Chicago Bears: 2012 Nuts & Bolts

Week 17 Nuts & Bolts: Bears at Lions

December, 29, 2012
12/29/12
3:00
PM ET

CHICAGO BEARS at DETROIT LIONS

When: Noon Sunday | TV: FOX, locally: Ch. 32, WFLD-TV
RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM; WLEY (107.9 FM)

Jay CutlerJerry Lai/US PresswireJay Cutler and the Bears are hoping to escape Detroit with a playoff spot Sunday.

CHICAGO BEARS (9-6)



Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 83-66

Career record (including playoffs) vs. Jim Schwartz: 6-1 | Career record vs. Lions: 12-5

Last week: Defeated Arizona Cardinals 28-13.

Key stat: The Bears have won eight of the past nine games in this series, including a 13-7 win in Week 7 at Soldier Field. The importance of a fast start for the Bears can’t be emphasized enough. When the Bears score first, they’re 7-2 this season and 12-5 over the past two years. The Bears are 13-2 over the past two seasons when they lead after the first quarter.

Offense rank: 28th (305.3 YPG) | Defense rank: Fifth (314.9 YPG).

[+] EnlargeBrandon Marshall
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesBrandon Marshall has caught more than 40 percent of the Bears' receptions this season.

Offensive leader: Recently named to his fourth Pro Bowl, receiver Brandon Marshall ranks No. 2 in the NFL in catches (113), which is already a Bears franchise record, as are his 1,466 yards receiving. Given the fact that he’s caught more than 40 percent of all receptions for Chicago, the Lions know they need to take him away and force the other Bears receivers to beat them. But can they do it? Other teams have tried and failed, while a few have experienced success.

Defensive leader: Cornerback Charles Tillman was named to his second Pro Bowl earlier in the week, and is coming off a performance against Arizona in which he returned his third interception for a touchdown. Tillman will be tasked with covering Detroit record-breaking receiver Calvin Johnson, and he’s experienced plenty of success against the Lions’ top target, holding him to just three catches in the first meeting. With Chicago’s defensive line playing the way it is, Tillman’s job might be easier this game.

STREAKS



• Marshall needs one more 100-yard receiving game to take sole possession of the top spot in franchise history for the most 100-yard games in a single season. Marshall is currently tied with Jeff Graham and Harlon Hill for No. 1 on the list with seven.

• With 25 touchdowns, Matt Forte needs one more to tie Hugh Gallarneau for the fifth-most rushing TDs in franchise history.

• The Bears need one more INT return TD to tie the 1961 San Diego Chargers for the most in a single season in NFL history.

• The Bears have won seven consecutive games in which they scored at least one defensive touchdown.

DETROIT LIONS (4-11)


Coach: Jim Schwartz | Record: 22-41

Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 1-6 | Career record vs. Bears: 1-6

Last week: Lost 31-18 to the Atlanta Falcons.

Key stat: The Detroit Lions are on pace to average more than 400 yards per game for the first time in franchise history, and are one of only two teams (New Orleans is the other) to average more than 300 yards per game through the air. The Lions rank No. 2 in total first downs (363) and seventh in third-down percentage (42.1).

Offense rank: Second (414.2 YPG) | Defense rank: 13th (337.9 YPG).

[+] EnlargeCalvin Johnson
Leon Halip/Getty ImagesThe Lions' Calvin Johnson has a chance to post a 2,000-yard season for pass receptions.

Offensive leader: Receiver Calvin Johnson now owns the single-season record for receiving yardage (1,892 yards) and appears to have a chance to reach 2,000 yards. He can also set the NFL record for highest yards per game average set in 1961 by Charley Finnegan (124.7-yard average). Reaching those milestones won’t be a cinch, though, with Tillman set to cover Johnson.

Defensive leader: Ndamukong Suh ranks second in sacks by a defensive tackle since 2010 (21), but has shown a penchant for losing control on the field. Suh currently ranks second in sacks by a defensive tackle (seven), is tied for first with eight tackles for lost yardage on runs, and No. 2 in combined sacks and tackles for loss on rushing plays (15).

STREAKS



• The Lions have scored 19 touchdowns on their last 26 possessions in the red zone.

• With 4,695 passing yards this season, Stafford needs 305 yards to become the first quarterback in NFL history to reach 5,000 yards through the air in back-to-back seasons.

• Detroit’s offensive line leads the NFL in games started for its current team. The starting five has combined for 563 regular-season starts and five postseason starts.

Week 16 Nuts & Bolts: Bears at Cardinals

December, 22, 2012
12/22/12
3:00
PM ET

CHICAGO BEARS at ARIZONA CARDINALS

When: 3:25 p.m. Sunday | TV: FOX, locally: Ch. 32, WFLD-TV
RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM; WLEY (107.9 FM)

Lovie SmithAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhLovie Smith and the Bears are 1-7 during December and January over the last two years.

CHICAGO BEARS (8-6)



Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 82-66

Career record (including playoffs) vs. Ken Whisenhunt: 0-1 | Career record vs. Cardinals: 1-1

Last week: Lost to Green Bay Packers 21-13.

Key stat:Since advancing to the Super Bowl during the 2006 season, the Bears have posted a regular-season record of 12-15 during the months of Dec. and Jan., and counting the current season, are 1-7 during those months over the last two years. The Bears are also 5-9 over the last two seasons when the opponent scores first and they’re 1-6 over that same span when they trail at the half.

Offense rank: 29th (305.9 ypg) | Defense rank: Fifth (319.6 ypg).

[+] EnlargeBrandon Marshall
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesBrandon Marshall leads the NFL in receptions with 107.

