An ugly home loss to the Houston Texans was a tough pill for Bears fans to swallow Sunday night, but as bad as the Bears played they were in the game until the very end with the best team in the AFC.
So could the Bears and Texans meet again, possibly on a much larger stage, in the Super Bowl?
Yeah, I think it would be a heck of a rematch, especially on a better field, Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said. Our vision and our dream is to get to the Super Bowl and there aint no shame in saying that.
And why are the Bears worthy?
Because they got a heck of a defense, Smith said. When you have a defense that can give you more chances to score, youre going to be a successful team. Even though people may talk about Jay Cutler and things like that, when hes on he can be a great quarterback.
Mannings return to the Windy City
Texans safety Danieal Manning was a second round draft pick by the Bears in 2006 and spent five seasons in Chicago. But, before the 2011 season he and the team decided to part ways and now Manning is flourishing in his home state of Texas.
Sunday night, Manning had an interception and forced a fumble in the opening half against his former team.
Honestly its a just the nature of the beast with this game on the business side, Manning said. They made a great decision and I feel like the DBs they have is good for them, and I made a good decision by coming here.
Manning and Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher had a moment just after Mannings early interception.
He gave me the thumbs up and I gave him thumbs up back, Manning said. Hes always had my back and I have the same respect for him and all of those guys over there, even the coaching staff.
Houston defensive end J.J. Watt came into Sundays game the NFL leader with 10.5 sacks and he left town at the top of the list. Surprisingly, the most elite defensive player in the league was not allowed to get to the quarterback by a Bears offensive line that has had some problems in the past with pass rushers.
Obviously there werent many opportunities for sacks out there, Watt said. We had to shut down the run and I think we did a good job of that. Anytime you can win a game like this in a tough situation on the road its very impressive. Were proud of ourselves today.
The Bears defense has shined brightly by becoming a turnover machine in 2012. A week ago, Charles Tillman had four forced fumbles against the Tennessee Titans and the defense was considered by many the best in the NFL heading into Sunday nights matchup with the Texans.
You hear a lot about their defense, Houston cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. "Sometimes our defense is overshadowed, because of what they do so much with taking the ball away. Today we did a great job of taking the ball away and playing great defense.
Joseph confirmed that the Texans defensive unit was vocal coming into the game about not playing second fiddle to the Bears.
Most times theyre the ones getting the turnovers, Joseph said. We responded with our own turnover run as well and got four in the first half. In a game like this thats the difference.
Foster the people
Texans running back Arian Foster was handed the ball 29 times and accumulated 102 yards on the ground, while also catching five passes for 15 yards and atouchdown Sunday night against the Bears. There is no doubt his effectiveness is a big reason the Bears are 7-2 and the Texans are 8-1.
This is what you play for," Foster said. "You play for big games and you play to help the team out when they need you the most. I didnt play a perfect game, but I felt like I did okay tonight. It was a great win for us, it really was. We control our own destiny in this thing and thats a good feeling.