The Bears were just trying to be prudent.
But linebacker Brian Urlacher doesn’t have to be happy about it.
After scoring 10 quick points in the third quarter to go up by 20, Bears coach Lovie Smith pulled his middle linebacker for the rest of the game.
Urlacher’s been bothered by knee soreness all summer, and sat out the final 36 defensive snaps. He only missed 14 snaps last season.
‘‘That was a changeup,’’ Urlacher said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘I don’t like coming out of the game. But he’s the head coach. So I do what he says.’’
Urlacher insisted his knee was fine, that he felt no pain, and referred to the “stupid brace,” he had to wear.
He only had two tackles and a pass defensed during a day when the Bears tormented Andrew Luck, who mentioned several others Bears before getting down to the linebacker.
But even without stats, his teammates said he made an impact.
‘‘He’s the leader of our defense,’’ defensive end Israel Idonije said. ‘‘Just hearing his voice out there, resetting the defense, calling the checks — it lets everyone get in that comfort zone and, . . . you play better.’’
Considering last year’s injury, which may have sent him to Europe for alternative treatment, the Bears are wise to spread out his reps. Because there will be days they need him more than they needed him Sunday.