Offensive leader: The NFL leader in receptions (107), Brandon Marshall called for more accountability on the offensive side of the ball after last week’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. He seemed to be one of the few on the team with the credibility to do it, given he’s put together seven 100-yard receiving games this season, and is tied for third in the NFL in touchdown catches (10).

Defensive leader: Cornerback Charles Tillman forced his 10th fumble of the season against the Packers to establish a single-season career high in that category. With Tim Jennings slowed by injury and the offense struggling, Tillman needs to continue to take away the ball to give this team as many opportunities as possible to score points. Tillman ranks among the top to since 2003 in INTs (32), INT return yards (596), INT return TDs (7), forced fumbles (39) and pass breakups (123).

STREAKS



Jay Cutler hasn’t put together a 300-yard passing game in 15 consecutive outings, and he’s thrown three INTs in his last two starts.

Matt Forte hasn’t put together a 100-yard rushing performance in six consecutive games.

• Marshall has caught a touchdown pass in two consecutive games, in addition to finishing with 160 yards or more receiving in two of the last three contests.

• The defense has allowed opposing offenses to convert 41.2 percent or better on third down in three consecutive games.

ARIZONA CARDINALS (5-9)


Coach: Ken Whisenhunt | Record: 49-51

Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 1-0 | Career record vs. Bears: 1-0

Last week: Defeated the Detroit Lions 38-10.

Key stat: The Cardinals rank first in the NFL in INTs (22), and are holding opposing quarterbacks to an NFL-low 68.0 passer rating. With 32 total takeaways, the Cardinals rank fourth in the NFL behind Chicago, New England and the New York Giants. Interestingly, the Cardinals have generated 16 of their takeaways (13 INTs, 3 fumble recoveries) over the past five games.

Offense rank: 32nd (264.2 ypg) | Defense rank: 11th (335.8 ypg).

[+] EnlargeLarry Fitzgerald
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesLarry Fitzgerald is tough to stop -- when the Cardinals' QBs can actually get the ball to him.

Offensive leader: Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has caught more passes than 15 of the 21 receivers in the Hall of Fame, and has generated more receiving yards than 14 of the 21 receivers in the Hall. Despite Fitzgerald’s gaudy career numbers, he hasn’t hauled in a touchdown reception since Nov. 4.

Defensive leader: Cornerback Patrick Peterson picked off his seventh pass of the season last week against the Detroit Lions, and he now ranks No. 2 in the league in INTs behind the Bears’ Jennings. Peterson has picked off a pass in four consecutive games, and is the first Cardinal since Aeneas Williams in 1994 to accomplish that feat.

STREAKS



• The Cardinals have sold out 73 consecutive games at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

Beanie Wells has run for five touchdowns in his last two home games.

• With nine sacks, Daryl Washington needs just one more to become the fourth inside linebacker in NFL history to post at least 10 sacks in a season.

Week 14 Nuts & Bolts: Bears at Vikings

December, 8, 2012
12/08/12
3:00
PM ET

CHICAGO BEARS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS

When: Noon Sunday | TV: FOX
RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM; WLEY (107.9 FM)

Vernon DavisKyle Terada/US PresswireThe Bears defense hasn't been as stifling as it was the first eight games of the season.

CHICAGO BEARS (8-4)



Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 82-64

Career record (including playoffs) vs. Leslie Frazier: 4-0 | Career record vs. Vikings: 11-6

Last week: Lost to the Seattle Seahawks 23-17 in OT.

Key stat:The Bears have lost three of their last four after starting the season 7-1. During the club’s 7-1 start, the defense scored seven touchdowns and averaged 3.5 takeaways. Over the last four games, the Bears haven’t scored a TD on defense while averaging 1.5 takeaways.

Offense rank: 30th (304 ypg) | Defense rank: Fifth (319 ypg).

[+] EnlargeChicago's Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall
AP Photo/Joe HowellChicago's Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler are connecting at a record-setting pace.

Offensive leader: Brandon Marshall needs nine catches to become the fourth player in NFL history to produce four seasons with at least 100 receptions and tie the club’s single-season record for receptions (100) set by Marty Booker in 2001. Marshall has caught 91 of the 135 passes thrown his way and according to ESPN Stats & Information has the highest percentage of his team’s targets (29.2), receptions (41.9) and receiving first downs (44.9) of any receiver in the NFL.

Defensive leader: Having played 95.2 percent of the team’s snaps over the past three seasons, cornerback Charles Tillman needs to step up and fill the leadership void left by middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, who is expected to miss the rest of the regular season with a hamstring injury. Tillman is playing with a foot injury, and coming off a performance in which he allowed just his second TD pass this season. So he needs to bounce back with a strong outing on the road.

STREAKS



• The Bears have won six consecutive games against Minnesota, which ranks as the longest streak by either team in the series since the Vikings reeled off six in a row from 1992-94. No team in the series has won more than six in a row since the Vikings captured eight straight from 1972-76.

Israel Idonije has generated a half sack in two of the last three games.

Jay Cutler has won five consecutive games against the Vikings, throwing for 13 TDs and five INTs while producing a passer rating of 100.9.

Matt Forte needs 37 yards from scrimmage to reach 1,000 for the fifth season in a row.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-6)


Coach: Leslie Frazier | Record: 12-22

Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 0-4 | Career record vs. Bears: 0-4

Last week: Lost to Green Bay Packers 23-14.

Key stat: The Vikings own a 31-21 record when hosting the Bears and a combined record of 162-89 all time at home. Interestingly, Minnesota hasn’t won a home game against the Bears since 2009. The Vikings have never been shut out at the Metrodome and the last time they were shut out a home stadium (Met Stadium), they lost 13-0 to the Bears.

