The Chicago Bears dominating defense is still the face of the team, but they now have a potent offense that is grabbing opponents’ attention.
The only undefeated team in the NFC, the Bears look to open a season with five straight wins for the first time in 20 years when they host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Chicago (4-0) won the NFC North last season behind the best defense in the NFL, while its offense struggled to generate many scores.
The Bears defense again is the best in the league this season, but with a healthy Rex Grossman at quarterback, Chicago is outscoring opponents 116-29.
“We’re 4-0 in the first quarter which is big, but no more than that,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “Last year at this time we were 1-3 and we ended up winning the division with it. So the first quarter, the difference it really makes is hard to say. We really like the position we’re in right now but we have a long ways to go.”
Chicago handed the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks their first loss last Sunday, 37-6 at Soldier Field. The Bears are one of only three remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL.
“Surprised? I’m not surprised,” linebacker Lance Briggs said. “We’re confident in what we can do as a team.
“We’re out to send a message every week. Every week, we gain another believer.”
The Bears are off to their best start since 1991, but have not opened a season with five straight victories since winning their first six games in 1986. They finished that season 14-2 before losing to Washington in a divisional playoff game.
Grossman was 17-of-31 for 232 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions last Sunday, starting a fourth straight game for the first time in his four-year career. This season, he’s thrown for 1,061 yards, has eight touchdowns to three interceptions, and has been sacked just three times.
With their 34-7 win over Detroit in Week 2 at Soldier Field, the Bears have scored at least 30 points in their first two home games for the first time since 1965.
While the offense is thriving, Chicago’s defense is just as dominant as it was last season, allowing an NFL-low 7.2 points a game.
“It’s hard to score points on our defense, especially at Soldier Field,” Smith said.
The Bears have won their last eight regular-season homes games, allowing just two touchdowns. This is their longest win streak at Soldier Field since a nine-game run from Oct. 2, 1998-Oct. 2, 1989.
Eleven of Chicago’s 15 sacks—third-most in the NFL—this season have come at Soldier Field. Briggs is the only non-defensive lineman to record one.
Chicago now looks to pressure quarterback J.P. Losman, who already has been sacked 11 times for the Bills (2-2).
After having three turnovers in Buffalo’s 28-20 loss to the New York Jets on Sept. 24, Losman did not commit one for the third time in four games last Sunday in a 17-12 win over Minnesota.
Losman completed 23 of 32 passes for 222 yards against the Vikings, and threw one touchdown pass for the third straight week.
“We’ve been doing that all year, concentrating on no turnovers and managing the game,” Losman said. “We’re being a little extra conservative.”
Since the start of last season, Losman has five touchdown passes with no turnovers in his four wins, compared to six TDs, nine interceptions and eight fumbles in nine defeats.
“He’s getting better and I think you guys see it and we also see it,” receiver Peerless Price said. “There’s a lot of negative stuff being said about him, but he is just pushing his way and goes out there and gets better each week.”
Price scored on an 8-yard touchdown catch against Minnesota—his first score since Week 17 of 2004—and Willis McGahee ran for only his second touchdown in 14 games.
“We have some really good weapons, so we have to utilize everybody,” said Josh Reed, who has 15 receptions for 167 yards and a touchdown this season.
After serving as defensive coordinator for Detroit the last two years, Buffalo’s Dick Jauron returns to Chicago for the first time as a head coach. Jauron coached the Bears from 1999-2003, leading them to the 2001 NFC North title while being named NFL Coach of the Year.
Chicago is 5-4 all-time against the Bills, but Buffalo defeated the Jauron-coached Bears in the last two meetings in 2000 and 2002.