Swagger returns to Chicago

The locker room after Sunday's game was filled with nothing but happy Bears players, who feel the 37-13 blowout win over the Detroit Lions proves they are one of the top teams in the NFC.

The stats said it all at the conclusion of Sunday's Chicago Bears 37-13 win over the visiting Detroit Lions: takeaways by Charles Tillman, Major Wright, Tim Jennings and Corey Graham; two fumble recoveries; two interceptions returned for touchdowns; and a Detroit red zone efficiency of just 17 percent, compared to Chicago's 50 percent.

Add it all up and it equals the Bears' sixth win of the season.

"Today, the defense was our offense," said WR Earl Bennett, who led the team with six receptions for 81 yards.

The Bears ended up with just 216 total yards on offense but two scores on defense and another on special teams was enough to pick up the team's fourth win in a row.

"It was Bears football the way we've always said we could, and should, be playing Bears football," said Lance Briggs after the game. "It was nothing out of the ordinary really, just a demonstration of what we are capable of."

S Major Wright
Dennis Wierzbicki/US Presswire

Briggs gave credit to Tillman, whose third-quarter interception return for a touchdown, the fourth of his career, tied him with Mike Brown and Bennie McRae for the most in Bears history.

"P-Nut was a wild man out there today, playing like crazy around the wide receivers from Detroit," Briggs said. "He's such an accomplished player that I think all of us enjoy watching his continuing success.

"With a guy like that on the field, any offense we face is going to have some second thoughts about moves they are planning to make. Just planting that doubt in a quarterback or a receiver's mind can sometimes be all that it takes to disrupt their timing. And any time the timing is not in sync, you're going to open up the possibility for an interception."

Once again Chicago confounded the experts, who last week predicted a loss by at least eight points and had the Bears favored by just three point this week.

There was concern the Bears would suffer a letdown after last Monday night's statement win against the Eagles. Or that fatigue would be a deciding factor with the Lions coming off a bye and the Bears coming off a shortened practice week.

Corey Graham had his own view of things.

"To me and to the rest of us on this team, it was a matter of momentum, not fatigue," Graham said. "We were exhilarated coming home from Philadelphia on Monday night. It was tiring to play at night then to fly home, but the remainder of our week was well thought out. We had our usual meetings but our practices were light ones.

"We played Detroit earlier this year so we were familiar with their moves. It was a matter of installing a game plan for where we are now and how the Lions are playing now. In that respect, I'd say it turned out to be quite successful."

Every game in this stretch of the season is a pivotal one and beating the Lions had particular significance to Chicago's players.

"We were embarrassed last time we met," Briggs said, referring to the 24-13 Lions win on Oct. 10. "Then they had a big game two weeks ago in Denver. We felt that we could turn their momentum around and get even with them statistically in the run to the playoffs."

Next up for the Bears are the San Diego Chargers this Sunday at Soldier Field.

"This is not a time to let down," Bennett said. "The most important thing that happened today is that both sides of the ball contributed to this win. The defense dominated in dictating the outcome of this game. I think the balance we've established between our offense and defense will see us through the remainder of the season and into the playoffs."

Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.

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