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BEARS POSTGAME QUOTES: Lovie Smith, Jay Cutler, Chris Harris, Lance Briggs, Devin Hester, Rex Ryan

Lovie Smith:

Opening Statement

“When you have two 10-4 teams playing late in the season, playoff berths and different things like that on the line you expect a game like that. Great football game for the fans this week. Short week for our guys. Coming off a Monday night game you always wonder exactly what you’re going to get early on but I thought the guys were ready to play. We talk a lot about finishing and that’s definitely what we did. Special Teams – like they have just about every game we’ve had here – played a big part in the win, especially the second half when we needed to get momentum. I think three consecutive series they had a big play come. Offensively, we knew we were playing a team that would give us a lot of pressure and we knew that there would be a lot of one-on-one situations; match-ups outside to win. Our receivers did a great job of winning those battles. In order to do that you have to have protection. We’ve seen our offensive line get better and better each week. Running-game wise of course you have to run the ball this time of the year. Matt Forte was outstanding like he has been lately it seems. Defensively, they scored more points than we would like but turnovers were big throughout the game. Again, when you have two good teams it normally comes down to that. Big play by Chris Harris, of course, there late making that interception. For us, we look at it, this is playoff football and there’s not going to be any blowouts in playoff football. You have to finish the game and or guys did that. Injury wise, didn’t have a whole lot to talk about – came out of it in pretty-good shape.”

On the Vikings-Eagles game situation and its effect on the Bears preparation

“We control whether we get the bye or not. So for us it’s about – we have a lot of reasons to be pumped up for this game: it’s our rival – Green Bay coming up – and of course we’re playing for that first-round bye. So for us, what happens with Philly doesn’t really matter a lot to us to get ready. We want to be in this position right here with an 11-4 record getting ready to play another NFC North opponent.”

On their outlook for the next week and the possibility of the game being
flexed

“You have a preference each week. Our preference is to play it at twelve o’clock and go, but it really doesn’t matter. I mean it’s Green Bay – it’s our rival – we’ll play them anytime. We look forward to it. I know they’re excited about playing us. We will get back to a regular game week routine which should help out guys. But they did a great job of preparing last week.”

Jay Cutler:

On how the offense has improved over the season

“We getting more used to things. You can’t come out here week one and expect to be firing on all cylinders. We haven’t experienced some of the plays put in and installed. Until you really go out there and rep them and see looks and know how to react, it’s not going to come together. Now everything is starting to come together, the guys are really picking it up, the offensive line playing well, Matt Forte is running extremely hard. So, it’s fun out there.”

Chris Harris:

On the turnovers

“First one, they ran a reverse and we got it out, the fumble on the reverse. I was just running to the ball and Peanut didn’t quite get it, so I just wanted to make sure that it didn’t go out of bounds and I came up with it.”

Lance Briggs:

On if the fake punt came as a surprise

“Can’t really be surprised by anything. They want to win just like we
want to win. They saw something that was an opportunity to continue that drive and they tried for it. Rashied [Davis] made a great play on that.”

On the turning point in today’s game

“I think there were a lot of turning points in this game. I think one turning point was when we forced them to kick that field goal. When you think of a game like this between the Jets and the Bears and then you look up and its 31-31, goodness.”

Devin Hester:

On capitalizing when given the chance on special teams

“It felt great. I wanted to get my hands on the ball again and we knew that it wouldn’t be a lot. So the opportunities that we did have, we wanted to make some plays.”

On getting the crowd into it and pumping himself up

“We were just having fun. If you can’t have fun, then you shouldn’t be playing football. I don’t get that many opportunities, so when I do I want to make them miss.”

Jets coach Rex Ryan:

Opening Statement

“First off, you knew it was going to be a dog fight against the Bears in Chicago. Two good football teams going at it and it came down to the fact that they made more good plays than we did, obviously. That’s really what it came down to.”

On the fake punt

“We worked it all week. We felt good about it. Obviously we made that call. Quite honestly, the ball got in Hester’s hands and we knew where it was going to end up. It’s just one of those things where we thought that play was there, and we knew that play was there. Again, we have to execute that play”

On Devin Hester’s play in the second half and field position

“That was disappointing to say the least. I can understand you get a play or two, but we’re going in there trying to kick the ball away from that guy. We tried to do it all day and he got his hands on it. That’s when you see how important it is to kick the ball away from that kid. He’s the best returner in the game.”

On whether two of Hester’s returns were not supposed to be going to him

“That’s my understanding. That’s all I’m going to say.”