Saturday, November 19, 2011
Nuts & Bolts: Bears vs. Chargers
By Michael C. Wright
CHARGERS AT BEARS
When: 3:15 p.m., Sunday | TV: CBS | RADIO:780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM
|The Bears have faced the Chargers only once in the regular season -- a 14-3 loss in 2007 -- during Lovie Smith's tenure. |
Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 72-55 | Last week:Defeated the Detroit Lions 37-13.
Career head-to-head record (including playoffs) vs. Norv Turner:0-1
Career record (including playoffs) vs. Chargers: 0-1
Key stat: The Bears have forced nine interceptions over the past three games, including two outings in which they intercepted four passes. When the Bears finish on the positive side of the turnover margin, they’re 10-1 over the past two seasons.
Offense rank: 17th (327.8 ypg) | Defense rank: 25th (376.3 ypg)
|Earl Bennett has been Jay Cutler's favorite target since returning from an injury. |
Offensive leader: Since returning to the lineup on Nov. 7, receiver Earl Bennett has caught 12 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown in two games, which registers as the best back-to-back performances of his career. Look for Bennett to use his chemistry with Jay Cutler to build on that. The expectation is that the Bears will continue to utilize more and more plays designed to get the ball into Bennett’s hands.
Defensive leader: If there’s anything “old” about CB Charles Tillman, it’s only the fact he makes plays virtually every week, and can constantly be counted on to lock down the opposition’s best receiver. Tillman has 28 interceptions over his career. In addition Tillman has forced 26 fumbles, which is the most by a defensive back since 2003, and seventh overall.
• The Bears have never lost a game against the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field.
• The Bears remain undefeated this season (3-0) when the defense scores a touchdown. Since 2004, the Bears are 14-1 when the defense scores a TD.
• The Bears have posted four interceptions in two of their last three outings.
Coach: Norv Turner | Record: 107-114 | Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 1-0
Career record against Bears: 4-0 | Last week: Lost 24-17 to the Raiders
Key stat: With Turner at the controls, the Chargers have a 28-9 record after Nov. 1 and they’ve won eight of their last 10 November games.
Offense rank:7th (396.7 ypg) | Defense rank: 9th (331.3 ypg)
Offensive leader: Although Phillip Rivers has thrown 13 interceptions, he’s also tossed 149 touchdown passes. Rivers needs only one more TD to become the third player in Chargers history and 75th player in NFL history to reach 150. The quarterback is also on pace for another 4,000-yard passing season which would put him with Peyton manning and Drew Brees as the only players in history to produce four consecutive 4,000-yard seasons.
|Eric Weddle could be a thorn in Jay Cutler's side come Sunday. |
Defensive leader: San Diego’s third-leading tackler (44 tackles), safety Eric Weddle also leads the Chargers in interceptions (5) which ties for the NFL lead. Weddle needs five more interceptions to tie the team record for single-season interceptions (10) set in 2007 by Antonio Cromartie.
• San Diego has dropped four consecutive games after starting the season 4-1, making this skid the club’s longest since losing nine in a row from 2002-03.
• The Chargers have won two of their last three outings against NFC opponents.
• Chargers linebacker Antwan Barnes has four sacks in the past three games. If Barnes produces a sack against the Bears, it will be his fourth consecutive game with at least one sack.