1. The Bears need to stick to this formula: It feels like we all jumped in a time machine back to 2005. For three straight weeks, the Bears have won games primarily because of the defense and special teams, with only average results from the offense. The most important thing Mike Martz's group has contributed since the bye is a lack of turnovers. With the exception of the one poor Jay Cutler pick per game -- pretty much a weekly occurrence -- the offense has played mistake-free football, run the ball and taken valuable time off the clock. Who cares that the quarterback is Cutler and not Kyle Orton. Or that the offensive coordinator is Martz and not Ron Turner. Keep it up. If the Bears do, they'll be in the playoffs and could threaten to win a few games in the postseason.
2. Julius Peppers remains a threat: Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said before the game Peppers' impact should not be judged solely on sacks. He was right, but it was nice to see Peppers get to Tyler Thigpen three times. The defensive end, now with five sacks in 2010, also deflected a pass that was intercepted by Charles Tillman, and recorded three quarterback hits. Peppers' presence on the field has clearly loosened things up for fellow end Israel Idonije, who is having the best year of his NFL career. Add it all up and Peppers has been worth every penny up to this point. And he will play a critical role when the Bears began to face elite quarterbacks such as Michael Vick, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in the final six weeks of the season.
3. Matt Forte looks fresh: Anybody else notice the burst Forte showed despite playing on a short rest? With the Bears committing to the run for the third consecutive week, Forte averaged almost 4 yards per carry on 25 attempts. Maybe Martz was on to something by refusing to run the ball earlier in the year. Just kidding. But it's clear Forte benefits from having Chester Taylor (11 carries) share some of the workload. If the Bears keep using Forte and Taylor in this fashion for the remainder of the season, they're going to win quite a few more games.
4. Robbie Gould's minor drought is over: It was odd to see Gould -- the fifth-most accurate kicker in NFL history heading into the game -- miss two field goals the past two weeks. The former All-Pro kicker made up for it in a big way Thursday night, hitting field goals of 46, 24 and 50 yards, while also putting two kickoffs in the end zone. When you have a team fueled by a great defense, an accurate field-goal kicker can make a world of difference. Three points are better than none, especially when it comes to this team. In case you are keeping score, Thursday night marked Gould's fourth 50-yard plus field goal in the past two seasons, which should end the debate about leg strength.
5. J'Marcus Webb is still a work-in-progress: For all the praise showered on Webb the past few weeks by the Bears coaching staff, Thursday night proved the rookie is still learning on the job. Cameron Wake is a premier player, and Webb is a seventh-round draft choice. These things tend to happen. But this can be a great learning experience for the rookie. The NFL is a humbling game, and even though the Bears won, Webb was humbled. However, I have no doubt Webb and Mike Tice can turn this into a wonderful teaching and motivational tool. If this is the combination the Bears plan to stick with up front --Angelo said before the game it is -- then Webb is going to be targeted by teams for the remainder of the season. Consider this a wake-up call. Everybody gets knocked down. The key is how you get back up.