A return home and a date with the hapless Cleveland Browns was just what the doctor ordered for the Bears yesterday.
The Bears took care of business by executing on both sides of the ball, as the offense committed just one turnover, and the defense forced five against the Browns.
A solid ground game, coupled with ball-hawking defense by the Bears secondary, led to a convincing 30-6 victory over a 1-7 Browns team. Chicago moves to 4-3, and is now tied with the Packers for second place in the NFC “Norris” division, as Brett and the Vikes downed Green Bay at Lambeau in a late afternoon affair yesterday.
Defensive backs Charles Tillman and Danieal Manning combined to snag three of the five turnovers committed by Cleveland, one of them, a fourth quarter 21 yard interception return for a touchdown by Tillman.
Although Jay Cutler did not figure prominently in the victory, he did limit his mistakes this week, throwing just one interception on 17 of 30 for 225 yards and no touchdowns. When the Bears took possession on offense in this one, they held on to the rock, as Matt Forte finally broke out of his slump, rushing for 90 yards on 26 carries, and two TD’s. Forte did not fumble.
The Bears were able to make quick work out of the sinking Browns with three first half Robbie Gould field goals and a late second quarter Matt Forte one yard plunge. At 16-0 at the half, Chicago had made a statement that they were not going to allow Cleveland any breathing room in this contest.
With the exception of a third quarter Derek Anderson TD run, the Bears proceeded to close out the Browns in the second half, capped off by Tillman’s pick and score with 3:14 remaining in the game.
The 30 points the Bears put up on the scoreboard can be largely attributed to the suffocating defense employed all day. In addition to the five turnovers, Chicago’s D batted down four passes and held the Browns to a measly 1 for 11 on third down. The Cleveland passing game was pathetic, at 7 for 20 for 85 yards. No Brown receiver hauled in more than two catches. The Bears D showed up when it needed to. Chicago can now look towards the back-end of the current homestand, with Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals coming to town.
Arizona came down to Earth yesterday, as they were manhandled by Carolina’s rushing tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The Panthers rushing attack punished the Cards all day, totaling 270 yards on the ground. Matt Forte must have started salivating when he saw the box score from this game. The Bears defense should have high hopes for next week as well, with an opportunity to continue its fine play against a shaky Kurt Warner who threw five picks to Carolina’s D yesterday.
A playoff run just may be in the “The Cards” for the 2009-10 Bears.
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Written by Adam Becker