Here are four things we learned in Monday night's 27-19 win over the New York Jets:
1) The kids can play. The Bears spent four of their first five picks in this year's draft on their defense, and all four of those rookies made key plays in the red zone to keep the Jets out of the end zone.
First-round cornerback Kyle Fuller intercepted a Geno Smith pass, second-round defensive tackle Ego Ferguson recorded his first NFL sack, third-round defensive tackle Will Sutton helped drop Smith for a two-yard loss and fourth-round safety Brock Vereen provided tight coverage on a fourth-down incompletion at the Chicago 9 with :58 left in the game.
The defense certainly wasn't perfect, allowing 414 yards. But limiting the Jets to one touchdown on six trips inside-the-20 was instrumental in recording a victory on Monday Night Football.
Yes, the Bears defense has several starters over the age of 30, including end Jared Allen (32), tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (33), linebackers Lance Briggs (33) and D.J. Williams (32) and cornerback Tim Jennings (30). But the infusion of youth no doubt will pay dividends in the present and future.
2) The aerial attack remains impressive. Even with Kyle Long being held to 33 yards on 13 carries by the NFL's top-rated rushing defense, the Bears are still capable of moving the ball and scoring points through the air. Jay Cutler continued to make excellent decisions, completing 23 of 38 passes for 225 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 94.7 passer rating.
With Brandon Marshall hobbled by an ankle injury, other targets stepped up. Tight end Martellus Bennett caught touchdown passes of 7 and 13 yards, and receiver Alshon Jeffery had eight receptions for 105 yards.
After their 17-3 lead had been trimmed to 17-13, Cutler opened the second half by completing 5 of 5 passes for 83 yards capped by his second TD pass to Bennett.
3) Kyle Fuller is the real deal. Proving that last weekend's two-interception performance against the 49ers wasn't a fluke, the Bears' first-round draft pick made another impact play.
With the Jets looking to cut into a 24-13 third-quarter deficit, Fuller stepped in front of receiver David Nelson to pick off a Smith pass in the back of the end zone. The rookie from Virginia Tech now leads the NFL with three interceptions.
He also forced two fumbles in the game, becoming the first NFL player in at least the last 20 seasons to record three picks and two forced fumbles in the first three games.
4) The Bears can overcome adversity. After opening the season with a surprising home loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Bears rebounded to record impressive back-to-back primetime wins on the road, traveling coast-to-coast in the process.
They improved to 2-1 Monday night despite playing without five opening day starters in Ratliff, Tillman, Shea McClellin, Roberto Garza and Matt Slauson—and then losing two more to injuries in safeties Chris Conte and Ryan Mundy.
At one point it appeared the Bears might have to slip assistant coach Chris Harris into the secondary. But Vereen, Danny McCray and Ahmad Dixon helped fill the void.