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Bears' Willie Young out for sack Lions 'stole from me'

Bears defensive end Willie Young will face his former team Sunday.

Quietly in the middle of the week, statisticians awarded Bears defensive end Willie Young an extra half-sack, bringing his season total to a nice, round 10.

‘‘It would be 11,’’ he said Friday at Halas Hall, ‘‘but they stole one from me, so I owe them two this week.’’

Yes, Young is still annoyed about the roughing-the-passer penalty he was flagged for — in which he sacked Matthew Stafford but touched his helmet — the last time he faced his former team. The Detroit Lions come to Soldier Field on Sunday, facing an even more wounded Bears team than the one they defeated 34-17 last month.

In the big picture, though, Young is one of the few Bears with little to complain about. Inked to a three-year, $9 million deal in the offseason, he is general manager Phil Emery’s most dynamic signing from a defensive group that included a declining Jared Allen, solid safety Ryan Mundy and end Lamarr Houston, who embarrassed himself and ended his season at the same time.

‘‘I’m not taking anything away from 10 sacks, and what it would mean to be at 11, also,’’ Young said, ‘‘but right now, we have to get this win. That’s what it’s all about.’’

Whether the Bears can muster another win — with backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen at the helm, no less — is a challenge more daunting than any defensive lineman’s bull rush.

Young knows what his former teammates — namely, star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh — must be thinking with Clausen, not Jay Cutler, set to start.

‘‘It’s the reaction you get when any quarterback change is on the table,’’ he said.

Which is to say, they smell blood.

‘‘Maybe the timing, him being comfortable, just getting after him early to corrupt his timing, trying to distract him a little bit, talk a little trash to him, push him around a little bit,’’ Young said. ‘‘That’s going to be the goal from those guys up front.’’

Young has been impressed by Clausen, who often stays at Halas Hall until after dark to study.

If the Bears stand a chance, though, it will be because of their defense.

‘‘What we can control is getting off the field on third down, three-and-outs, turnovers, big plays defensively,’’ Young said. ‘‘Regardless of what’s going on, it’s up to the defense to keep the offense from scoring. That’s the ultimate goal for us.

‘‘The [Bears’] offense needs to score as many points as we possibly can. If the defense holds their opponent to zero points, we can kick a field goal and we can win the game.’’

There’s no extra pressure, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said.

‘‘We just have to do our job regardless of the quarterback situation,’’ he said. ‘‘Our job is to do everything we can to stop people, get off the field and get the ball back for our offense as fast as possible.’’

Young will have a chance to lead the way. Lions rookie Cornelius Lucas, who started at left tackle on Thanksgiving, will move to right — across from Young — to replace the injured LaAdrian Waddle.

Though some have doubted what the Bears have left to play for, Young’s motivation won’t be questioned against his former team. He said his goal was to ‘‘destroy their dreams.’’

“If you decide to lay down, this is the time of the year when you get hurt,’’ he said. ‘‘Not taking guys serious, going away from your routine and all sorts of stuff that come into play. .   You best believe those guys are going to come to play.’’


Twitter: @patrickfinley