GLENDALE. Ariz. — With the Bears needing a victory Sunday in Arizona to keep their playoff hopes alive, the defense picked a perfect time to revert to its early-season form.
The unit scored two touchdowns in a 28-13 win over the Cardinals as Zackary Bowman rolled into the end zone after recovering a fumble at the Arizona 1 and
|Zackary Bowman rolls into the end zone to give the Bears a 7-0 lead en route to a 28-13 win Sunday.|
After returning seven interceptions for touchdowns in a six-game span earlier this season, the Bears defense hadn't scored a TD in its previous six contests before Sunday.
"Defensively, we asked them to take over and play the way we played early," coach Lovie Smith said after his team snapped a three-game skid and improved to 9-6. "Taking the ball away specifically is what I'm talking about. It was an added bonus getting a couple of scores."
When scoring a defensive touchdown, the Bears are now 21-2 since 2005, including 6-0 this year.
"Whenever the defense scores points for us, it makes everything that much better," said running back
With nine defensive touchdowns, the Bears are now tied with the 1961 Chargers for the second most in NFL history. The 1998 Seahawks hold the record with 10.
Tillman extended his franchise record with the ninth defensive touchdown of his career. He also set the Bears mark for most interceptions by a cornerback with 33, snapping a tie with Donnell Woolford. Tillman is third overall behind safeties Gary Fencik (38) and Richie Petitbon (37).
Line change: Despite a lack of continuity, the Bears offensive line played well, helping the rushing attack produce 152 yards on 33 carries while allowing only one sack.
"The offensive line did a great job," said quarterback
Aches and pains: Forte (ankle) and safety
"Those are two valuable players for us," Smith said. "But it's always about that next guy stepping up. [Safety]
Bell rushed for 32 yards on 13 carries and Allen added 24 yards on five attempts.
Sack artist: With three sacks Sunday,
"That's not anything I'm interested in talking about really," Peppers said when asked about his three sacks. "The most important thing was getting a win and keeping ourselves alive in the playoff race."
On the mend: Middle linebacker
Asked if there's a chance the perennial Pro Bowler could play in next Sunday's season finale, Smith said: "We're definitely thinking that way; a chance. I would just say he's making a lot of improvement. I know he's feeling pretty good about where he is.
"If he's ready to go, good; if not,