Of the many story lines from the Chicago Bears' week one victory over the Detroit Lions (Jay Cutler's monster passing game, the return of Matt Forte to the fantasy football world, the Calvin Johnson touchdown that never was, etc...), one of the most important things we saw was the excellent play of Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher.
Both Pro Bowl linebackers played exceptional football and were literally flying all over the Soldier Field turf.
The two combined for 18 tackles (10 for Briggs and eight for Urlacher, respectively), but additionally added some key plays that led to the eventual victory.
Urlacher's outstanding play (and his first significant NFL action in over a year due to missing the 2009 season with a broken wrist) included a sack and three tackles-for-loss.
He added a quarterback-hit, just for good measure.
Welcome back, Brian.
For Mr. Briggs, it was a typical day at the office.
His 10 tackles certainly helped, but his forced fumble, which he also recovered, could have (and, let's be honest) should have propelled the Bears to an easier victory.
The fact that their goal-line offense betrayed them is another matter.
I'd say, "Welcome back, Lance," but he never left us (and hopefully never will).
Bears fans everywhere are hoping that both he and Urlacher are back in full force this Sunday in Dallas.
The Cowboys will offer more dynamic athletes than the Lions could, so there will be much less room for error on Chicago's defense.
Briggs and Urlacher will deal with Felix Jones, Marion Barber, Jason Witten, Miles Austin, and a more-mobile Tony Romo and will have to play at a very high level yet again.
The Cowboys have struggled so far on offense (granted, it's only been one week), but their high-powered attack can ignite at any moment.
While it's unlikely that the 2010 Bears defense will ever mimic the 2006 version as one of the NFL's best units, the Pro Bowl-caliber play of Urlacher and Briggs can at least help the defense stay among the top ten in the league.
Add the Pro Bowl-level play of Julius Peppers (and if we're feeling greedy, we'll throw in Tommie Harris as well) to this defense and now you've got a serious amount of talent on the other side of the ball.
If four of your 11 men can play like Pro Bowlers, you'll find yourself in the playoff hunt.
Of course it's easy to get carried away after one week against the Detroit Lions, but it's fun to think about what this defense could look like if things break right (and don't break wrong, as in the wrists/arms/legs of Brian Urlacher).
Sunday is a big game for the Chicago Bears, as they'll have a chance to start of the 2010 season 2-0 before a key matchup with the rival Green Bay Packers.
However, a loss puts the team in an immediate hole before the Packers game, which would loom much larger.
But for now the focus is on the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday and all eyes will be on Nos. 54 and 55.
If they play well enough, it could give the Bears second victory.