NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Quick starts have eluded the Bears' offense.
For the second straight week, the Bears' offense was jumpstarted by a defense that is a turnover machine.
The Bears' defense forced five turnovers and air brushed the blemishes off an offense that started the game with consecutive three-and-outs. Consistently provided with a short field, the Bears' offense was able to chalk up easy scores against a vulnerable Tennessee Titans' defense in a 51-20 win.
"Week after week, they keep getting the turnovers and making it a short field for us," Bears running back Matt Forte said. "The first turnover they got, we didn’t capitalize on that. But once we get a short field like that and get points on the board, going 40, 50 yards instead of 80 or 90 yards, that makes it a lot easier on the offense."
While an offensive onslaught ensued in the second half against a battered and beaten Titans' defense, concerns about slow starts linger. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said the Titans' defense made for tough adjustments.
"Coverage wise, we are getting crazy stuff," Cutler said. "It's more you don't know what you'll get coming into a game. We go out and see what they'll play us in. It was a mixed bag and we adjusted a little faster. I've got to do a better job as well of adjusting and getting the ball to the right people.
"We were leading at halftime, and offensively we didn't feel as good as we should have. We wanted to get some offensive drives of 60, 70, 80 yards together and get some rhythm to feel good about the win."
It's no surprise the biggest ovation from the large contingent of Bears' fans – LP Field turned into Solider Field Nashville in the second half – came when the defense took the field.
They know the Bears have followed a similar formula to 1985 and 2005; ride the wave of a staunch defense. The defense hasn't had problems getting into the end zone. It has scored eight touchdowns
But, with so many talented offensive players at skill positions, why did it take the Bears' passing game until the third quarter to get in sync?
Cutler finished with 229 passing yards, three touchdowns and a 138.1 rating, and Marshall exploded to finish with 122 yards and three touchdowns. Against a potent Houston offense that averages 30.9 points a game next week, it seems the Bears will have to get off to a better start and get more players involved.
"We really want to get the other guys going," Marshall said. "We started off really slow again. Having three touchdowns is good, but I really want to get Earl Bennett and Devin Hester going because those guys work hard and are open."
Unless they want to continue to rely on the defense providing red-zone scoring opportunities.