Jet lag wasn’t evident for the Chicago Bears in London as they beat the Buccaneers 24-18 to improve to 4-3 on the season.
Oddly enough, 4-3 is the same record the Bears had at this point last season.
Matt Forte again proved why he is an “elite” runner, who deserves a big contract. Forte ran the ball 25 times for 145 yards and one touchdown.
He became the first player since Priest Holmes in 2004, to reach 1,000 yards from scrimmage in the first seven games of the season.
Even Marion Barber put together a solid game on the ground. He ran six times for 39 yards and one touchdown.
However, he couldn’t come up with a Jay Cutler screen pass in the fourth quarter that was tipped in the air and picked off by Bucs safety Tanard Jackson.
This mishap led to a touchdown by the Bucs. This cut the Bears lead to only 10 points.
Interceptions by safety Chris Conte and linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs helped the Bears keep the lead and run the clock early and often in the game. An interception by D.J. Moore with 27 seconds with the score at 24-18 sealed the deal in London.
Chris Harris was back in the starting lineup after Major Wright injured his hip in practice, and nearly had an interception in the first half.
Kicker Robbie Gould missed his first field goal of 41 yards, his first miss all season, but made a 25-yarder with 1:55 left in the game. At 24-18, the Bears defense needed to make one final stand.
They made perhaps the biggest stand of the game. The defense looked like the vintage Chicago Bears defense.
The Bucs were forced to throw the ball after Earnest Graham exited the game in the first quarter with an Achilles injury.
Third-stringer Kregg Lumpkin, who had about four career rushes coming into the game was forced into action. He certainly didn’t help the Bucs offense one bit.
The Bears did what they needed to do win, play good defense. Lovie Smith preached creating turnovers all week long and the Bears came away with four on the day.
Roy Williams, Johnny Knox and Devin Hester led all receivers combining for 158 yards receiving.
Williams reeled in his first touchdown pass of the season with 7:49 remaining in the second quarter to put the Bears up 14-2. That touchdown grab made up for an ugly drop earlier in the half, where he laughed at how easy of a catch it could have been.
The Bears were dominating at times in this game. They looked like the Bears of perhaps last season, who played solid defense and ran the ball with success.
Jay Cutler may not have had his best game yesterday, but he played well enough for the Bears to win. Cutler needs to cut down throwing off his back foot, it almost turned the Bears win into a Bears loss.
The Bears have a bye week this week and don’t play until November 7th in Philadelphia on Monday Night Football. That gives the Bears roughly 15 days until that game will be played.
They will practice Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The next practice is scheduled for November 1st, so the Bears get a much needed break after playing three night games in a row.
The NFC North looks like this after seven weeks: Packers (7-0), Lions (5-2), Bears (4-3), and Vikings (1-6).
The Bears don’t really have a realistic shot at winning the division, but the wild card is surely a possibility.
Two wins in a row for the Bears has surely helped their confidence and chances to make the playoffs.