Offense rank: 22nd (335.5 ypg) | Defense rank: 13th (344.8 ypg).

[+] EnlargeAdrian Peterson
Wesley Hitt/Getty ImagesVikings running back Adrian Peterson is on pace for 1,928 yards this season.

Offensive leader: Running back Adrian Peterson has rushed for 100 yards or more in a franchise-record six consecutive outings and is the first player to accomplish that feat since Maurice Jones-Drew in 2010. Peterson has rushed for 671 yards in his last four games, which qualifies as the most in his career over a four-game span. Peterson needs 554 over the next four games to reach 2,000 yards.

Defensive leader: Defensive end Jared Allen set a single-season record for sacks (22) in 2011, finally accomplishing the feat by racking up a season-high 3.5 sacks against the Bears in the season finale at the Metrodome. Allen is the first Viking since John Randle (1997-2000) to lead the team in sacks four consecutive seasons. His 114 career sacks ranks No. 1 among all players since 2004 when Allen came into the NFL.

STREAKS



• The Minnesota Vikings have used the same starting group of offensive linemen in all 12 games this season. The unit has been key in Peterson rushing for the second-best season total of his career with four games left to play.

• Chris Ponder was 0 of 8 with an interception on throws of more than 10 yards down the field against the Bears the last time the teams met. But the quarterback has completed at least one such pass in every other game.

• The NFL’s third-leading rusher, Marshawn Lynch, has averaged 4.6 yards per carry or better in four of his last five games.

• CB Antoine Winfield has forced a fumble or picked off a pass in two consecutive games against the Bears.

Week 13 Nuts & Bolts: Bears vs. Seahawks

December, 1, 2012
12/01/12
1:30
PM ET

CHICAGO BEARS vs. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

When: Noon Sunday | TV: FOX
RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM; WLEY (107.9 FM)

CutlerFrederick Breedon/Getty ImagesThe Bears continue to rack up wins behind quarterback Jay Cutler.

CHICAGO BEARS (8-3)



Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 82-63

Career record (including playoffs) vs. Pete Carroll: 1-2 | Career record vs. Seahawks: 4-3

Last week: Defeated the Minnesota Vikings 28-10.

Key stat:The Bears hold a 13-2 record with Jay Cutler in the lineup since Week 6 of last season, and without the quarterback the club is 1-6. The Bears average 28.7 points per game, 325.7 total yards, and 197.9 passing yards with Cutler at the helm since Week 6 of 2011. Over that span without Cutler, the Bears averaged 13.1 points, 263 total yards and 129.9 through the air.

Offense rank: 30th (299.1 ypg) | Defense rank: third (307 ypg).

[+] EnlargeBrandon Marshall
Brad Penner/US PRESSWIREBrandon Marshall has made 57.1 percent of the Bears' TD receptions this season.

Offensive leader: Brandon Marshall has scored 57.1 percent of Chicago’s receiving touchdowns this season, which ranks as the highest percentage in the NFL. He also accounts for 38.1 percent of Chicago’s targeted pass attempts this season, while no other player in the league accounts for more than 31.4 percent, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The fifth player in NFL history to gain 1,000 yards receiving with three different teams, Marshall has scored seven touchdowns in his last eight games.

Defensive leader: Defensive tackle Henry Melton ranks No. 2 among DTs with six sacks, giving him 15.5 sacks for his career, including 13 over the last two seasons. Melton sacked Minnesota’s Christian Ponder last week on the Vikings’ first play from scrimmage. His 13 sacks since 2011 rank second in the NFL among defensive tackle, and the most by a Bear at that position since Tommie Harris generated 13 from 2006-07.

STREAKS



• The Bears have won five of their last six against NFC opponents.

• The Bears have lost two consecutive regular-season games to Seattle at Soldier Field.

• The Bears are 13-1 when Matt Forte rushes for 100 yards or more.

Robbie Gould has made 10 consecutive field goals from distances of 50 yards or more dating back to 2010, which is one shy of the NFL record of 11 in a row by Tony Zendejas (1988-93).

Julius Peppers has contributed two tackles or fewer in 10 consecutive games.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (6-5)


Coach: Pete Carroll | Record: 55-57

Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 2-1 | Career record vs. Bears: 3-2

Last week: Lost to the Miami Dolphins 24-21.

Key stat: The Seahawks are 1-5 on the road, yet undefeated at home (5-0). Seattle has finished with a losing road record for six consecutive years, which ties a franchise record. The Seahawks are 6-16 on the road over the last three seasons, and only the Arizona Cardinals have a larger difference in win percentage between home and road games over that span.

Offense rank: 27th (316.7 ypg) | Defense rank: 5th (309.4 ypg).

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Steven Bisig/US PresswireRussell Wilson broke a rookie record for most consecutive completions (16) this season.

Offensive leader: The sixth rookie quarterback drafted in the third round or later to start a season opener since 1970, Russell Wilson has broken rookie records for most consecutive completions (16), in addition to finishing his last three games with a passer rating of 125.9 or better. Wilson is coming off a loss at Miami in which he completed 77.8 percent of his throws for two touchdowns.

Defensive leader: Chris Clemons ranks eighth in the NFC with eight sacks, and tied the NFL record for the most sacks in the first half with four on Sept. 24 against the Green Bay Packers. Clemons is fifth among defensive ends in sacks since the start of 2010 and has played an instrumental role in the Seahawks racking up 29 sacks over the first 11 games, which ranks No. 9 in the NFL.

