The Bears won over the Carolina Panthers Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago, and along the team broke a record and discovered a running game. Unfortunately they lost defensive swagger. Who stood out in the 34-29 win?
Grizzly Bears -- the players who turned the Panthers into little kittens:
Devin Hester -- When Hester is focused and has his mind in the game, he is the greatest return man of all time. He came one Olinda Mare tackle (and a missed block from Chris Conte) from having two return touchdowns, but that doesn't matter. He broke the record for punt return TDs, and showed that he needs just one hole, one block to get to the end zone. He took advantage of the poorly punted ball to give the Bears an edge. The scariest part for other teams? Hester is just 29, and believes that he is still improving.
Matt Forte -- Any running back dreams of being mentioned along side such greats as Walter Payton and Gale Sayers, and Forte earned that by becoming the only other Bear to have a 200-plus rushing yards game. In just his fourth season, he is creeping into the Bears record books. Don't you think it's time the Bears pay the man?
D.J. Moore -- It may seem like luck, but Moore's second pick-six in as many seasons with the Bears was a product of being in correct position and staying aware. If Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs get near a ball, Moore knows that he has a good chance of getting his hands on it.
Offensive line -- No, seriously. Stop laughing. The Bears O-line allowed just one sack, and created holes for Forte's best career rushing day. The Bears created 317 yards of total offense. That doesn't happen with a crappy O-line.
Teddy Bears -- the players who were clawed by the Panthers:
The defense -- Oh, defense. I wanted to single out a few players, but there were so many problems that it was too hard. Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije leaving Cam Newton untouched. Brandon Merriweather and Tim Jennings leaving Steve Smith -- someone who is known to murder the Bears -- uncovered for a 53-yard catch. Charles Tillman for celebrating as if he had blocked a field goal when it was actually Peppers who got his hand on the ball.
They did do some things right, like Moore's pick-six, but the defense let the Panthers accrue 543 yards, the most yardage allowed by a Bears team since Jane Byrne was in office. The defense is just off, and they need to figure out what's wrong and fix it quickly.