Chicago -- Alex Brown stopped the question in mid-sentence. How important for the defensive line, he was asked, was the play yesterday of the backups in ...
"We don't have `backups,'" Brown said. "We have other starters who come in. We don't have backups, just guys who come in and give each other breaks."
The "other starters" provided one break after another and were pivotal as the Chicago Bears beat the Ravens, 10-6, yesterday and held an opponent to fewer than 200 yards of offense for the first time this season.
Tank Johnson, inserted on passing downs, collected his first two sacks of the season. Alfonso Boone, playing frequently at defensive end in the Bears' scheme to throttle the power running of Jamal Lewis, had two tackles and shared a sack with Michael Haynes.
Haynes, stunned when he was deactivated for last weekend's game against the Minnesota Vikings, played extensively at the end and stood strong against the Ravens' massive offensive tackles.
Haynes' confidence may have gotten a much-needed boost despite the initial disappointment at his inactive status last week. He met Monday with coach Lovie Smith and came away with a message he needed to hear.
"After talking to Coach about where I stand and what I need to do to play, I think it really got me confident, even though it was a little bit of a reality check, a little harsh," Haynes said.
"But at least I know where I stand. And what I got from all that was confidence, knowing that the coaches aren't trying to write me off. That allowed me to approach this week and really trust in myself and my abilities."
Johnson was credited with five solo tackles, tops among defensive linemen. He also applied pressure that twice forced Ravens quarterback Anthony Wright out of the pocket and to throw away passes rather than take sacks.
"When they're in a passing situation and our secondary is doing such a good job of stopping the receivers and routes, we come out better because the quarterback has to hold the ball longer," Johnson said. "It felt good to put some good things on film and really contribute to the defense.
"We just believe that there's not much falloff between our first team and second team. Boone and I just try to come in and make sure there is no drop-off."
John Mullin writes for the Chicago Tribune.