STREAKS



• Wilson is one of five quarterbacks since 1970 to start their careers with a record of 5-0 or better at home.

• Seattle has gained 100 yards rushing or more in 16 of its last 20 games, and since Week 9 of 2011, the Seahawks 2,732 rushing yards rank No. 6 in the NFL.

• The NFL’s third-leading rusher, Marshawn Lynch has averaged 4.6 yards per carry or better in four of his last five games.

• Second-round pick Bobby Wagner has averaged 9.2 tackles per game, in addition to generating double-digit tackle totals in three of his last six games.

Week 12 Nuts & Bolts: Bears vs. Vikings

November, 24, 2012
11/24/12
1:30
PM ET

CHICAGO BEARS vs. MINNESOTA VIKINGS

When: Noon Sunday | TV: FOX
RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM; WLEY (107.9 FM)

Julius PeppersScott Cunningham/Getty ImagesJulius Peppers and the Bears have had success forcing interceptions while in the four-man rush.

CHICAGO BEARS (7-3)



Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 81-63

Career record (including playoffs) vs. Leslie Frazier: 3-0 | Career record vs. Vikings: 10-6

Last week: Lost to San Francisco 49ers 32-7.

Key stat:In their seven victories this season, the Bears intercepted a pass once in every 15.2 opponent attempts when utilizing a four-man pass rush, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Yet in the three losses, Chicago generated only one interception on 58 attempts with its four-man pass rush.

Offense rank: 30th (299.3 ypg) | Defense rank: fifth (311.9 ypg).

[+] EnlargeBrandon Marshall
AP Photo/LM OteroBrandon Marshall has been targeted 14 times in the red zone this season.

Offensive leader: Brandon Marshall leads the Bears with 14 red-zone targets, while no other receiver on the roster has been targeted more than four times in the red zone, according to ESPN Stats & Information. When throwing to Marshall, Bears quarterbacks complete 64.3 percent of their passes in the red zone for five touchdowns. Yet they’ve hit just 56.3 percent of throws to the rest of the receivers in the red zone with just two TDs.

Defensive leader: Cornerback Charles Tillman, who ran back an interception 22 yards for a touchdown the last time these teams met, leads the NFL with seven forced fumbles and is tied for the league lead with two INTs returned for touchdowns. Tillman has scored a franchise-high seven TDs on interception returns, and is one of two players since 1991 to generate 30 or more interceptions and 30 or more forced fumbles.

STREAKS



• The Bears have won four of their last five against NFC opponents.

• The Bears have defeated Minnesota in five consecutive games, which ranks as the longest winning streak by either team in this series since the Vikings captured six in a row from 1992-94. The current streak ranks as Chicago’s longest since winning six straight from 1983-86.

Tim Jennings picked off a pass in his last game against the Vikings and has posted an INT in three of his last five against NFC North opponents.

Robbie Gould has connected on 10 consecutive field goals from distances of 50 yards or more dating back to 2010, which is one shy of the NFL record of 11 in a row by Tony Zendejas (1988-93).

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-4)


Coach: Leslie Frazier | Record: 12-20

Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 0-3 | Career record vs. Bears: 0-3

Last week: Defeated the Detroit Lions 34-24.

Key stat: The Vikings are 17-6 in games coming off a bye week since 1990, which includes the club’s last win at Soldier Field When Adrian Peterson rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie in 2007.

Offense rank: 20th (340.9 ypg) | Defense rank: 13th (340.7 ypg).

[+] EnlargeAdrian Peterson
Bruce Kluckhohn/US PresswireAdrian Peterson has proved that he's as strong as ever after last season's ACL injury.

Offensive leader: Running back Adrian Peterson leads the NFL with 1,128 rushing yards, which is just 100 yards fewer than the combined output of all seven Chicago rushers this season. Peterson is tied for second in the NFL with seven rushing TDs and has gained 100 yards or more in four consecutive games.

Defensive leader: Defensive end Jared Allen broke the franchise single-season sack record in 2011 (22 sacks), and posted a season-high 3.5 sacks the last time the Vikings faced the Bears. Since coming into the league in 2004, Allen has posted 112 sacks, which ranks as the most of any player during that span.

STREAKS



• After posting at least one sack in six consecutive games, Allen has been held to no sacks in two straight. He hasn’t gone three games in a row without at least half a sack since 2010.

• The Vikings have lost four in a row and 10 of their last 11 at Soldier Field.

Christian Ponder has thrown an interception in five of his last six games, in addition to absorbing multiple sacks in five straight.

Chad Greenway has posted double-digit tackles in two of his last three games.

• Peterson has rushed for a touchdown in four consecutive games

Week 11 Nuts & Bolts: Bears vs. Texans

November, 10, 2012
11/10/12
3:00
PM ET

CHICAGO BEARS vs. HOUSTON TEXANS

When: 7:20 p.m. Sunday | TV: NBC
RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM; WLEY (107.9 FM)

Jay CutlerAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhThe Bears are seeking their seventh straight win on Sunday against the Texans.

CHICAGO BEARS (7-1)



Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 78-58

Career record (including playoffs) vs. Mike Munchak: 0-1 | Career record vs. Texans: 0-2

Last week: Defeated Tennessee Titans 51-20.

Key stat: The Bears are currently on their longest winning streak since winning the first seven games of the 2006 season, and have won at least five games in a row for the third consecutive season, which marks the first time since 1947-49 the club accomplished that feat. The Bears lead the NFL in takeaways (28) and turnover differential (plus-16).

Offense rank: 25th (324.4 ypg) | Defense rank: sixth (318.1 ypg).

