Alex Brown tried to maintain a serious look, but he couldn't suppress a smile after the Bears' 27-20, come-from-behind win over the previously undefeated Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.
"We didn't play worth a [bleep] in the first half," Brown said. "But we came out the second half and played football. That's what we expect."
So what can we expect from the Bears the rest of the season? Sunday night's hard-earned victory showed they weren't dead, which was a common perception following three losses in their first four games. Now 2-3, the Bears moved a step closer to the Packers (4-1) in the NFC North, and may have put themselves back in the postseason conversation.
Not that they should have been counted out after just five games, but a 1-4 record would have been the equivalent of fourth-and-10 from their own 10-yard line with time running out—tough to overcome.
If anything, Sunday showed that the weeklong sense-of-urgency talk wasn't just talk, although it took a while for the Bears to back up their words. Only after coach Lovie Smith called them out in the locker room at halftime did the Bears show signs of being the team that made the city buzz throughout last season, forcing five turnovers and rendering Brett Favre surprisingly ineffective in the second half after he'd lit them up in the first.
"It's the first game we finished," Brown said. "We finished the game. To get a win is great, but to beat Green Bay is even better.
"Whatever Lovie said, it worked."
Smith's rhetoric may have been instrumental, but so were a handful of big plays on both sides of the ball.
Cornerback Charles Tillman, whose availability was in question because of an ankle injury, forced two fumbles that kept the Packers from breaking the game open in the first half.
Brian Urlacher's third-quarter interception of an ill-advised Favre pass ignited the comeback.
And fellow linebacker Lance Briggs was a big-time performer with 16 tackles.
On offense, rookie tight end Greg Olsen had a long-awaited breakout game with four catches, including a 19-yard touchdown reception and a spectacular grab of a 27-yarder to keep a drive alive.
Brian Griese and Desmond Clark teamed up for a dramatic finish, utilizing a play-action pass to perfection.
Griese faked a hand-off to Cedric Benson, dropped back and found Clark over the middle for a game-winning, 34-yard touchdown. Clark got behind safety Nick Collins and linebacker Brady Poppinga, who bit on the play fake, a great call by offensive coordinator Ron Turner.
"It was a play that Ron thought about a couple of plays before from some of the looks we were getting," Clark said. "He called it at the right time. They had a defensive breakdown and we capitalized on the opportunity."
The Bears needed to make the most of their chances, considering how they struggled in the first half. The defense gave up 341 yards and let the league's worst rushing offense got 64 yards on the first drive of the game, capped by DeShawn Wynn's 2-yard touchdown run.
Benson answered with a 10-yard touchdown run of his own, but the Bears still trailed 17-7 at halftime.
Then the defense turned it on, shutting down Favre and his running game and giving the offense the opportunity to step forward.
"It's exciting to win, but this is the way we expect to play," Brown said. "Hopefully it's here to stay. If we play like we did in the second half, we'll keep ourselves in a lot of games."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times