It wasn't quite a Muhsin Muhammad moment for both Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith after the way the Bears season has gone and the way their defense gifted Sunday's 16-13 game to Baltimore.
It was Muhammad, the former Bears and Panthers receiver, who after a season-ending 52-9 loss to the Raiders while with Carolina quipped: "Amid all the ashes and rubble, a flower bloomed today," because he went over 100 catches for the season.
Quinn on Sunday made 3 1/2 sacks, passed in history only by three other Bears for a single-game total, and it brought him to 10 for the year. He's within striking distance of some other high-water Bears sack marks as a result, and it was a single-high total for his career.
Smith, meanwhile, had a career-high 17 tackles. The last time someone for the Bears had more in a game was the fabled "They are what we thought they were," game when Brian Urlacher had 19 against coach Denny Green's Cardinals in 2006.
In the end, neither Quinn nor Smith wanted to talk about those personal marks because like Muhammad's personal milestone in that 52-9 loss, the totals didn't matter after the Bears defense handed way the game
"I mean, Roquan is a monster," Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson said. "Just going back and watching the film, during the game I'm in the moment, I'm not really seeing everything he's doing. I'm focused on what I need to be focused on. But after watching the film and looking back on, and even talking to my brother, it was funny he gained a whole different respect for Roquan. And I was like 'why did you say that' and he was like 'he's just a monster. He runs sideline to sideline, hitting people, run back, rinse wash repeat, hitting people.'
"I mean when you think about it, you take it for granted when you're on his team. But I just sat back and was looking like 'damn, he's a monster.' He really leads our team, he really brings us all together, he plays with a different mindset. You can see it on the field."
Smith is now tied for third in the NFL in tackles with 110, trailing only Bobby Wagner of the Seahawks and Denzel Perryman of Las Vegas.
If Smith is playing better, he said it might just be because there are a couple more "eyes" on him than in the past. He did notice in Sunday's game how many tackles he was piling up.
"I felt like I was around a couple plays definitely that first half," Smith said. "I was like, yeah, I'm throwing a couple of plays and like we were playing pretty solid on defense. So that's my main concern every game is just more so how we're playing on defense because I could have three tackles and if we can get the Dub and everyone is doing their job I'm all about it."
Quinn's 3 1/2 sacks were bested only three times by a Bears pass rusher since they kept track of sacks at the 1970 merger. Richard Dent has the record at 4 1/2 against the Raiders Dec. 27, 1987, and defensive tackle Jim Osborne had four against the Vikings Sept. 23, 1973. Alex Brown also had four against the Giants Nov. 7, 2004.
With 10 sacks, Quinn now needs three to reach third for a single season for the Bears. He'd need to go a ways to get to Richard Dent's team record of 17 1/2 from 1984 and the 17 Dent had in 1985. Quinn's career high is 19 sacks for his third season while with St. Louis.
"That guy there stepped up big time and I've got a lot of respect for that guy and just the way the guy goes about his work each and every day, practicing really hard and doing everything the right way," Smith said of Quinn. "And so I'm happy for the guy. The guy was making those plays. He does it every week. So it was great to be able to see that."
Quinn stepped up with Khalil Mack out for the year now due to a foot injury. His 10 sacks have come just a year after he had two for the year.
Like Smith, he wanted nothing to do with flowers in the rubble. Quinn was irate over the final drive by the Ravens to the game-winning touchdown but found fault with his own play.
"I know one drive, I'll point to myself, I got out leveraged and on that drive they got three points so if I did a better job, maybe three points are off the board and it's a whole different game," Quinn said. "At the end of the day, we were out there, we had our opportunity to close the game as a defense which we pride ourselves on and we didn't do that. So we really gotta look ourselves in the mirror and figure out who we really are."