Bears

24 Hours Later: Laurence Holmes Breaks Down Bears-Titans

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Charles Tillman #33 and Chris Conte #47 of the Chicago Bears try to intercept a pass. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Charles Tillman #33 and Chris Conte #47 of the Chicago Bears try to intercept a pass. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

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By Laurence W. Holmes-

(CBS) Time offers the opportunity for perspective, so I thought it would be a good idea to wait each week to give my thoughts on the Bears game. The idea being that 24 hours allows for me to watch the game over and talk to a few more people. Hence, “The 24 Blog.”

What I Saw

- I’m running out of words to describe the awe I experience watching the Bears defense. They now have seven interceptions for touchdowns in eight games. That’s an NFL record. In the Superbowl era, there is only one team that has done it better, the 1998 Seahawks. They had eight interceptions for touchdown. So the Bears have eight more games to come up with one more of these. Would it shock anyone if they were able to do it?

MORE COVERAGE:

By the way, the 1961 Chargers had nine interceptions for touchdown.

-Charles Tillman continues to amaze. Sunday, he came up with four forced fumbles. Back in 2009 he had three against the Eagles in a game. For his career, he has 36. The most impressive of the four was the one recovered by Chris Conte. After knocking the ball away from Chris Johnson, Tillman realized that he couldn’t recover it and knocked it forward so that a teammate could pick it up. That’s an unselfish play, from a guy who is already getting consideration for Defensive Player of the Year.

-How dominant was the Bears defense? Here’s a rundown of the Titans first nine possessions:

Fumble, Punt, Punt blocked for touchdown, Punt, Punt, Interception for touchdown, Fumble, Punt, Fumble.

That’s a bad day at the office for the Titans and it makes sense that their owner would put everyone on notice. The Bears scored 28 points in the first quarter. That is a franchise record.

- It was good to see the Bears special teams unit get back on track. Devin Hester’s 44-yard return set up the first offensive touchdown. He didn’t dance looking for a hole. He made one cut and hit the after-burners. If Anthony Walters (No. 37) & Geno Hayes (No. 58) would’ve stayed on their blocks instead of celebrating, Hester would’ve made it to the house.

-Matt Forte showed why he’s one of the most versatile running backs in the NFL. He racked up 148 total yards on 14 touches. In other words, Forte averaged 10.6 yards per play.

What I Heard

“Just tone setter, you know. Two Northwestern guys.” – Lovie Smith

When the Bears traded Tyler Clutts to Houston, they got Sherrick McManis back. He was brought in because of how the Bears wanted to use him on special teams. He got the block and his fellow Northwestern alum, Corey Wootton, came up with the rebound and a touchdown.

Now that he’s healthy, Wootton is making a case to be a Bear long term. Along with the touchdown, Wootton also had a sack and a tackle for loss. That gives him four sacks on the season.

“Our philosophy is, if we get Brandon Marshall one-on-one we’re going to go at him until they stop it.” – Jay Cutler

Good philosophy. Here’s all you need to know about the season that Marshall has had. Last year, the leader for touchdown receptions for the Bears was Kellen Davis. In a full season, Davis had five touchdowns. In eight games, Marshall already has seven. This is what a No. 1 receiver looks like.

“It’s one of the best seasons I have ever seen before.” – Julius Peppers

“Pep” is talking about Tillman. Both players have 36 career forced fumbles, but Peppers said that what Tillman is doing is more impressive. As a defensive end, most of his strips are coming from the blind side. Quarterbacks may feel the pressure, but sometimes, don’t see Peppers coming. Tillman is usually face-to-face with the ballcarrier and he still gets the ball out.

What I Was Told

“I always think simple is bad… coaches in the NFL are too smart for simple.” -Kurt Warner

My TV pre-game show of choice is NFL Network’s. Sunday, Warner was talking about the Bears offensive struggles. After watching the tape, he called it one of the “simplest” that he’s ever seen. I tweeted that out and Bears fans wanted to know if Warner meant it was good in its simplicity or not. This was his reply.

I appreciate Kurt weighing in (gotta love twitter). His analysis helps build the case against Mike Tice, who still doesn’t seem as comfortable calling plays as everyone would’ve hoped.

Early on the Bears continued to struggle on first downs. As we talked about last week, what they can do on second down is limited because they find themselves in second & long way too often. The only points the Titans scored in the first 29 minutes of the game came on a safety. That safety came on second & 14 after an incompletion on first & 10 from the 9 and a false start from Devin Hester on second & 10.

Kurt asked me what Bears players think about Tice. I told him that even off the record, players have told me Tice isn’t the problem, it’s the execution. I find myself being a bit skeptical of that. Especially when you consider the Bears had a 31-2 lead with a 1:16 left in the first half and Tice called a set with an empty backfield. Cutler got sacked and fumbled. It led to the Titans first offensive points.

“It makes you wanna spend a little more time in the weight room.” -Brandon Marshall

When I asked Marshall about matching up with the Texans, his eyes lit up. He’s looking forward to the matchup and wants to get a look at who he called “J.J. Swat” (because of all his passes defended).

I’m looking forward to it too because the Texans offensive line is fantastic. It will be strength against strength when they line up against Julius Peppers and that rotation of linemen for the Bears that has led to so so many turnovers this year.

For more Bears information, follow Laurence on Twitter @LaurenceWHolmes.

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