The Chicago Bears trounced the Detroit Lions on Sunday 37-13, pulling the two teams into a tie at 6-3, both 2-and-a-half games behind the 8-0 Packers in the NFC North.
Any game where your defense outscores the opposing team’s offense is a pretty successful outing, and that’s exactly what the Bears did on Sunday.
What a difference a month makes. Five weeks ago, the Lions crushed the Bears in a game that was far more one-sided than the 24-13 score indicated. In that game, the Bears defense was embarrassed as the Lions had 181 yards rushing, and big plays including an 88-yard touchdown run by Jahvid Best and a 73-yard touchdown reception by Calvin Johnson.
This time around, the Bears defense held Detroit to 80 yards rushing, forcing Matt Stafford to go to their air (63 times), where they feasted on the Lions. The Bears had 6 takeaways, including 4 interceptions of Stafford, two of which were returned for touchdowns in a 2 minute span in the third quarter – a 24-yard INT return by Major Wright followed by a 44-yard INT return by Charles Tillman.
“I don’t think you’re going to lose too many games playing like that on defense,” linebacker Brian Urlacher said.
“That’s as dominant as I’ve been around since I’ve been here. They had yards there late in the game. [But] we got takeaways when we needed to and scored with them.”
The Bears also forced two fumbles. The Bears defense was so good that they won by 24 points despite a fairly anemic outing by the offense. The Bears had only 216 yards of total offense, and Jay Cutler was 9 of 19 for 123 yards. The Bears managed 109 yards rushing, but only averaged 3.1 yards per carry as a team.
“I think you just have to stay with the plan as much as anything,” said coach Lovie Smith. “We believe in our system. You’ll go through some spells, for whatever reason, you don’t get [turnovers]. They don’t come out. But you just keep fighting like our guys did, and normally that changes.”
“A lot of times, they do come in bunches. They came in bunches tonight and we’ll need to continue this in order for us to have the type of year we plan on having.”
If the Bears defense keeps playing like this, they can play with anybody in the league and will be a big threat in the playoffs. And as the season gets older and we get closer to the playoffs, the teams that play the best defense are starting to emerge from the pack and the Bears are starting to look like one of them again. At long last, to Bears fans.
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