Chicago's Grossman-ia

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

They have suffered through Henry Burris and Kordell Stewart, Cade McNown and Craig Krenzel, Kyle Orton and ... should we just stop there?

In their zeal to build the hardest hitting teams in the NFL over the years, the Chicago Bears have regularly discounted the significance of the most skilled position in the game.

Put simply, they've worried more about ripping the head of opposing quarterbacks than developing one of their own.

Sure, they had Jim McMahon, but that was 20 years ago and his popularity was almost as much in his off-field act as his on-field action.

No wonder then, that the Windy City is in full gust over the apparent arrival of Rex Grossman even though he has had just 11 starts as an NFL quarterback.

After Sunday night's thorough thumping of the reigning NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, that was the most- popular conclusion.

Never mind the defence -- Bears fans and opponents have known about that for years. A competent quarterback? Now that was something new to get excited about.

Grossman's 17 completions on 31 attempts for 232 yards and two touchdowns in the 37-6 win wasn't Peyton Manning material, but it was more than adequate.

And for this bunch of Bears, good enough might by great.

The game had all sorts of meaning for a team set on proving itself as more than a group that bloats its record on the bottom-feeders of the NFC North.

It was nice, for instance, to finally get their kicks at the Seahawks.

They expected it to happen in the NFC championship game a year ago, but the Carolina Panthers interrupted that party by marching into Soldier Field for an NFC divisional playoff and leaving town with a 29-21 win.

Grossman was at the helm then, but without a full season under his belt, it was clear he wasn't ready to face the Panthers and their own fairly fearsome defence.

Management wasn't even convinced of Grossman's ability -- either to play or stay healthy -- and in the off-season signed journeyman Brian Griese as backup insurance.

Oft-injured Grossman was perceived as soft, hardly a fit for the hard-core fans of Chi-town and for a team that believed the quarterback was its only missing link.

Suddenly though, he looks like a star in the making. When the former Florida Gator was named the NFC's offensive player of the month for September, it was the first time in Bears history that one of their QBs was so honoured.

WILL STRUGGLE

There will be days when Grossman will struggle and let's be honest, for as much as the quarterback came of age Sunday night, you can argue that he was, at best, the third most important factor in the victory.

The two Ricky Manning Jr. interceptions on back-to-back second-quarter drives took the Seahawks out of it.

And on both sides of the ball -- be it stopping the run on defence or making it happen for on offence -- the Bears aim to punish opponents.

Whenever the Bears have been good in recent seasons, their calling card has been defence and this team is no different.

By the time the clock struck midnight Sunday, the Seahawks were a beaten bunch and looked woefully unable to compete physically. Just about any team the Bears face -- including the Buffalo Bills this Sunday -- will get that feeling.

For the third time in four games, the Bears defence failed to yield a touchdown. They've also created turnovers that have led to an imposing 30 points.

It doesn't take a superstar quarterback to keep that train running, just one to keep it on the rails.


Videos

Photos