Bears inspired by point spread

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:27 PM ET

TORONTO - NFL.com noted after Monday night’s game that the Bears were motivated because they were eight-point underdogs to the Eagles.

“We’re a good football team, just not getting a whole lot of respect,” head coach Lovie Smith said. “When you go on the road, the Chicago Bears shouldn’t be eight-point underdogs when we come and play a team, and the guys took notice of that.”

The league sets up a whole department dedicated to eradicating the evils of gambling and then a head coach comes out and tells the world everyone in his dressing room is inspired by a point spread. Someone. Quick. Smelling salts for Mr. Goodell.

ONLY THE GUILTY SHOULD BE STRESSED

The National Football League wants to implement testing for human growth hormone immediately.

Considering the size of some of these guys, it’s not difficult to imagine why this would be a good idea.

Some of these guys might not be real bright when it comes to what they put in their bodies but they’d be a sure-fire winner at the Royal Winter Fair in the biggest vegetable contest. OK, maybe that’s harsh.

But it is exasperating when Jake Scott, the Titans’ player representative, comes along and says the NFL should wait until March to introduce HGH testing.

This was supposed to be a dead issue when the lockout ended with the union agreeing to implement testing. But the union has to approve the procedures and so far has refused to do so, on the grounds it wants more information.

Scott says a solution would be “if we ... do it in March when players can sit down and the league can sit down and you don’t have the stress and the strain of a football season going on to deal with it.”

This isn’t complicated. This isn’t open-heart surgery. It’s a simple doping test. The only stress here is if a guy is playing dirty. In which case, he deserves to be stressed.

WATCH OUT FOR DA BEARS

The Chicago Bears are on a roll.

They’ve won three games in a row.

Jay Cutler isn’t everyone’s favourite tackling dummy lately and Matt Forte is clicking along like a runaway locomotive. Cutler was 18 for 32 for 208 yards, two touchdowns with no interceptions and no sacks in Monday’s 30-24 win over the Eagles.

Earl Bennett had five catches for 95 yards, Forte (24 carries, 133 yards) was superb, and the defence was at its ornery best. Linebacker Lance Briggs tipped a pass that was intercepted by Major Wright, and Brian Urlacher (10 tackles) was all over the field.

There’s only one thing standing in the way of getting back into the playoff race. The Detroit Lions. The Bears, who remain third in the NFC North behind Green Bay (8-0) and Detroit (6-2), host the upstart Lions led by Matthew Stafford Sunday in a key division game.

The Lions are coming off their bye week so have had time to prepare and repeating as NFC North champs will be difficult for the Bears. But if there’s a good time to play the Lions, it could be now. While the Bears are playing well, the Lions’ Jahvid Best will miss his third game with a concussion and with the ground game struggling, Detroit has signed free agent offensive guard Leonard Davis and resigned running back Kevin Smith.

Smith rushed for 976 yards as a rookie with the Lions before knee and thumb injuries sidelined him for almost two years. He’ll play behind Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams.

LINDELL ALIVE, BUT NOT KICKING

The Buffalo Bills have signed kicker Dave Rayner as a short-term replacement for Rian Lindell, who is expected to miss two to six weeks, after he injured his shoulder against the Jets. Lindell was hurt making a diving touchdown-saving tackle, tripping up Joe McKnight on a 59-yard kickoff return to open the second half.

The club also placed Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams on season-ending injured reserve with a foot injury. Lindell is a tough act to follow. He hadn’t missed a game in his nine seasons in Buffalo, and ranks second on the team with 204 career field goals and 875 points.

Rayner has played for seven teams over parts of six NFL seasons, Last season, he hit 13 of 16 field-goal attempts — including a 55-yarder — in eight games with Detroit. His best season came in 2006 with Green Bay, where he hit 26 of 35 attempts and had 109 points in 16 games.


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