Buffaloed: Bears’ defense scores twice in 41-9 win against brutal Bills
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Bears are running out of ways to celebrate takeaways.
“It’s a little joke, but it’s serious,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said after the Bears’ 41-9 shellacking of the miserable Bills. “We’ve been trying to think of new stuff to do.”
They had four more opportunities to dance and pose Sunday. Twice they met in the end zone to celebrate touchdowns — safety Eddie Jackson’s 65-yard fumble return and Leonard Floyd’s 19-yard interception return happened within a four-minute span in a 28-0 second quarter that also featured two rushing touchdowns by Jordan Howard.
On the last play of the third quarter, they waited until after the whistle — when cornerback Kyle Fuller was tackled at the Bills’ 28 after his interception — to run into the end zone. In front of photographers, they struck an old-school youth football pose, with Fuller on one knee with his helmet on the ground in front of him.
Jackson called the celebration shortage a “great problem to have.” Safety Adrian Amos, who had his own second-quarter interception, agreed.
“That’s a great thing,” Amos said, “to continue to plug away and keep that problem a problem.”
It was a major one for the woeful Bills. Quarterback Nathan Peterman entered the game synonymous with interceptions, but his receivers betrayed him. Midway through the second quarter, Peterman completed a pass to tight end Jason Croom in the right flat. Jackson and inside linebacker Roquan Smith tackled Croom, with Jackson raking at the ball and Smith providing a running wallop.
The ball squirted out, and Jackson picked it up, running untouched 65 yards for the touchdown with Amukamara as an escort. The second-year safety became only the second player since the 1970 merger to have three defensive touchdowns of 65-plus yards in two seasons. The other: Hall of Famer Deion Sanders.
“This isn’t something they just come out here and do and they’re lucky,” coach Matt Nagy said. “They preach it. They teach it. And these guys, when it happens, they get to see what happens when you do that.”
Floyd’s interception came when Peterman’s pass bounced off wide receiver Zay Jones’ hands. It appeared Fuller interfered with him, but officials ruled the contact was legal because it was within a yard of the line of scrimmage.
“I saw the end zone, and I felt the ball in my hands,” said Floyd, who celebrated by throwing the ball into the New Era Field stands.
Amos’ interception came after Terrelle Pryor bobbled the ball right into his arms. Peterman, who went 31-for-49 for 189 yards, threw three interceptions and was sacked four times, has thrown 12 picks in 162 passes.
“I don’t feel snakebitten,” Peterman said. “I’ve never felt like I’m a victim of anything like that. It’s football. It’s life.”
It was the Bears’ third consecutive three-interception game. In three years under John Fox, they had zero. They scored 17 points off the turnovers, increasing their NFL lead to 82. A week ago, they had none against the Jets.
“They were awesome,” said quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who went 12-for-20 for 135 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. “It makes it real easy on the offense when the defense is scoring for you.”
Up 28-0 at halftime, the Bears added two field goals by Cody Parkey in the second half — a 23-yarder and a 45-yarder. With about 4:30 left, Trey Burton scored on a two-yard reception.
Nagy said he wanted the Bears to keep their foot on the gas, given their struggles holding leads.
At 5-3 and in first place in the NFC North, the Bears’ job is about to get much tougher.
The upcoming home game against the Lions will be the first of three NFC North games in 12 days.
The gauntlet will be made easier if the defense plays the way it did against Buffalo.
“Anytime you get a defensive touchdown,” Amukamara said, “it changes the momentum for the team. For the game. For everybody.”