A Matter of Necessity

In 2001, Chicago owned the third best turnover differential at plus 13 in the NFC, behind two playoff teams Tampa Bay and San Francisco. Their dependency on this has shown through in their first two games of the 2002 season.<p>

In their first game versus Minnesota, the Bears trailed at the half 20-10 before coming back to beat Minnesota 27-23 in a nail biter. The Bears needed the help of three Minnesota turnovers in the second half to spark their comeback, most importantly being the Mike Brown interception of Daunte Culpepper midway through the fourth quarter.

Rosey Colvin's forced fumble late in the fourth quarter was the nail in Minnesota's coffin, as Colvin came around the corner, sacked Culpepper, and forced a fumble, sealing the Bears fate in a 27-23 victory. These turnovers allowed the Bears defense a much-needed rest while giving the offense the momentum they need to muster out a comeback.

In game two, the Bears went into the half down 10-7 to the Atlanta Falcons. The offense looked lackluster on, while the defense just got by on the fortune of dropped passes and a missed field goal. Chicago's offense struggled throughout most of the third quarter only to receive a great fortune from their special teams unit.

Chicago's defense forced two fumbles in the third quarter only to be wasted by a lack of offensive production. Late in the third quarter, the Bears' special teams forced a third turnover of the quarter leaving the offense with excellent field position. Finally the Bears offense put up another touchdown on a fourteen-yard pass to David Terrell.

Chicago had three fumble recoveries and two turnover-on-downs on their way to a 14-13 finish.

Next week, Chicago will be in Champaign playing the surprising 2-0 New Orleans Saints. The Saints, who made it into the second round of the playoffs two years ago, struggled last year in a division with San Francisco and St. Louis. This year, in the brand new NFC South, they are in a first place tie with Carolina. The Saints have already proven their status as a team to take seriously after beating two NFC 2001 playoff teams, Tampa Bay and most recently Green Bay.

As the Bears prepare to take on the Saints for this coming Sunday, they must continue to stress the importance of turnovers in order to have a chance at stopping the young and potent New Orleans offense.

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