NFL: Jay Cutler, Brian Urlacher and Chicago Bears shine in win over Tennessee Titans in Nashville
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 04/11/12 11:10pm
Brian Urlacher: Touchdown run back for Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears' defensive unit is paying more than a passing resemblance to their fearsome Super Bowl winning unit of old after they crushed the Tennessee Titans 51-20 in Nashville.
Breaking the 50-point barrier normally leads to plaudits for the offence, but make no mistake it was Brian Urlacher, Charles Tillman and the defence that had this game sewn-up after the first quarter.
The Bears moved to 7-1 after a team-record 28 points in the first quarter, which came on the back of some ferocious defence which forced five turnovers to make it six wins in a row for Lovie Smith's team.
Tillman is becoming an expert at stripping the ball and he himself forced four fumbles, while Corey Wootton returned a blocked punt for a score and even Urlacher found the end zone when he stormed 46 yards to return an interception to the house.
Jay Cutler never had to be at his best, but with such a big lead early and behind such a strong defensive effort, he took the chance to pick apart the Titans secondary with his favourite receiver Brandon Marshall the main beneficiary.
Cutler threw three touchdown passes, all to Marshall, for 229 yards with no interceptions, while Marshall accounted for 122 receiving yards and Matt Forte added 45 yards receiving to his 103 yards and touchdown on the ground in another fine game for the star running back.
The Bears remain in charge of the NFC North and are looking like a huge Super Bowl team on the back of such defensive efforts, while the Titans are out of things at 3-6.
The Bears defence set the tone from the very start, as they forced a fumble from Titans wideout Kenny Britt on the opening play from scrimmage.
Chicago's special teams then got in on the act as they gave the Bears the lead when they blocked a Tennessee punt and Corey Wootton returned it five yards into the end zone.
The Titans then got two points on the board in curious fashion as on J'Marcus Webb was flagged for illegal use of hands in his own end zone, which resulted in Tennessee getting back into the game.
Chicago responded in style though with a big sack on Matt Hasselbeck followed by a 44-yard punt return from Devin Hester to set-up an easy Matt Forte stroll into the end zone from eight yards on the very next play.
A shell-shocked Titans coughed up another turnover on their very next possession when Hasselbeck was intercepted by Brian Urlacher, and the snarling old veteran managed to rumbled 46 yards and take it all the way for an eighth defensive or special teams TD of the season for his team.
Still the Bears swarmed all over the Titans, with running back Chris Johnson this time fumbling the ball allowing Chris Conte to recover - and this time the offence got in on the act as Cutler hit Marshall with a 13-yard touchdown strike.
After a quiet second quarter with just a field goal each, Nate Washington hauled in a great 30-yard catch from Hesselbeck to suggest a Titans comeback, but two more Robbie Gould field goals extended the Bears lead to a comfortable 25 points.
Cutler and Marshall then took over with back-to-back touchdown connections as the Bears moved beyond the 50-point mark, rendering Johnson's 80-yard breakout TD for the Titans all but useless.