Playing not to lose is a tricky thing, however. "You can't tell a quarterback not to take any chances out there," Bears coach Lovie Smith told me. "The quarterback just has to know which chances are the right ones."
"I have never played not to lose," Grossman said, saying the words with a pinch of disdain. "I don't know how to play that way."
He has to play smarter, to be sure, but a quarterback can't be afraid to make a mistake. When my conversation with Grossman ended, I left with the impression that he'd play smarter in the second half of the season but that he'd still have some Sonny Jurgensen in him, that little gambling streak that the good ones have, which is how they make the big plays.
Grossman, by the way, is still on pace for a 3,724-yard, 30-touchdown season after his 246-yard, three-TD effort against the Giants on Sunday night. Last year Peyton Manning threw for 23 more yards than that and two fewer TDs. And on Sunday night against the Giants, Grossman started just the 16th regular-season game of his career. Don't forget, he's just a kid at 26. Sometimes young quarterbacks throw interceptions. Live with them. Grossman will reward you down the stretch: In the last five weeks of the season the Bears face only one top 15 defense.
DAVID SABINO MARKET WATCH
Ladell Betts RB
He'll see his value rise with each game that a broken hand forces starter Clinton Portis to sit.
Reche Caldwell WR
The tortuous quest to find a replacement for Deion Branch appears to be nearing a close after Caldwell's nine-catch, 90-yard, one-TD effort.
Maurice Jones-Drew RB
The goal line back (and team TD leader with six) also has 585 yards from scrimmage.
The suddenly formidable Fins held Larry Johnson to 89 total yards a week after forcing six turnovers in an upset of the Bears.