CHICAGO – Cam Newton, you’re next.
The Carolina quarterback will be the fourth in a line of No. 1 overall picks to face the Bears’ defense when the Panthers visit Soldier Field Sunday. If the other three home games are any indication, Newton may be in for a long afternoon.
The Bears applied constant pressure on Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford in their 13-7 victory Monday night at Soldier Field in an NFC North Division game.
As the Bears (5-1) have all season, most of the pressure came from their front four as they sacked Stafford three times and forced a critical interception at a juncture when the Lions (2-4) still had a shot. On fourth-and-3 from the Bears’ 3, Stafford was chased toward the right sideline by defensive tackle Henry Melton and defensive end Julius Peppers. Stafford’s pass was picked off by defensive back D.J. Moore with 2:39 remaining.
Melton and defensive ends Israel Idonije and Shea McClellin all had sacks. The defense set the tone in the first half, holding the Lions to 91 total yards and 0 of 6 third-down conversions in the first half.
Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (2012), St. Louis’ Sam Bradford (2010) and Stafford (2009) have not fared well at Soldier Field against the Bears’ front four. Newton (2011) will get his shot Sunday at noon.
Melton also contributed to the Bears being plus-4 in turnovers when he hit running back Joique Bell at the goal line and forced a fumble. Bell was reaching the ball to the goal line when Melton hit him and linebacker Brian Urlacher recovered.
Detroit finished with 340 total yards, but the Bears kept the Lions out of the end zone Stafford hit wide receiver Ryan Broyles for a 12-yard score with 30 seconds remaining.
“It’s not a good defensive effort unless we’re taking the ball away,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “Whenever you can end up plus-4, and you rush the ball, you have a chance.”