[+] EnlargeBrandon Marshall
David Banks/Getty ImagesBrandon Marshall continues to rack up receiving numbers for the Bears.

Offensive leader: Brandon Marshall has been the most consistent performer on offense, and has been given far more opportunities than every other player. But he’s made good on his chances. Marshall has nine catches in back-to-back outings for a combined 220 yards and three touchdowns and is currently on pace to shatter virtually every Bears franchise receiving record.

Defensive leader: Cornerback Charles Tillman won NFC Player of the Month in October, and followed that up by forcing a career-high four fumbles in last week’s shellacking of the Tennessee Titans. Although he’s forced turnovers his entire career, Tillman is beginning to receive recognition nationally for his accolades, which also puts opposing offenses on notice.

STREAKS



• The Bears have intercepted a pass in every game this season and have scored on an INT return in four of the last five contests.
• Cutler has thrown for at least one touchdown in five consecutive games.
• Tillman has forced six fumbles in his last three games.
Patrick Mannelly will extend his record for most games played in a Bears uniform to 224 against the Texans.
Brian Urlacher has recovered a fumble in two of the last three games.
Lance Briggs has posted double-digit tackle totals in two of his last three games.

HOUSTON TEXANS (7-1)


Coach: Gary Kubiak | Record: 55-51

Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 1-0 | Career record vs. Bears: 1-0

Last week: Defeated the Buffalo Bills 21-9

Key stat: The Texans are the only team in the NFL that hasn’t given up a rushing touchdown all season. Houston’s defense hasn’t surrendered a rushing touchdown in a regular-season outing since Week 15 of the 2011 season. So the club has gone 11 regular-season games without giving up a rushing TD.

Offense rank: 12th (371.8 ypg) | Defense rank: 3rd (286.1 ypg).

[+] EnlargeArian Foster
Bob Levey/Getty ImagesThe Texans' Arian Foster leads the NFL with 11 rushing touchdowns.

Offensive leader: Running back Arian Foster ranks No. 2 in the AFC with 770 yards rushing and leads the NFL with 11 touchdowns. Foster has scored a touchdown in 10 consecutive regular-season games. Since 2010, Foster leads the NFL in rushing yards per game (97.6), yards from scrimmage per game (132.6) and TDs from scrimmage (41).

Defensive leader: Defensive end J.J. Watt leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks and has posted a sack in each of his first six games this season, in addition to leading the team with 59 tackles. Watt is just the 11th NFL player since 1982 to generate 10 or more sacks and 10 or more passes defensed in a season. Watt was AFC defensive player of the month in September.

STREAKS



• Houston has won three in a row on the road, and with a win at Soldier Field will tie the franchise record.
• A sack by OLB Connor Barwin would give him a sack in three consecutive games for the first time this season and the third time of his career.
• Receiver Andre Johnson has caught a pass in a franchise-record 91 consecutive games.
• QB Matt Schaub needs 144 yards passing to reach 20,000 for his career.
• OLB Whitney Mercilus has posted a sack and forced a fumble in two consecutive games.

Week 10 Nuts & Bolts: Bears at Titans

November, 3, 2012
11/03/12
3:00
PM ET

CHICAGO BEARS vs. TENNESSEE TITANS

When: Noon Sunday | TV: Fox, locally: Ch. 32 WFLD-TV
RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM; WLEY (107.9 FM)
Brandon MarshallDennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireThe Bears' offense and defense both rank in the Top 10 in scoring.

CHICAGO BEARS (6-1)



Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 77-58

Career record (including playoffs) vs. Mike Munchak: 0-0 | Career record vs. Titans: 1-1

Last week: Defeated Carolina Panthers 23-22.

Key stat: The Bears are one of four teams in the NFL to rank in the top 10 in both scoring offense and defense. The Bears average 26.4 points per game, which ranks eighth and the defense allows 14.3 points per game (second). Interestingly, 2006 marked the last time the team ranked in the top 10 in points scored (second) and points allowed (third).

Offense rank: 26th (319.6 ypg) | Defense rank: sixth (316 ypg).

Jay Cutler
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhJay Cutler has shown he can carry the Bears to wins in the fourth quarter.

Offensive leader: Jay Cutler comes off a strong fourth-quarter performance in the team’s win over the Panthers, and it’s apparent this team only goes as far as the quarterback takes it. With the Bears holding leads late in all but two games, Cutler’s passer rating in the fourth quarter has been 132.0.

Defensive leader: Cornerback Charles Tillman won NFC Player of the Month in October after returning two interceptions for touchdowns in addition to holding Lions receiver Calvin Johnson to a season-low 34 yards on three receptions when the teams met on Oct. 22. Tillman hasn’t given up a TD all season, and opposing quarterbacks own a 44.7 passer rating when throwing on the cornerback.

STREAKS


• The Bears have intercepted a pass in every game this season and have scored on an INT return in three of the past four contests.

• Cutler has thrown for at least one touchdown in four consecutive games.

Patrick Mannelly will extend his record for most games played in a Bears uniform to 223 against the Titans.

• Cornerback Tim Jennings has picked off a pass in six of his past eight games.

TENNESSEE TITANS (3-5)



Coach: Mike Munchak | Record: 12-12

Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 0-0 | Career record vs. Bears: 0-0

Last week: Lost to Indianapolis Colts 19-13 in OT

Key stat: The Titans own a 3-1 record this season in games decided by seven points or fewer and a 3-0 mark in outings decided by three or fewer. Since 1999, the Titans are 32-22 in games decided by three points or fewer and 58-38 in games decided by seven or fewer.

Offense rank: 24th (326.4 ypg) | Defense rank: 21st (421.3 ypg).

