If there was any doubt that the Bears planned to run and run often against the Panthers, it was erased when it was announced that J'Marcus Webb will start at right tackle for veteran Kevin Shaffer. The 6-foot-7, 328-pound rookie is a road grader who does his best work moving forward.
It was evident then, if not before, that this was not a day for a fancy passing attack.
"When you lose like we did last week you have to come back with a vengeance," Webb said after helping the Bears rush for 218 yards in his first NFL start. "You don't want to loaf around or anything like that."
This game was about redemption for a much-maligned offensive line that allowed a NFL record nine sacks in the first half of last Sunday night's loss to the Giants. The unit, which also started inexperienced Edwin Williams at right guard for Lance Louis, remains a work in progress but proved for the first time that it can open holes in the running game.
Matt Forte's touchdown runs of 18 and 68 yards gave the Bears an insurmountable early lead and were the product of solid blocking up front as well as key blocks thrown down the field by receivers Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett.
"We deserved what we got last week," center Olin Kreutz said. "We'll take a little pat on the back maybe this week but every game in the NFL is so different. That's the NFL these days. People jump to conclusions, especially in Chicago, but that's because football is important in Chicago. You just have to stay even keeled and come back and play well the next week."