Bears Bludgeon Bills, Still Unbeaten at 5-0

They dismantled the Packers. They pasted the Lions. They came back to beat the Vikings. They manhandled the Seahawks. Sensing a pattern here? So are the Bears, as Lovie Smith & Company destroyed the Bills 40-7 on Sunday at Soldier Field. Chicago is now 5-0 and undeniably the story of the year so far in the NFL this season.

Buffalo head coach Dick Jauron roamed the Chicago sidelines for five seasons, but he never orchestrated an offensive display like he witnessed on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Chicago's impenetrable defense was also, well, impenetrable. Rex Grossman threw two touchdown passes, Cedric Benson scored his first two NFL touchdowns, and the Bears forced five turnovers in a 40-7 whippping of Jauron's Bills that catapaulted the Monsters of the Midway to its first 5-0 start since 1986.

Kicker Robbie Gould stayed hot with four field goals, improving his perfect mark to 17-for-17 on the season, as the Bears have now won their first five games of 2006 by an average score of 31-7.

Tough defense was the Bears' trademark during Jauron's tenure, but a shaky offense kept Chicago out of the playoffs every season but 2001. His teams managed 30 points just four times in five years, never putting up more than 37.

A healthy Grossman and a suddenly high-powered passing game have reversed that trend 180 degrees. The NFC's only unbeaten team went over 30 points for the third time this season and had its highest point total since a 47-17 victory over Tampa Bay in 1993.

The outmanned Bills found themselves in trouble early and often against a speedy, aggressive defense. They dug themselves a hole on the opening drive when Brian Moorman fumbled the snap on a fake punt that special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo recovered at the Buffalo 40. Six plays later, Gould kicked a 42-yard field goal to open the scoring.

Following another Gould field goal, this one from 43 yards away, the Bears blew open the game with three touchdowns in a nine-minute span in the second quarter.

Grossman hit Bernard Berrian for an 8-yard TD strike to make it 13-0 after Thomas Jones carried five times for 35 yards on the scoring drive.

Bills quarterback J.P. Losman, under pressure from reigning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Week Tommie Harris, was intercepted by Lance Briggs on the ensuing drive. Five plays later, Benson, the #4 pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, punched it in from a yard out for his first career scoring run.

Following a 62-yard bomb to Berrian on Chicago's next drive, Grossman found Rashied Davis in the end zone for a 15-yard score that made it 27-0 at the half.

The Bears extended the rout in the second half with two more Gould field goals, 32 and 41 yards, respectively. Benson's second 1-yard TD late in the fourth quarter following a fumbled kickoff recovered by Israel Idonije.

Buffalo scored on a 5-yard TD pass from Losman to Lee Evans with 1:06 remaining to ruin the shutout, much to the dismay of the Soldier Field faithful that were still in the stands.

Grossman finished 15-for-27 for 182 yards plus those two touchdowns and was replaced by backup Brian Griese at the onset of the fourth quarter.

Besides Briggs, Alex Brown and Ricky Manning also picked off passes. Losman was 14-of-27 for 115 yards with one TD and those three INTs.

The Bears will have an extra day of rest as they travel to play Arizona next week on Monday Night Football, the first Monday night game in the history of newly-built Cardinals Stadium.

JC


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