[+] EnlargeChris Johnson
Kevin Hoffman/US PresswireChris Johnson has rushed for 90 or more yards in four of the past five games.

Offensive leader: Running back Chris Johnson rushed for 99 yards in the loss to the Colts and has gained 90 yards rushing or more in four of the past five games. Despite Johnson’s uncanny ability to go the distance on any given play, the last time the Titans faced the Bears, the running back gained just 8 yards on 14 attempts.

Defensive leader: Defensive end Kamerion Wimbley joined the Titans in March after two seasons with the Oakland Raiders. In 2011, Wimbley posted a sack against the Bears and returned an interception off Caleb Hanie 73 yards. Wimbley has 42.5 career sacks, including 2.5 so far this season.

STREAKS

• Receiver Nate Washington has caught at least one pass in 70 consecutive games, and leads the Titans with 443 receiving yards this season.

• The Titans have scored on their opening drive in three consecutive games, which is interesting considering the Bears are 31-34 since 2004 when the opponent scores first and 1-1 in those circumstances this season.

• QB Matt Hasselbeck needs one touchdown pass to tie Roman Gabriel for 31st on the NFL’s all-time list at 201 and three to tie Jim Everett (203) at No. 30.

Week 9 Nuts & Bolts: Bears vs. Panthers

October, 27, 2012
10/27/12
2:30
PM ET

CHICAGO BEARS vs. CAROLINA PANTHERS

When: Noon Sunday | TV: FOX, locally: Ch. 32 WFLD-TV
RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM; WLEY (107.9 FM)
Jay CutlerMatthew Emmons/US PresswireSince Week 7 of 2011, Jay Cutler has the highest winning percentage (.909) of any starting quarterback.

CHICAGO BEARS (5-1)



Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 76-58

Career record (including playoffs) vs. Ron Rivera: | 1-0 Career record vs. Panthers:3-2

Last week: Defeated Detroit Lions 13-7

Key stat: The Bears are 4-0 this season when they score first, 3-0 when they lead after the first quarter, and 5-0 when they finish with a positive turnover ratio. Since Week 7 of 2011, Jay Cutler owns the highest winning percentage (.909) of any starting quarterback in the NFL.

Offense rank: 22nd (337.8 ypg) | Defense rank: sixth (299.3 ypg).

[+] EnlargeBrandon Marshall
David Banks/Getty ImagesBrandon Marshall is on pace to set the Bears' single season receiving yards record.

Offensive leader: Since 2007, Brandon Marshall has caught 515 passes, which ranks as No. 3 in the NFL over the period. Marshall is currently on pace to finish the season with a career-high 1,538 yards, which would rank as the most receiving yards in franchise history. Marshall has caught 63.1 percent of the passes thrown his way in 2012, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Defensive leader: Cornerback Charles Tillman earned recognition as NFC player of the week for his performance against the Detroit Lions, but faces another stiff challenge Sunday against Carolina’s Steve Smith. Tillman’s eight touchdowns ranks as the most defensive TDs in franchise history, and he’s five INTs away from tying Richie Petitbon for No. 2 on the club’s all-time list.

STREAKS


• Marshall looks for fourth consecutive game in which he’s caught a TD pass.

• Cutler has won seven consecutive home starts

Matt Forte looks to rush for 150 yards or more against the Panthers for the third time in a row.

• Cornerback Tim Jennings has picked off a pass in five of his last seven games.

CAROLINA PANTHERS (1-5)



Coach: Ron Rivera | Record: 7-15

Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 0-1 | Career record vs. Bears: 0-1

Last week: Lost to Dallas Cowboys 19-14.

Key stat: Carolina led the league in 2011 with 90 plays of 20 yards or more, and currently ranks fourth in that statistic, having hit gains of 20-plus yards on 31 occasions. Quarterback Cam Newton is the only player in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards (5,438), 25 TDs or more (26), in addition to adding 15 or more rushing TDs (17) through his first two seasons.

Offense rank: 24th (335.5 ypg) | Defense rank: 21st (366.2 ypg).

[+] EnlargeSteve Smith
Jeremy Brevard/US PresswirePanthers receiver Steve Smith has burned the Bears in the past.

Offensive leader: Smith has hauled in 34 passes for 568 yards and two touchdowns in his last three meetings against the Bears. A five-time Pro Bowler, Smith holds Carolina’s franchise record for total touchdowns (67), receiving yards (10,749) and yards per catch (14.7) in addition to putting together 40 games with 100 yards or more receiving.

Defensive leader: Defensive end Charles Johnson set a single-game franchise record for sacks (3.5) in Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons and has led the Panthers in sacks for each of the last three seasons. Johnson has posted 20 1/2 sacks over his last 28 appearances, and narrowly missed posting a double-digit sack season (9) in 2011 for the second-consecutive time.

STREAKS

• Smith needs one reception to extend his streak of 81 consecutive games with at least one catch dating back to 2006.

• Offensive tackle Jordan Gross will break Carolina’s record for consecutive starts (142) on Sunday.

• Defensive end Greg Hardy has started three weeks in a row, notching sacks in two of those three outings.

Week 8 Nuts & Bolts: Bears vs. Lions

October, 21, 2012
10/21/12
9:00
AM ET

CHICAGO BEARS vs. DETROIT LIONS

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday | TV: ESPN, locally: WCIU-TV
RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM; WLEY (107.9 FM)
Bears/LionsDennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireTwo stellar defensive lines face off on Monday led by the Bears' Julius Peppers and the Lions' Ndamukong Suh.

