Record-setting day for first-place Bears in 51-20 hammering of Titans
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org November 4, 2012 4:58PM
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 04: Matt Spaeth #89 and Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears celebrate a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 4, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE – Another game, another lethargic start for the Bears.
During a 6-1 start, the Bears scored just 30 points in the first quarter, and the offense couldn’t capitalize on a forced fumble generated and recovered on the first play from scrimmage against the Tennessee Titans.
By quarter’s end, though, the Bears had the most prolific scoring first quarter in team history. Starting with a blocked punt by Sherrick McManis and a five-yard return by Corey Wootton midway through the first, the Bears piled on 28 points in every way imaginable en route to a 51-20 victory at LP Field.
Running back Matt Forte scored, middle linebacker Brian Urlacher intercepted a pass from Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown, and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler drilled a 13-yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Marshall.
They set an NFL record, becoming the first team to score by ground, air, interception return and blocked punt/ field goal.
The lone highlight for the Titans was an illegal use of hands penalty on Bears left tackle J’Marcus Webb in the end zone that resulted in a safety.
It was a virtual home game for the Bears, with a large number of fans at LP Field wearing orange or dark blue and raucously cheering their team. At one point, fans started booing loudly… when the big screens at the stadium flashed the score of the Green Bay Packers leading the Arizona Cardinals.
But the Bears gave their fans plenty to cheer, as the defense set record after record Sunday.
· First team in NFL history with seven interception return touchdowns in the first eight games.
· First team since the 1961 San Diego Chargers with an interception return for a touchdown in five games during a six-game span
· Bears defense ties the 1942 team with its seventh touchdown
Before he was taken out of the game, because it was a blowout, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman set a career-high with four forced fumbles. Urlacher had the score, a recovered fumble and a host of tackles.
After a slow start, even the Bears offense came around.
Cutler put the finishing touches on one of his best games with the franchise: 19 of 26 for 229 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
His passer rating was 138.1.
He gave way to backup Jason Campbell in the fourth quarter.
Marshall had nine catches for 122 yards and three scores, and Forte had 12 runs for 103 yards and two catches for 45 yards.
The Bears are 7-1, atop the NFC North, but they host the Houston Texans at Soldier Field next Sunday night. The Texans are also 7-1 after defeating the Buffalo Bills 21-9 Sunday.