There are so many aspects of that Bears team that are overlooked by analysts and spectators.
First of all, this defense was on par if not better than the current Seahawks defense. They were nasty, hard hitting beasts that would destroy you mentally and physically. The first time the Panthers played them that season they scored like 3 points. And then Steve Smith went off on them like they were in High School. It's my belief that if the panthers don't win that game, the Bears go on to be Super Bowl champions. It's also my belief that if SS in his prime went up against Richard Sherman and the rest of that defense he would obliterate them as well. The Seahawks share the same problem that the Bears defense had back then which is rarely exploited today, they are very stubborn in their game plan. Lovie Smith even came out saying that they weren't going to change the way the run their defense just because of one player and that's why Steve Smith killed them. It was in the NFCCG the next week that the Seahawks decided to triple team SS and take him out of the game.
Secondly, I don't believe that Lovie Smith is the defensive guru that everyone makes him out to be. What people don't understand is that Ron Rivera made that Chicago defense what it was for those two years where the Bears were the best in the league. As soon as the fired him and he went to San Diego, Chicago's defense was never the same and Ron ended up building a #1 defense out west. Next thing you know, Rivera is now in Carolina building an elite defense while Smith hasn't fielded an elite defense in almost a decade. This is why I don't believe the Buccaneers will ever be a threat in the South with Lovie Smith at the helm