Bears look more like their old selves

Then there was Hayden, intercepting a pass in a Bears game for the first time since he picked off Rex Grossman as a Colt in Super Bowl XLI.

"That was the focus," defensive end Israel Idonije said. "Take the ball away and score. It's hard to do it consistently, and it was good to get back to it."

The takeaways come easier when the pass rush is as bothersome to the opposing quarterback as it was Sunday. Julius Peppers had a season-high three sacks, and Idonije added another.

The pass rush reversed a trend. The Bears had not had more than three sacks in a game since Week 3, when they had six against the Rams.

"You are not going to have a game like this every week obviously," Peppers said. "Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. There are games this year that I've played better than I played today, but I didn't have the numbers."

On the other side of the ball, the Bears ran it more than they threw it. They were able to because they ran it well.

"Great lanes out there," said Matt Forte, who averaged 7.3 yards per carry before leaving with an ankle injury early in the third quarter. "The offensive line did a great job. When there are running lanes like that, you can make moves in the open field and get extra yards."

The Bears might look even more like their old selves next week if Urlacher can return from his hamstring pull. Smith hinted it was a possibility.

But just because the Bears went back to their blueprint does not mean they have vaunted themselves back into the fight for the Lombardi Trophy. They still have a lot to prove before anyone believes they can be a Super Bowl team.

It was the 5-10 Cardinals they beat. And it was one win in the standings, a win that will be abruptly forgotten if either they or their old friends the Packers fail to take care of business in six days.

But for these Bears, a step back in time was a step in the right direction.

dpompei@tribune.com

Twitter @danpompei

CHICAGO

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