The Bears turned to a familiar formula -- one that relies on defense and special teams play -- in Sunday's rout of the Lions. Wilbon
Matt Forte gained 64 yards on 18 attempts. The majority of that came on a 40-yard burst in the second half. The Bears averaged just 3.1 yards per attempt, but ended up running the ball 35 times, which means to a certain degree the team was able to work the clock. The injury to guard Chris Williams also probably affected the rushing attack's effectiveness.
Jay Cutler finished with a passer rating of 68.5 and completed less than 50 percent of his passes, but definitely deserves credit for not turning over the ball. Earl Bennett as usual served as the receiving corps' most consistent weapon, racking up six catches for 81 yards, but the team also got just small contributions from Sam Hurd, Johnny Knox and Matt Forte with Devin Hester out of the lineup on offense.
The Bears understood that windy conditions would make the rushing game an important factor. So what did they do? They shut down the Lions, limiting them to 26 yards on the ground in a first half in which the Bears built a 20-6 lead. Adams performed solidly at nose guard, after replacing Matt Toeaina, who was inactive. The linebackers flowed to the ball, and the defense overall swarmed.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford completed passes, but the Bears negated the impact of that by forcing turnovers and producing sacks. Julius Peppers and Chris Conte forced fumbles on pass plays, and the offense turned the turnovers into 10 points in taking a first quarter laed. In all, the Bears scored 24 points off turnovers, including Major Wright's 24-yard interception return and Charles Tillman's 44-yard return TD in the third quarter.
A sore ankle and strep throat couldn't hold down return man Devin Hester, nor could the Lions. Hester returned his 12th punt for a touchdown in the second quarter. Despite windy conditions, Robbie Gould put nine points on the board with three field goals, but missed one to close the second quarter. Punter Adam Podlesh also put together a solid performance, finishing with a 43-yard net average.
Defensively, the staff devised a strong game plan, which led to the secondary keeping Matthew Stafford somewhat off balance. The offense didn't give the team much help, in part because of its inability to establish the ground gam On special teams, coordinator Dave Toub deserves credit for making sure his unit took full advantage of the fact Lions punter Robert Malone was making his debut with the team.