Tim Jennings, CB
The little guy was at it again with two interceptions in the first half to bring his NFL-leading total to eight. Jennings (5-8, 185) had a total of seven interceptions in his first six NFL seasons.
Charles Tillman, CB
Tillman again battled one of the NFL’s best in Texans WR Andre Johnson and played him well, limiting Johnson to four receptions for 35 yards. He also had six tackles.
Brandon Marshall, WR
Marshall had more receptions heading into the game (59) than any Bears receiver from last season and added eight more to that total with 107 yards receiving.
3 things that worked:
1. Bears’ pass defense: It’s no secret that Houston prefers to get the ball to RB Arian Foster as often as possible, but the Bears made it tough on the Texas’ passing game with their pressure and coverage.
2. Cutler’s scrambling: QB Jay Cutler made some nice plays with his legs in the first half with three rushes for 39 yards.
3. Conserving timeouts: The Bears still had all three second-half timeouts to use in the final 2:47 and saved one for the offense when it took over at 2:35.
3 things that didn't work:
1. Cutler’s throwing: Cutler suffered a concussion late in the first half and did not return. He threw a pair of interceptions and completed 7 of 14 passes for a 16.7 QB rating.
2. Ball protection: The Bears hurt themselves on offense when TE Kellen Davis and RB Michael Bush lost fumbles in the first quarter.
3. Return game: The Bears sprung WR Devin Hester for a big return at Tennessee last week, but were unable to get the NFL’s career leader any big ones.
3 moments that mattered:
1. Offsetting penalties: Cutler scrambled and dumped off a short pass to Hester for a 42-yard gain to the Houston 8 in the second quarter. Cutler was called for an illegal forward pass (ruled to have been across the line of scrimmage) and Texans LB Tim Dobbins was also flagged for unnecessary roughness, so the down was replayed, but Cutler threw an interception two plays later.
2. Not capitalizing: Marshall caught a 45-yard pass from backup QB Jason Campbell between a pair of Texans in the third quarter to Houston’s 10. The Bears were unable to score a touchdown and were forced to settle for Gould’s 24-yard field goal.
3. No pass interference: Cutler threw deep to Hester near the 8:00 mark of the second quarter and Texans CB Kareem Jackson knocked the ball out. Hester pleaded with the officials for pass interference, and the replay showed Jackson grabbed Hester’s left arm, but no penalty was called. The Bears could have been near field-goal range on that play.
The Bears head to San Francisco (6-2-1) for a 7:30 p.m. game next Monday.
It means: The Bears still hold a one-game lead over Green Bay (6-3) in the NFL North Division.