Defensive front continues building momentum

CHICAGO _ Shutting down Anquan Boldin wasn't the only thing the Bears' defense did in Sunday's 28-3 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Bears defensive backs held Boldin, the NFC's third-rated receiver in catches and yardage, to four catches, but after the win they quickly funneled credit toward a defensive line which is rapidly becoming as dominant as their defensive line of two years ago.

"Those guys up front, they had pressure in the quarterback's face, they were on top of the run game, they had great pass rushes," said Bears cornerback Jerry Azumah, who made one of the Bears' two interceptions and helped hold Boldin to four catches. "We give the guys up front a lot of credit and they deserve it.

"They showed up today."

The Bears' defense has allowed the last six opponents an average of 11.8 points per game.

The strength of the Cardinals' offense -- besides the Jeff Blake-to-Boldin combination -- had been a huge, powerful offensive line and the running of Marcel Shipp. The Bears limited Shipp to 34 yards on 14 carries and the Cardinals to 18 carries for 46 yards. NFL all-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith, in his first action back from a broken collarbone, was a non-factor with one carry. Brian Urlacher buried him for a 3-yard loss in the first quarter.

"We played pretty well against the run, then they got some yards in the passing game at the end," said Urlacher, who led the Bears with 10 tackles. "Up front we dominated the whole game, offensively and defensively. We had a few mistakes, but for the most part we played pretty well."

Defensive end Phillip Daniels has been a staple in the run defense all year, but thinks of himself as an all-around player. He stayed solid in the run defense Sunday with the second best tackle total of the day (7), but got back involved in the pass rush on one of the game's biggest plays.

The Cardinals trailed 7-3 on their last possession of the third quarter, and finally seemed to gain rhythm in their passing attack. Blake had completed three passes to tight ends to move Arizona from its 9 to the 28. On second-and-three, Daniels broke through and sacked Blake for a 12-yard loss.

It was the Bears' only sack, but they had a hand in Blake's face most of the second half.

"Finally, man," said Daniels of his first sack since the second game of the year. "It seemed like it was an eternity since I've been back there. It felt good to be back there and make some things happen.

"A lot of times (teams) have max (pass) protection in there and leave a lot of guys in there (to pass block). But today it felt good to touch the quarterback and get him on the ground. I'm the type of guy that if my teammates can get it done, hey, I'm happy. But if I can get it done, it's better -- a lot better."

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