CHICAGO BEARS (4-1)



Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 75-58

Career record (including playoffs) vs. Jim Schwartz: | 5-1 Career record vs. Lions:11-5

Last week: Idle

Key stat: The Bears have scored five touchdowns on returns in 2012, including four TDs in the past two games. But the last time they faced the Lions, the Bears put points on the board with all three phases with a Devin Hester 82-yard punt return, two defensive touchdowns (not to mention six takeaways) and offense.

Offense rank: 20th (346.2 ypg) | Defense rank: third (291.2 ypg).

[+] EnlargeBrandon Marshall
AP Photo/LM OteroBrandon Marshall is on a record-setting pace for a Bears receiver.

Offensive leader: Receiver Brandon Marshall averages seven catches per game and 99.2 yards receiving, which ranks as the highest average in franchise history. If Marshall keeps up the pace, he'll shatter the single-season franchise receiving record while recording a career-high 1,587 yards. With three 100-yard receiving games, Marshall is already tied for ninth in franchise history.

Defensive leader: Defensive end Julius Peppers has been a sheer terror to the Lions and averages more than a sack per outing against them. In eight games against the Lions, Peppers has posted 10 sacks while forcing five fumbles. In the 2010 opener, Peppers knocked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford out of the game with a shoulder injury.

STREAKS


Jay Cutler remains undefeated (24-0) when he finishes a game with a passer rating of 100 or better.

• If Marshall gains 85 receiving yards against the Lions, he'll have the most yards through the first six games in franchise history.

Matt Forte needs one more 100-yard rushing performance to tie Neal Anderson (14) for the third most in franchise history.

Lance Briggs needs one more INT return for a TD to move into a tie with Bobby Bell and Derrick Brooks for the most in NFL history by a linebacker.

DETROIT LIONS (2-3)



Coach: Jim Schwartz | Record: 20-34

Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 1-5 | Career record vs. Bears: 1-5

Last week: Defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 26-23 in overtime.

Key stat: The Lions entered Week 6 as one of just three teams to hold top-10 rankings in offense and defense. In three of five games, Detroit has held offenses to fewer than 80 yards rushing, and the Lions have given up just eight total touchdowns, with one coming on the ground and seven through the air.

Offense rank: Second (419.6 ypg) | Defense rank: Ninth (324 ypg).

[+] EnlargeMatthew Stafford
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastLions QB Matthew Stafford has just four touchdown passes this season.

Offensive leader: Stafford ranked in the top five of all six major passing categories in 2011, joining Drew Brees and Tom Brady as the only other quarterbacks to accomplish that feat last season. In a contest in which he tossed his franchise-record third game-winning touchdown pass against the Eagles, Stafford posted a 106.3 passer rating in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Defensive leader: Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has generated just 2½ sacks this season, but he's been a disruptive force teamed with DE Cliff Avril, DT Nick Fairley and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch. Suh is tied for the most sacks by a defensive tackles over the past three years (16½).

STREAKS

• Detroit's 73 fourth-quarter points ranks as the second most in the NFL. The Lions lead the league in total offense in the fourth quarter (947 yards), passing yards (790), completions and is also tied for the most passing touchdowns (6).

Calvin Johnson needs 69 yards receiving to tie Johnnie Morton (6,499 yards) for second in franchise history.

• OT Jeff Backus has started 181 consecutive regular season games, and his streak for starts ranks No. 3 among active players and sixth since 1970 among linemen.

Week 3 Nuts & Bolts: Rams at Bears

September, 23, 2012
9/23/12
12:20
AM ET

ST. LOUIS RAMS at CHICAGO BEARS

When: Noon, Sunday | TV: Fox, Ch. 32, WFLD-TV | RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM

Tim JenningsNuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCTThe Bears are tied for the league lead in takeaways with seven.

CHICAGO BEARS (1-1)


Coach: Lovie Smith Record including playoffs: 72-58

Career head-to-head record (including playoffs) vs. Jeff Fisher: 1-1 | Career record vs. Rams: 3-0

Last week: Lost to Packers 23-10

Key stat: With seven takeaways, the Bears are tied for the NFL lead after three games with four interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Since Smith became head coach of the Bears in 2004, the club leads the NFL in takeaways and has compiled a record of 43-9 over that span when they finish a game on the positive side of turnover margin.

Offense rank in 2011: 27th (298 ypg) | Defense rank: (338.5 ypg).

[+] EnlargeJay Cutler
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswireJay Cutler hasn't had much time to throw the ball this season.

Offensive leader: Although several factors play a role in pressure such (receivers, the defense, shoddy blocking, etc.), the fact is Jay Cutler has been under pressure 44.4 percent of the time, which is the most in the NFL. That pressure has been tremendously detrimental to
Cutler’s accuracy as he’s completed just 39.1 percent of his throws under those conditions, which ranks among the bottom three quarterbacks in the league.

Defensive leader: CB Tim Jennings has picked off a career-high three passes so far, but what has gone unnoticed this season is how difficult it’s been for opponents to throw against him. Opposing
quarterbacks have generated a passer rating of 19.7 on throws targeted at Jennings’ coverage area, according to Pro Football Focus. As a run defender, Jennings hasn’t yet missed a tackle this season.

Streaks

  • A win gives Chicago its fourth straight against the Rams and would mark their longest winning streak against that team since the Bears reeled off eight in a row against them from 1961 to 1964 when the teams both played in the Western Division.

  • DT Henry Melton has posted a sack in each of the club’s two games and is tied for the second in the league with three sacks.

  • All five of Earl Bennett’s receptions on the season have gained first downs. Since Week 9 of 2010, Bennett has caught 19 passes on third down with every one of them going for a first down.


