Brian Urlacher Leading Bears to Unprecedented Success As NFL’s Best Defense Continues Rampage

Brian Urlacher Leading Bears to Unprecedented Success As NFL's Best Defense Continues Rampage

The Titans didn't just give Chicago a win on Sunday. The Bears went and took it, quite literally.

Matt Forte churned out first down after first down. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall showed off a connection that Jerry Rice and Joe Montana would be proud of, and the defense really bared down — get it? Heck, even the special teams got involved, blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown to get the scoring going on the afternoon.

A 28-point first quarter and 51-point outburst offered up some optimism for one of the NFL's most inconsistent offensive units. But even as Cutler, Marshall and Forte finally seemed to figure it out on offense, the defense remained the catalyst for Chicago's success in the 51-20 win.

Brian Urlacher's monster day, which included seven tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception return for a touchdown, helped lead the charge, but the Bears got contributions all across the defense.

Lance Briggs made some big tackles, Charles "Peanut" Tillman, who may be the most underrated cornerback in football, shut down Matt Hasselbeck and the Titans passing game, and veteran corner Kelvin Hayden came up with a pair of huge fumble recoveries.

The Bears ultimately forced five turnovers on the afternoon, allowing Cutler and the offense to start six different possessions inside Tennessee's territory. There may be no better cure for a struggling offense than an opportunistic defense, and the Bears have epitomized that ideology in recent weeks.

With some occasional ineptitude plaguing the offense, Chicago has been exploiting their greatest asset on the way to a stellar 7-1 start. And they've relied on all facets of their game to establish such a strength.

The Bears have just the 19th-best pass defense, allowing more than 238 passing yards per game. But with the great work of Tillman, Hayden and Tim Jennings, who leads the NFL with six interceptions, the yards aren't as much of a problem.

While the pass defense continues to make up for their deficiencies with turnovers, the Bears rush defense has no need for such camouflage. They boast the league's best rush defense, allowing slightly fewer than 78 yards per game. With all the specific successes aside, though, the Bears defense has also achieved a lot as a unified entity.

They've allowed just the second fewest points in the NFL to this point, with opposing offenses averaging 14.3 points per game — only San Francisco's 12.9 is better. The Bears have held three of their eight opponents to single digits while allowing just four of their eight opponents to score more than 20 points in a game this season.

The only team to score more than 22? You guessed it, the archrival Green Bay Packers, who managed a steady 23, which also turned out to be the only game Chicago has lost on the season.

While the offense continues to develop a rhythm, which is a prerequisite if there are to be any realistic Super Bowl dreams, the defense will continue to carry the load.

So it doesn't really matter how good Cutler, Marshall or Forte perform on a given day, because the Bears will continue to live and die by way of their defense.

Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter @LukeFHughes or send it here.

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