To their credit, Bears defensive players wanted no part of receiving credit for keeping the team within striking distance into the early fourth quarter Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
They had a more lofty goal. Besides, the Browns eventually made it embarrassing.
The dam gave way under pressure from Cleveland's relentless running game and the Browns pulled away for a 26-6 victory.
"It is a marathon, not a sprint, so can't look at it as 'hanging in there for a while,' " linebacker Roquan Smith said. "At the end of the day, you have to finish what you start. It was a loss.
"Hats off to those guys (Browns). They came out and did what they did."
The Browns ran for 215 yards on 42 carries, the most yards a Bears defense has allowed on the ground since Matt Nagy became head coach. In fact, it was the most allowed by a Bears defense since Dec. 18, 2016 when Green Bay piled up 226 yards.
"Not finishing and just wrapping the guys up," Smith said. "We had a lot of opportunities. We had a couple of missed tackles. We just have to take advantage of those opportunities when we have them and make the most of it.
"It is not hard. Football is tackling and keeping the guys from scoring."
They were on the field a long time without scoring support from the offense. Defensive players say it's their job to stop the opponent no matter what, but complementary football wins in the NFL and leaving the defense on the field for over 39 minutes of a game while completing six passes is not complementary football.
"You just have to keep fighting," Smith said. "You can't look at all the circumstances, because at the end of the day, we all signed a contract to go out there and play ball. I am not worried about how much I am out on the field."
Outside linebacker Robert Quinn was not up for leaning on a crutch, either.
"We only have control on one side," outside linebacker Robert Quinn said. "All I do is play defense, so my job is keeping points off the board.
"As far as special teams and offense, we have no control over that. We just have to keep the energy on the defensive side. That is all we can control anyway."
The Bears defense did more than keep them close for a half. They inflicted damage with their pass rush.
They added five more sacks even with Khalil Mack missing a chunk of the first half due to a foot sprain, although he returned in the second half.
Mack had two sacks, Robert Quinn 1 1/2, Mario Edwards his first sack in his first game back from a suspension and Angelo Blackson got in on half a sack.
For the second straight game, they lined up Mack and Quinn next to each other and it worked.
"We seemed to give the offense a headache, seemed to go to double team, gave the offense some problems," Quinn said. "We have to make sure we affect the game in a good way."
They did. It was a case where the Bears own offense affected their defense in a bad way, whether the defense wants to admit it or not.