into a positive...or a negative.

Team notes - Brad Biggs: Kahlil Bell could take over in short-yardage situations; injury news. Team signs guard Reggie Stephens to PS.

Injury report - Sean Jensen: Heading into a must-win game in Arizona, the Bears appear to be getting dramatically healthier. Moon Mullin: Urlacher on track for Detroit?

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Other Bears news

Marshall clarifies accountability comments - Moon Mullin: Brandon Marshall said everyone needed to be accountable, even if it meant taking away jobs. Some of the folks in those jobs appear not to have appreciated Marshall’s public calling-out.

From wild card to ace - Jon Greenberg: When the Bears traded for Marshall, it was fair to wonder what they were getting: a franchise receiver or a time bomb? The wild card has become the ace.

Brandon Marshall adds leadership to his leading role - David Haugh: No Bears player has represented the organization more impressively on or off the field in 2012.

Brandon Marshall has been great, but his teams never can close deal - Mark Potash: Even with his magnificent season, the Bears rank lower in passing than they did last year without him. Bennett and Hester have shriveled when they should have blossomed.

Cutler stresses staying on the task at hand - Brad Biggs: QB says struggling Bears can't concern themselves with postseason changes as they must win final two games on the road to make playoffs.

No Bears should be safe, not even Cutler - Barry Rozner: Does Emery go for patchwork and try to get something together so Cutler can succeed next season? He needs an OL, WRs, a TE, coaching, play calls and a system. Or does Emery rip the entire mess apart and draft a new QB?

That stench? Oh, that's the Bears' best players - Rosendoom: If the Bears are going to make the playoffs, or even win another game, their stars have to play like stars.

Contrary to what Urlacher says, Bears have earned the boos - Bob LeGere shares your butt-hurtness.

Brian Urlacher's career in photos - You can spend your last day on earth clicking through and booing each one!

Bears’ Urlacher is a spoiled brat - Carol Marin tells you to ditch your #54 jerseys donate them to me.

Larry and Lovie - In his weekly Q&A with ChicagoBears.com, Lovie Smith discusses ending the team's slump, facing an impressive Cardinals defense and losing Michael Bush.

Dan Pompei's Bears mailbag - Q&A on possible new head coaches, Alshon Jeffery's penalties, Cutler's passing technique and more.

Could the Bears be this year's Giants? - Maggie Hendricks: The 2011-12 Giants serve as proof that the key to the NFL playoffs is just getting in. It's not yet time to abandon all hope.

ESPN Chicago Chatwrap - Jurko's Q&A session. The Good Kid doesn't sound overly optimistic or jovial.

ProFootballFocus: 32 Teams, 32 Observations - Charles Tillman has a Tackling Efficiency of 36.0, which is the second highest for all CBs.

Matt Forte talks about the Bears’ troubles, the Packers and holiday traditions - Maggie Hendricks caught up with the Bears RB in the backfield, on short yardage, killing the drive.

Dionne Miller's `Happenings at Halas` - December 19: It was clear that Brandon Marshall's post game presser was heard loud and clear with the Bears front office.

Matt Toeaina expects to require knee scope - Brad Biggs: DT missed time earlier this season with a calf injury but said the nagging knee problem was the bigger issue.

Is it just me, or does Sackman's Brandon Marshall TD Bunch design look more like GTA3 artwork?

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Polish sausage

Matt Bowen's playbook - Kaepernick lights up the Patriots: All-22 look at TD pass to Delanie Walker.

Matt Bowen's playbook - Which three keys allowed the Cowboys’ Brandon Carr to make a big time play? All-22 look at CB's INT vs. Roethlisberger.

Know thy enemy: Lions - Kevin Seifert on disappointing run defense and the Lions' 'Wide 9' scheme.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Bucky Brooks: Adrian Peterson and the Vikings have discovered a major weakness in many NFL defenses, and they're exploiting it to run roughshod over the league.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Kevin Seifert lists Adrian Peterson's credentials for this season's MVP award.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Kevin Seifert: If the Vikings are thinking of moving on from Ponder, the pickings are slim with only one bona fide prospect in the draft and Alex Smith being the only obvious starter possibily available. (Seifert obviously wrote this before the news that the Jets were looking to trade Mark Sanchez avec $8.25m salary for 2013, of which a trade partner would have to pay $3M - yeah, good luck with that - and possibly Teeeebowwww came out. Perhaps we could trade them Cutler.)

Feds: Daughter cashed dead father's NFL pension - The daughter of former Bear John Helwig, who played for the team in the 1950s, is accused of illegally collecting money from an NFL pension plan years after her father's death.

Joy to the world, assuming it doesn't end tomorrow!

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