With Halloween just around the corner, Chicago's aptly nicknamed Monsters of the Midway lived up to their menacing moniker by absolutely dominating the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football. The 13-7 final score was not actually indicative of the brutal beating that the vaunted Bears' defense bestowed upon the lackluster Lions' offense.
In fact, the Bears ball hawking defense forced four more turnovers and flirted with their first home shutout of the Lions since 1962 until visibly flustered Detroit QB Matthew Stafford found Ryan Broyles in the back of the Chicago end zone with just 30 seconds left in regulation.
"You can go in and talk to any of our defensive players," said Bears coach Lovie Smith. "They'll tell you it's not a good defensive effort unless we're taking the ball away. That's what leads to wins, and you see it time after time."
Defensive takeaways and exceptional cornerback play have been the keys to Chicago's tremendous 5-1 start. Named the NFC's defensive player of the week for the second time in October Bears cover corner extraordinaire Charles "Peanut" Tillman held Detroit's dazzling Pro Bowl receiver Calvin "Megatron" Johnson to just three catches for 34 yards.
"That's tough duty playing against one of the best players in the league, matching up with him all night," Smith said. "Tillman did an outstanding job of really holding him (Johnson) to very little."
While the defense demoralized Detroit all night long, Chicago signal caller Jay Cutler and the offense did just enough to help propel the Bears to the top of the NFC North. Only throwing for 150 yards and one touchdown Cutler narrowly avoided a serious rib injury late in the second quarter when controversial QB slayer Ndamukong Suh savagely body slammed No. 6 onto the Soldier Field sod.
“I thought I was gone, and then he got a hold of me and I knew, from that point, it wasn’t going to end well,” Cutler said.
Despite the limited contribution from the Bears battered and bruised QB, feature running back Matt Forte rushed for a game high 96 yards on 22 carries including a season long 39 yard scamper down to the Detroit seven yard line. On the very next play Cutler rolled out of the pocket and found his go-to-guy Brandon Marshall in the end zone for the Bears only touchdown of the night.
"Offensively, we did what we had to do," Smith said. "We were able to get our running game going and then rely on our defense. When you're playing defense like that and get a lead, you've got to be able to run the football and we were able to tonight."
Cam Newton and the struggling Carolina Panthers soldier onto the southern shore of Lake Michigan this Sunday to take on the red hot Monsters of the Midway. Looking to further frustrate the Panthers struggling sophomore signal caller the Bears domineering defense hopes another week of home cooking will help them continue to fly around the field and ultimately earn Chicago its sixth win in seven games.