Bears grab slice of redemption with 23-6 victory over Rams
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org September 23, 2012 8:09PM
Brian Urlacher whoops it up with Tim Jennings after Jenning’s interception late in the game. Six sacks and two interceptions contributed greatly to the Bears’ victory. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
- Michael Bush gratified that Mike Tice opted for ground-and-pound strategy
- MORRISSEY: For Bears, victory trumps woeful offense
- TELANDER: Cutler didn’t win pretty - but he won
- Rams come away with little respect for Bears’ passing game
- Bears’ defense steals show, but offense must improve vs. tougher foes
- Bears’ Chilo Rachal on Rams: Dumb ‘D,’ dumb, dumb
- More uproar about replacement NFL officials
Updated: November 23, 2012 1:58AM
The Bears couldn’t wait for Sunday, trying to distance themselves from an embarrassing and humbling 13-point prime-time loss at Green Bay.
Try as they might, the Bears couldn’t escape the fallout from quarterback Jay Cutler’s dressing down of J’Marcus Webb and subsequent shoulder bump, so they desperately wanted a chance to redeem themselves on the field.
While they defeated the St. Louis Rams, 23-6, the Bears (2-1) didn’t immediately rekindle all the preseason hype about making a Super Bowl run with an often ugly performance against a team that went 2-14 last season.
Not until less than four minutes remained did Cutler gash the Rams’ aggressive defense with a 34-yard completion to Brandon Marshall. Until then, the offense was marred with drops and off-target throws, relying once again on the defense to keep it in the game.
The defense, often criticized for its advancing age, had a dominating performance against a quarterback who entered the game with the NFL’s third-highest passer rating. Sam Bradford, a former No. 1 pick, was sacked six times and intercepted twice, including one that safety Major Wright returned 45 yards for a touchdown.
“We needed this win,” said cornerback Tim Jennings, who intercepted his career-high fourth pass of the season. “We put the Packers behind us. But we knew the next step was the Rams.
“They scrapped and fought to the end, and you could tell they were not the same team as last year. They looked pretty good.”
Midway through the third quarter, the Rams trailed 10-6, and the Bears’ offense answered with a three-and-out. But as they approached midfield, the Rams allowed another sack on third-and-long. The Bears then pieced together a 13-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a 22-yard field goal, and the defense sealed the game with Wright’s interception return for a touchdown.
“We felt the momentum had shifted a little bit, especially when we cut it to 10-6,” said Bradford, who finished 18-for-35 for 152 yards with no touchdowns and the two interceptions. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to capitalize.”
Added linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, “They made plays when they needed to make plays.”
With Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte out, the Bears started Michael Bush. He was productive early on with seven carries for 33 yards and one catch for 18. But the Rams adjusted at halftime, and Cutler wasn’t able to make them pay until the fourth quarter.
Next up is another prime-time game, this one next Monday at Dallas. On Sunday, the Cowboys defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home 16-10.
“I can’t speak on Dallas right now. I don’t know too much about them,” Bush said. “Any time you’re on national TV, it’s good to try and get a win.”