    ST.LOUIS RAMS (1-1)


    Coach Jeff Fisher: Record including playoffs 148-124

    Career record vs. Smith: 1-1 | Career record vs. Bears: 1-3

    Last week: Defeated the Washington Redskins 31-28

    Key stat: Overcame a 15-point deficit against the Redskins to come away with a 31-28 win. Before then, the Rams hadn’t overcome a deficit that large since Nov. 27, 2005, when they came back from 21 down to beat the Houston Texans in overtime.

    Offense rank in 2011: 18th (351 ypg). | Defense rank: 24th (401 ypg).

    [+] EnlargeSam Bradford
    AP Photo/James D SmithSam Bradford has put up big fourth quarters for the Rams.
    Offensive leader: QB Sam Bradford has a passer rating of 145.8 in the fourth quarter of his last two games, which ranks second in that category this season behind Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys. On third downs, Bradford has completed 14 of 17 and leads the NFL in completion percentage (82.4) on third downs while generating a passer rating of 125.2 in those situations.

    Defensive leader: Coming off a breakout season in 2011 in which he posted 13 sacks, Rams DE Chris Long is still looking for his first sack of 2012. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t wreaked havoc so far this season. Long tallied three pressures in St. Louis’ opener against the Detroit Lions, and five more last week in the win over the Redskins. He’s also got four quarterback hits on the season.

    Streaks

  • RB Steven Jackson has rushed for 1,000 yards or more in seven consecutive seasons, which ranks as the league’s longest active streak of consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Six other running backs in NFL
    history have accomplished 1,000 yards in seven or more consecutive seasons. That list includes Barry Sanders, Curtis Martin, Emmitt Smith, Eric Dickerson, Thurman Thomas and LaDanian Tomlinson.

  • CB Courtland Finnegan has picked off a pass in each of his two games as a St. Louis Ram and now has 16 career INTs.

  • LB James Laurinaitis has posted double-digit tackle totals in two consecutive weeks.
  • Week 1 Nuts & Bolts: Bears vs. Colts

    September, 8, 2012
    9/08/12
    5:00
    PM ET

    CHICAGO BEARS vs. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

    When: Noon, Sunday | TV: CBS | RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM

    Andrew LuckJustin K. Aller/Getty ImagesAndrew Luck makes his NFL debut against a veteran Bears defense that welcomes back Brian Urlacher.

    CHICAGO BEARS (0-0)


    Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 71-57 | Last week: No game

    Career record vs. Chuck Pagano: 0-0 | Career record vs. Colts: 1-2

    Key stat: Chicago’s 11 projected starters have combined for 23 Pro Bowls and played in a combined 962 regular-season games with 773 regular-season starts. In addition, each of the projected starters started in at least nine games last season for the Bears.

    Offense rank in 2011: 24th (314.1 ypg) | Defense rank: 17th (350.4 ypg)

    [+] EnlargeJay Cutler
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJay Cutler is quickly climbing up the ranks of the Bears' leaders in career touchdown passes.

    Offensive leader: Quarterback Jay Cutler plays his first real game in 294 days when he steps on the field against the Colts. With Cutler at the helm, the Bears have posted a 19-8 record over the last 27 games. Cutler needs five touchdown passes to surpass Jim McMahon to move into third on the club’s all-time passing TDs list and six more to move to No. 2.

    Defensive leader: Despite the recent problems he’s experienced with an injured left knee, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher remains confident he’ll be able to contribute at a high level against the Colts. With a start against the Colts, Urlacher moves into a tie with Keith Van Horne for the fourth-most starts (169) in franchise history.

    Streaks

    " A win and a Green Bay Packers loss would give the Bears the most opening-day victories of all time. The Bears and Packers are currently tied with 52 opening-day wins.

    " The Bears have won 15 of their last 16 games in which they led after the first quarter.

    " The Bears have won 11 of the last 13 games in which they finished on the plus side of the turnover ratio and are 42-9 since 2004 in that scenario.


    INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (0-0)


    Coach: Chuck Pagano | Career record: 0-0 | Last week: No game

    Career record vs. Smith: 0-0 | Career record vs. Bears: 0-0

    Key stat: In the preseason, the Colts finished second in the AFC in passing yards (267.5 yard average) and total offense (343.8) while quarterback Andrew Luck completed 62.1 percent of his passes, and tied for second in the AFC in passing yards and touchdowns (3).

    Offense rank in 2011: 30th (286.8 ypg) | Defense rank: 25th (370.9 ypg)

    [+] EnlargeIndianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne
    Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIREReggie Wayne returned to Indy and gives rookie Andrew Luck a veteran target.
    Offensive leader: Receiver Reggie Wayne ranks second in Indianapolis franchise history in touchdowns (73), receptions (862) and yards (11,708) and leads all active receivers with 145 consecutive starts and 166 games played. Wayne has caught at least one pass in 96 consecutive games.

    Defensive leader: Linebacker Dwight Freeney is a seven-time Pro Bowler and is Indianapolis’ all-time leader in sacks with 102.5. In 2011, Freeney became just the 26th player to surpass 100 career sacks, and he’s the only Colt to amass seven double-digit sack seasons. In addition, Freeney has put together 25 games in which he’s posted multiple sacks.

    Streaks

    " Kicker Adam Vinatieri has scored at least one point in 130 consecutive regular-season games.

    " Wayne has led the Colts in receiving for five consecutive seasons.

    " Mathis has posted 41.5 sacks in his last 61 regular-season outings.

    " Freeney has posted 42.5 sacks in his last 61 regular-season games.

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