Defense Full of Unsung Heroes

The really amazing and - for the Bears - encouraging aspect of the demolition of Detroit on Sunday was the across-the-board contributions on defense.

Even defenders who normally toil in obscurity were major players, while some of the bigger names needed only to play supporting roles. Defensive left end Adewale Ogunleye, perhaps the key to the defense because of his pass-rush ability, left the game in the second quarter with a sprained ankle before making a tackle.

Sure, there were big efforts by many of the usual suspects. Brian Urlacher had two sacks, Lance Briggs was in on 12 tackles, Nathan Vasher picked off a pair of passes and Mike Brown took another interception to the house.

But Backup DE Michael Haynes saw greatly increased playing time after he took over for Ogunleye. Because the Bears had no other extra defensive ends active, tackle Alfonso Boone relieved Haynes and Alex Brown when they needed a rest. Boone also blocked the Lions' only extra-point attempt. At 6-foot-4 and 318 pounds, Boone doesn't resemble a prototypical edge rusher, but the defense didn't suffer with him in the game.

"We decided Alfonso, being a big body, was probably going to be the best bet for us," defensive coordinator Ron Rivera said. "(Defensive line coach) Don Johnson felt very confident in his ability. Alfonso's a very sharp individual out there, and he did a tremendous job."

Ian Scott, a lunch-bucket type whose propensity for doing the dirty work in the trenches generally goes unnoticed, also grabbed some of the spotlight, as did other players who are often overlooked.

Scott knocked down three passes, one of which turned into his first NFL interception when he plucked it out of the air after it ricocheted off Lions center Dominic Raiola.

The three-year veteran from Florida also had four tackles, tied for tops among Bears linemen with second-year tackle Tommie Harris.

"Ian Scott played as well as anyone on our defense," Bears coach Lovie Smith said.

Scott wasn't the only player to step out of the shadows last Sunday. Rookie free safety Chris Harris got his first start and finished with eight tackles, tied for third best on the team. Early in the first quarter, Harris could have stopped Lions wide receiver Roy Williams well short of the goal line on his 51-yard TD catch if he had reacted more quickly. But his play improved after that.

"He played well for his first start," Smith said. "It wasn't a perfect game by any means, but he had some big plays. I thought he blitzed well."

Harris nailed Lions quarterback Joey Harrington just as he released the pass that Mike Brown picked off and returned 41 yards for a touchdown. He also dropped running back Kevin Jones in his tracks in the open field after an eight-yard gain that appeared destined for a greater gain.

With the NFL's top offense coming to town on Sunday, in the Cincinnati Bengals, a duplicate effort will be needed.

"This is what we expect every week. This is the way the Chicago Bears should be playing," Briggs said after the Bears held the Lions to 7 points, 234 total yards and forced 5 turnovers.


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