The Titans knew heading into Sunday’s game the formula to beating the Bears was to be careful with the ball, and play physical.
Sunday, they did neither, and it showed.
The Bears defense forced five turnovers en route to a 51-20 drubbing of the Titans, with a blocked punt and a couple Chicago defensive scores thrown in.
The numbers for Chicago were staggering, Charles Tillman had nine tackles and forced four fumbles, Matt Forte rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown. Jay Cutler was 19-for-26 through the air for 229 yards and three touchdowns.
Add in the fact that Brandon Marshall hauled in nine passes for 122 yards and three touchdowns, and you have a good old fashioned butt whipping.
“The way they’re (the defense) stopping the ball, creating turnovers — picks and fumbles — is great. It starts with the front four. They put so much pressure on the quarterback,” Cutler said.
Chris Johnson rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, but lost two fumbles, and Nate Washington had two catches for 35 yards and a score for the Titans (3-6), who will travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins next week.
Matt Hasselbeck, who has started the last five games in place of an injured Jake Locker, completed 20-of-35 passes for 194 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the loss.
“That was embarrassing. No matter how you slice it or dice it. You can’t say anything was good or pretty for us in that game,” Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner said.
Tennessee’s first play from scrimmage was an early indication of how things would go on Sunday. Hasselbeck completed a 23-yard pass to Kenny Britt, but Tillman immediately forced a fumble.
The teams wound up trading punts for most of the first quarter and Tennessee’s second punt ended in disaster when Sherrick McManis blocked Brett Kern‘s attempt. Corey Wootton picked up the ball for Chicago and returned it five yards to go up 7-0.
“It was fun from the very first play of the game. The early punt block set the tone for us,” Bears defensive end Julius Peppers said.
Tennessee was forced to punt again soon after, but pinned the Bears inside their own 10-yard line. Following a false start penalty on 2nd-and-10, J’Marcus Webb was flagged in the end zone for illegal use of hands resulting in a Tennessee safety.
Chicago forced another three-and-out on the ensuing series, and Devin Hester returned the punt 44 yards to the Titans’ eight. Forte wasted no time and carved his way into the end zone on the next play.
Urlacher then picked off Hasselbeck on the second play of Tennessee’s next possession and returned it 46 yards to the end zone to give Chicago a 21-2 advantage.
Johnson fumbled on Tennessee’s next play and the Bears took over on the Titans’ 16. Three plays later, Cutler hooked up with Marshall on the left side for a 13-yard score.
Chicago settled for a 40-yard Robbie Gould field goal on its next possession after Cutler’s pass on 3rd-and-5 fell incomplete.
The teams traded fumbles and Rob Bironas split the uprights from 39 yards out just before the half to make it 31-5.
Tennessee found the end zone on its first touch of the second half when Hasselbeck lofted it up to Washington for a 30-yard touchdown, but the Bears answered with a pair of field goals, one from 25 yards and one from 22 yards, to go up 37-12.
Cutler’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Marshall down the right sideline put the Bears up 44-12 early in the fourth, before the duo hooked up again just over a minute later for a 5-yard score — the result of another Tillman forced fumble.
Johnson broke an 80-yard touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage to account for the final margin.
“Today wasn’t our day. They outplayed us in all facets of the game,” Titans defensive end Kamerion Wimbley said.