CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11: Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears pics up a fumble that's out of the reach of teammate Julius Peppers #90 as Sam Baker #72 of the Atlanta Falcons holds back Peppers at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brian Urlacher; Julius Peppers; Sam Baker
The Bears were already up 23-6 in the third quarter. Matt Forte and Devin Hester combined for 80 yards in two players to put the Bears on the one-yard line. Matt Spaeth caught a short TD pass for a comfortable lead. Then, the defense got involved and made that comfortable lead downright plush.
Robbie Gould's kickoff was not returned, so the Falcons started on their own 20-yard line.
1st Down and 10: ATL 20 6:55 M. Ryan incomplete pass to the right: With strong defensive work from undrafted free agent Nick Reed, Ryan couldn't complete a pass to the right to Michael Turner.
2nd Down and 10: ATL20 6:49 M. Ryan passed to R. White to the right for 7 yard gain: White was in the last three Pro Bowls, but his performance on Sunday wouldn't win any awards. He had just 61 yards on eight catches, including this short pass. White was stopped by Tim Jennings.
3rd Down and 3: ATL 27 5:58 M. Ryan sacked by J. Peppers. M. Ryan fumbled. B. Urlacher recovered fumble and returned for 12 yards.
Savor this play, Bears fans. On it, two future Hall-of-Fame defenders combined to score. Peppers broke through to not just get his hands on Ryan, but strip him of the ball. Urlacher saw the ball, and instead of falling on it, picked it up and ran for the score.
With the help of a Gould extra point, the Bears were suddenly up by 24 points, but this drive did more than just give the Bears a huge lead. It made a statement that their defense is still one of the best in the country. They can not only stop opponents from scoring points, but they can score a few of their own.