Payne's return at SS a success

December, 6, 2009
12/06/09
5:38
PM ET
[+] EnlargeKevin Payne
AP Photo/M. Spencer GreenKevin Payne had eight tackles Sunday in his first game back as the starting strong safety.

CHICAGO -- Kevin Payne's return to the starting lineup at strong safety was a success, as the third-year defensive back displayed a knack for making plays in the box and in the passing game. Not only did Payne record eight tackles (second to Jamar Williams), he also broke up two passes and nearly had an interception late in the game.

"I'm not satisfied because there is always room for improvement," Payne said. "I just want to continue to get better, and do whatever I can to help this team win. That's always my goal. As a whole, the defense stepped up and play hard. We had a lot of success out there today."

"We felt that Kevin Payne being in the strong position and Al Afalava in the back would be the best combination for us to be successful today," Lovie Smith said.

He was right.

Steven Jackson (112 yards rushing) was the only offensive threat for St. Louis, which got just 113 yards passing on 32 attempts from quarterback Kyle Boller. That's just terrible. For comparison sake; Jay Cutler threw for 143 yards on only 17 attempts.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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