Tommie Harris: 'Back to the drawing board'

Phil Arvia

Most of his teammates weren’t in a very playful mood after their season-opening loss to the San Diego Chargers, but Tommie Harris hasn’t been able to get his fill of playing for a very long time. So forgive the Bears defensive tackle for his not-exactly-dour countenance Sunday afternoon.

When it was suggested, despite the 14-3 final, that the Bears defense looked awfully impressive, Harris said, “Awfully impressive? Is that an oxymoron? You said ‘awful.’

“Yeah, we looked all right,” he continued. “But we didn’t do enough. We lost.”

Asked if the defense needed to create more turnovers, he said, “Yeah. What, we had four today?”

Actually, two.

“So, I mean, we’ve got to do more,” he said. “Maybe we could get eight or 10 and probably pull a win off. We didn’t do enough today. ... We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and straighten those things out.”

Harris’ presence can only help. In each of the seven games (including playoffs) they played after Harris was lost to a ruptured hamstring last season, the Bears allowed more than 300 yards of offense. Sunday, they allowed only 263 yards and 14 points to a team that led the league in scoring last season. League MVP LaDainian Tomlinson managed only 25 yards on 17 carries.

“I felt good,” Harris said. “Gotta play longer. Gotta play stronger. Gotta get it done.”

Though Harris was credited with only two tackles, he made what looked at the time to be a game-saving play midway through the third quarter. On second-and-goal at the Bears 1, Harris appeared to leap offside, causing a mishandled snap between Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and center Nick Hardwick. The Bears recovered the fumble and kept their 3-0 lead.

“If you’ve watched me in the past, I always get off the ball,” Harris said. “I get off the ball every day the same way.”

Told he appeared to catch a flyer, Harris said, “I study film.”

Asked what he saw on that particular play, he answered, “I can’t tell you. Everybody will watch out for it.”

As for the notion most people watching the replay would believe he was offside, Harris said, “It didn’t count. They didn’t call it. Good play for the Bears.”

Not that going offside at the time would have been the worst thing in the world.

“What’s the worst they could do?” Harris said. “Just do another goal-line play.”