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- Lovie Edges Dungy For Coach of the Year

tlentz January 7, 2006

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Bears head coach Lovie Smith was voted the Associated Press Coach of the Year.

Smith turned the Bears around in his second season as head coach. He brought the team from a 5-11 record in 2004 to a 11-5 record in 2005, including the NFC North division title, and a first round bye in the playoffs.

Smith did so while playing rookie quarterback Kyle Orton for most of the season. Orton, a fourth round draft pick, started the team's first 14 games, going 10-4 as starter before finally being removed for Rex Grossman in week 15.

Smith, the former defensive coordinator at St. Louis, also coached the defense to give up the fewest points in the NFL. The Chicago defense gave up only 12.6 points a game, and finished the season second overall in defense. His defense often drew comparisons to the vaunted 1985 Bears defense that is widely regarded as the best defense ever.

Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy finished the season second in voting behind Smith. Dungy coached the Colts to a 13-0 start to the season. The Colts finished the season 14-2 and locked up home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

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