The Chicago Bears kept their playoff chances alive Sunday by dismantling the Arizona Cardinals 28-13, in a game that wasn't as close as the score suggests.
The Bears improve to 9-6 on the season, but still remain behind the Minnesota Vikings in their search for a playoff birth.
The defense returned to form, scoring two touchdowns and now allowing a touchdown drive by the Cards. Early in the first quarter, Zach Bowman recovered a Beanie Wells fumble right around his own goal line and returned it one yard for the score.
Later in the game, Charles Tillman continued making his case for NFL Defensive Player of the Year by returning his third interception for a touchdown on a pass intended for Larry Fitzgerald.
It marked the 10th touchdown scored by either the defensive or special teams unit for the Bears this season.
"Defensively we asked them to take over and play the way they have been capable of doing," Chicago coach Lovie Smith said. "Of course, how we played early, taking the ball away specifically, is what I am talking about. It was an added bonus getting a couple of scores. "
The defense also recorded four sacks, three of which came from Julius Peppers.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall recorded six receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown and set the Bears' single season receiving yards record in the process. He now has 1,466 yards on the year, surpassing Marcus Robinson's record of 1,400 which was set in 1999.
Matt Forte gained 88 yards on 12 carries, including a four-yard touchdown run before aggravating an ankle injury and now playing in the second half. Jay Cutler struggled in this one, but finished the day 12-26 passing for 146 yards and a score.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, continued their season struggles and boast the worst offense in the league. Both quarterbacks (Ryan Lindly in the first half and Brian Hoyer in the second) both struggled, combining for 246 yards and two turnovers didn't get anything going for the Cardinals.
Chicago needs to win next week against Detroit, and have the Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings to make the playoffs.
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