In my last post, "Top 10 Single-Season Performances in Chicago Bears History" LPLancer23 said he’d enjoy a blog about the top single game performances by the Bears this decade. I accept the challenge!!!
For the purposes of this post, I’ll only consider games from this decade 2000 – 2008. So that Jim Miller 400+ yard passing day isn’t included. Hopefully the ’09 season will see a few players (Cutler / Forte) added to this list!
Top 10 Chicago Bear Individual Game Performances This Decade
10 - Mike Brown – (tie) 2001 Week 7 & 8 – "Back to Back OT Winners"
The Legend of Mike Brown grew a little in the 2001 week 7 OT thriller against the 49ers as Brown picked off a pass and ran in for the winning score. But every Chicago fan thinks of both week 7 and week 8 when thinking of that ’01 season. In week 8 Brown snatched a tipped pass out of the air against Cleveland and completed the improbable Back To Back.
9 – Charles Tillman – 2003 Week 15 – "Give. Me. The. Ball."
In ’03 Randy Moss was having his best season in the NFL when he ran up against rookie Charles Tillman in the back of the end zone with just 1:11 remaining in the game. After scoring a TD earlier in the 4th to close the gap to 13-10, the Vikings found themselves in the midst of a 79 yard potential game winning drive taking them to the 10 yard line. With the Bears defense struggling to hold on, Daunte Culpepper dropped back and lofted a jump ball up for the 6’4" Moss, "Peanut" went up and out muscled the Pro Bowl receiver for the ball and the win. Tillman was a physical presence all game finishing with 9 tackles.
8 - Anthony Thomas – 2001 Week 6 – "A-Train Indeed"
Back up rookie running back Anthony Thomas had a handful of carries the first few weeks of the ’01 season (25 carries 124 yards 1 TD), showing a nice burst and some tough running, but in week 6 he announced his candidacy for the Rookie Of The Year (which he won), by putting up 188 yards on 22 carries and a TD in a 24-0 win against the Bengals.
7 – Nathan Vasher – 2005 Week 11 – "Statement Game"
When the 7-2 Panthers traveled to the 6-3 Bears many experts predicted the Bears would be put in their place. Carolina was averaging nearly 28 points per game when they ran into an inspired Bears defense. In a game that saw many defensive standouts, (Alex Brown 2 sacks 2 forced fumbles, Adawale Ogunleye 3 sacks), it was Vasher that set the tone by intercepting the 2nd pass of the game from Jake Delhomme. Vasher finished up with 4 tackles, 2 picks, and a forced fumble.
6 - Marty Booker – 2001 Week 10 - "Booker Was The Offense"
The Bears had 274 total net yards against Tampa Bay with Booker getting 166 of them on 7 receptions for 3 touchdowns. His TD's just kept getting better, 1st was a 28 yarder down the middle of the field, then a 44 yard catch and run down the left sideline, and finally a 1 play scoring drive of 66 yards splitting the safety's for a TD. Booker added a key 3rd down conversion keeping the drive alive that set up what ended up being the winning margin as the Bears held on to win 27-24.
5 - Rex Grossman – 2006 Week 2 – "Franchise QB?" (part 2)
Many Bears fans thought the never ending search for a Franchise QB was over after Rex Grossman torched the Lions for 289 yards and 4 TD’s on 20 of 27 passing. Lion receiver Roy Williams guaranteed victory, but Detroit only managed 1 score as the Bears cruised to a 34-7 victory.
4 – Cade McNown – 2000 Week 1 – "Franchise QB?"
In the season opener Bears fans thought we finally found our savior at QB in the cocky Cade McNown. After an up and down rookie year in ’99, Cade went into the ’00 season entrenched as the starter. Even though the Bears couldn’t pull out the win, losing 27-30 in Minnesota, McNown looked the part of a Franchise QB, ending the day passing 27 of 41 for 290 yards and 2 TD, and rushing for 89 yards on 10 carries with a TD.
3 - Alex Brown – 2004 Week 9 – "4 Sacks"
The Giants jumped out to a 14-0 lead then Alex Brown and the Bears defense said enough’s enough. Brown had a pass defended, 6 tackles, and 2 assists, including 2 sacks in the second quarter, a sack and strip in the third, and a sack in the fourth quarter on 3rd and 14 with less than 2 minutes remaining on a drive the Giants started after recovering an on-side kick. The Bears held onto win an exciting game, 28-21.
2 - Devin Hester – 2007 Week 12 - "They’re Gonna Kick To Him?"
In 2006 Devin Hester ran 2 punts back against he Rams, so taking 2 to the house wasn’t anything new, but in 2007 teams started flat out refusing to even kick to him. For some reason the Denver Broncos and their meathead punter/kickoff specialist Todd Sauerbrun kept giving Hester opportunities. He brought back five punts for 81 yards and five kickoffs for 151. Early in the 3rd quarter he took a punt back 75 yards for a score, then later in the 3rd he took a kickoff at his 12 yard line and ran it all the way back. His 1st TD broke the Bears all time record for return TD’s in a career, previously held by Gale Sayers.
1 - Brian Urlacher – 2006 Week 6 – "Domination"
In a game famously known for the "They are who they thought they were!" and for Devin Hester scoring on a punt return to give the Bears the 24-23 lead with under 3 minutes remaining, the defensive effort often gets overlooked. Watching the game you had a sense that Brian Urlacher refused to let the Bears lose. He ended up with 19 total tackles, 2 passes defended, and with about 5 minutes remaining in the game he ripped the ball from the clutches of Edgerrin James that Charles Tillman returned for a TD.