A Chicago Bears Halloween Tale: 10 Scary Good Bears Performances This Century
The Chicago Bears have had a great 10-year run, making the playoffs four times, along with a Super Bowl appearance in 2006. In the 21st century, there have been some great individual performances on the Chicago Bears, some so great, they were downright frightening.
Hopefully, you won't have to sleep with the lights on after reading this grizzly tale of Bears dominance.
Here are 10 scary good Bears performances from this century.
Devin Hester (Oct. 14, 2007)
Back when Devin Hester was primarily just a special teams nightmare for opposing teams, just the mere appearance of him on the field spread fear along the opposing sidelines.
In a Week 6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in 2007, Hester had a rare turn on the offensive side of the ball for the Bears.
Quarterback Brian Griese hit Hester for an 81-yard touchdown strike, tying the game. Hester used his ghostly speed to blow past Vikings safety Dwight Smith while catching Griese's pass in stride.
During the wild game at Soldier Field, Hester also had a spectacular 89-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Unfortunately for the Bears, Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson had an even more frightening performance, racking up 224 yards while scoring three touchdowns.
Rex Grossman (Sept. 17, 2006)
It was only five years ago that Rex Grossman was still counted on to be the Bears' answer at quarterback for years to come. With his first couple of seasons riddled with injuries, Grossman showed enough flashes of greatness during his limited appearances to give Bears fans hope that he was the one.
In 2006, during a Week 2 contest against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field, Grossman enjoyed what was possibly his last week of unwavering support from Bears fans. After Chicago's 34-7 win over Detroit, the rest of Grossman's time in Chicago was a constant battle between Grossman, the media, the boos and whomever was the No. 2 quarterback.
This game should have been buried in Grossman's time capsule so that he could show his grandchildren his considerable talents at the time. He threw for four touchdowns and 289 yards, and had one rushing attempt good for 41 yards. Things were looking up for Grossman. No good Rex, bad Rex. No "Rex is our quarterback." It was just a guy lighting up the scoreboard for a soon-to-be NFC championship team.
Charles Tillman (Dec. 14, 2003)
One of the best wide receivers in NFL history, Randy Moss, was about to score the winning touchdown for the Minnesota Vikings. What Moss didn't realize was that he was about to get dominated by a rookie cornerback.
In 2003, Charles Tillman made a game saving interception for the Bears at the end of their game with the Minnesota Vikings, securing his place in Bears history. Not only did Tillman deprive Moss of his second touchdown of the game, but he also held the lead for the Bears, as they went on to a 13-10 Week 15 victory.
Tillman would go on to be an important part of the Bears formidable mid-2000's defense.
Randy Moss is most likely still haunted by Tillman's heroic leap.
Marty Booker (Nov. 18, 2001)
On their way to a 13-3 record and a first week playoff bye, the Chicago Bears won ugly in 2001. A solid running game, led by rookie Anthony Thomas, along with a stout defense, secured the Bears a divisional playoff game at Soldier Field against Philadelphia.
In a Week 10 battle in Tampa Bay, the Bears beat the Bucs not on the ground, but through the air. Jim Miller hit Marty Booker for three touchdown strikes. Booker slashed through the Tampa Bay secondary repeatedly, undoubtedly causing shrieks from Bears fans watching at home.
Miller and Booker connected on scores from 28, 44 and 66 yards. The Buccaneers gave the Bears a scare in the end with 15 fourth quarter points, but Chicago held on for the victory.
Anthony Thomas (Oct. 21, 2001)
In 2001, Anthony Thomas ran like a man possessed. The rookie known as the A-Train rushed for nearly 1,200 yards with seven touchdowns.
A Week 6 24-0 win over the Cincinnati Bengals improved the Bears to a 4-1 record in 2001. Thomas rushed for 188 yards on 22 carries, including a 46-yard touchdown.
Thomas went on to win the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award, averaging 85 rushing yards per game in 2001.
Matt Forte (Oct. 2, 2011)
In Week 4 against the Carolina Panthers, the Chicago Bears appeared to enter the twilight zone. During the Bears victory, they yielded a shocking 543 yards to the struggling Panthers, who were led by a rookie quarterback, Cam Newton.
The game was also somewhat of a psychological thriller after Chicago and their embattled offensive coordinator Mike Martz decided to implement a running game for the first time in 2011.
Matt Forte benefited from the improved game plan and had a career day, scampering for 205 yards, along with a touchdown. Forte added to his impressive totals in 2011 while still waiting for a new contract from the Bears.
Jay Cutler (Sept. 19, 2010)
One year after the Bears made waves by trading for Jay Cutler, Chicago was still waiting for the rocket arm of their new quarterback to win games, not give them away.
Week 2 saw the Bears tasked with a tough road matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Playing underneath the biggest television set in Texas, Jay Cutler cut through the Cowboys secondary like a chainsaw, leading the Bears to a 27-20 victory.
Cutler threw for 277 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Cutler has obvious talent, but has still not lived up to that performance, with only brief flashes of brilliance as quarterback of the Bears.
Julius Peppers (Sept. 12, 2010)
The Chicago Bears' big free agent signing of 2010, defensive end Julius Peppers, had an immediate impact in Week 1 for the Bears.
Peppers sacked Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, causing a turnover, as well as forcing Stafford out of the game with a shoulder injury.
Peppers pressured anyone who dared to stand behind center for Detroit that day, while the Lions could only muster 168 yards on offense.
Julius Peppers would lead the Bears defense to the NFC Championship game in 2010, providing a pass rush, something that was sorely lacking for the Bears in recent years.
Devin Hester (Feb. 4, 2007)
The Chicago Bears' winning formula in 2006 was defense and special teams. The Bears made a great run, but much to the horror of Bears fans, they lost Super Bowl XLI to the Indianapolis Colts.
Devin Hester made history that night in Miami, however, and returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. It is arguably the greatest moment in Chicago sports history.
Indianapolis wisely never kicked in Hester's direction again, and the Colts outlasted the Bears 29-17, ending Chicago's hopes of another Super Bowl win.
Brian Urlacher (Oct. 16, 2006)
On a Monday night matchup with the Arizona Cardinals in 2006, the Bears saw their Super Bowl dreams take a big hit with their miserable first half performance. Spotting Arizona's rookie quarterback Matt Leinart and the Cardinals to a 20-0 lead at the break, Chicago called on a familiar number to help them come from behind and take the win in front of a national audience.
Bears quarterback Rex Grossman was responsible for six Chicago turnovers, but the Bears defense and special teams, led by linebacker Brian Urlacher, kept the Bears in the game and did all of the scoring in their 24-23 victory.
Urlacher was dominant, creating turnovers and making big plays. He would finish the game with an amazing 19 tackles with a forced fumble.
Urlacher's performance personified the 2006 NFC champion Bears, displaying speed, tackling skill and a nose for the ball.