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Chicago Bears' defense not stressing offense's funk

Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall were supposed to be the answer to this.

The Chicago Bears have had some spectacular defenses in the 2000s, only to be handcuffed by problematic offenses. That seemed to be a thing of the past this season as the Bears jumped out to a 7-1 start while averaging 29.5 points. The offensive line was an issue, but Cutler and Co. made plays when the quarterback stayed upright. The Bears have gone 1-5 since and averaged 14.1 points.

"I think that's a question you have to ask me at the end of the year," linebacker Lance Briggs told the Chicago Sun-Times. "We win these next two games and we get into the playoffs and make a run ... that question, it's hard to answer right now."

Marshall has been critical of the offense, but you haven't heard much from the defense. The unit is the No. 3 scoring defense in the NFL as their teammates run the 29th-ranked total offense.

"We just focus on what we've got to do," defensive tackle Henry Melton said. "When we're out there, we don't really focus on what the offense is doing.

"It's always great when you hear the crowd go crazy and they put up points, but we play versus the other team's defense. We're trying to outplay them. That's what we go into the game trying to do."

The Bears' defense has done that plenty during three double-digit win seasons since 2005. But the offense continues to be a dragging anchor -- even with Cutler, Marshall, Matt Forte and rookie receiver Ashlon Jeffery.

Chicago likely needs to win its final two games to get into the playoffs, despite the hot start to the season.

"This is literally my worst nightmare," Briggs said. "But we still have a chance, though, to get into the playoffs. It can't get any worse than this, I hope."

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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