(CBS) The Bears’ hopes on defense are beginning to come a reality, and an identity is being forged.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks realized that again after a 17-3 win over the Panthers at Soldier Field on Sunday. The defense stepped up with two touchdowns from rookie safety Eddie Jackson and led the way to victory. It was the second straight strong defensive effort from the Bears defense, which has three scores and six takeaways the last two games.

Hicks is feeling proud of the defense’s direction after the latest big effort that lifted Chicago to 3-4.

“Everything’s coming together,” Hicks said on the Mully and Hanley Show on 670 The Score on Monday morning. “I feel like we’re creating our identity now. Everything’s coming together and we’re making people afraid to play us, so that’s a great feeling.

“We’ve had that mindset all the way through OTAs, training camp and the preseason. Now it’s just coming out during the season.”

The Bears pressured Panthers quarterback Cam Newton on 23 of his 43 dropbacks, recording five sacks on the afternoon. Hicks picked up his sixth sack of the season in the win.

It’s the goal of this Bears defense to make opposing quarterbacks feel uncomfortable. They managed to do that Sunday.

“The best defenses tend to be the most feared defenses,” Hicks said. “You could say that about Seattle in 2012, ’13, ’14, that era, and you could say that about Baltimore in the early 2000s. The best defenses tend to be the ones that hit the hardest and make the most plays. We want to be that type of defense.

“We’ve gone through a lot so early in the season, those six games. We went through a lot. Through that, we persevered and we can see the passion that everybody has for the game, the fight, the non-quit. I think that we’re coming into our own, and we want to take the spot that we deserve.”