(MCT) — GLENDALE, Ariz. — Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher was spotted running around the University of Phoenix Stadium hours before Sunday’s game, testing the injured hamstring that has sidelined him since Dec. 9.
Coach Lovie Smith acknowledged that Urlacher might be ready for the regular-season finale in Detroit.
“Chance. I would just say he is making a lot of improvement,” Smith said. “We didn’t want to let anyone see him running out there, but I know he is feeling pretty good about where he is. If he’s ready to go, good. If not, Nick Roach is doing a great job.”
Aw, shucks: Julius Peppers collected three sacks, a forced fumble, five tackles and a pass defended. But the veteran end did not want to dwell on what was probably his best game of the year.
“That’s not anything I am interested in talking about, really,” Peppers said. “The most important thing was getting the win and keeping ourselves alive in the playoffs.”
Gift-wrapped: Zack Bowman was in the right place at the right time to pounce on a Beanie Wells fumble at the Arizona 1-yard line and dive into the end zone for the Bears’ first touchdown.
“The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Oh, (bleep)!’ Then I said, ‘Let me jump on this,’ “ Bowman said. “I jumped on it and kind of crawled into the end zone, and it was a touchdown. Early Christmas present. I appreciate it.”
More the better: Brandon Marshall surpassed Marcus Robinson’s 1999 Bears record for receiving yards in a season with 1,466.
“I was disappointed in my play today,” Marshall said. “When you get an opportunity to get one-on-one, you have to dominate. I was looking forward to the matchup (with Patrick Peterson), and dropping that ball on the slant and having the opportunity along the sideline ... I’ve got to make those plays.”
Playing takeaway: The Bears defense resembled what the unit did on a regular basis in the first two months. Charles Tillman returned an interception 10 yards for a touchdown to break a tie with Donnell Woolford for the most career interceptions (33) by a Bears cornerback.
“It was a good team effort; it was a good play,” Tillman said.
Tim Jennings, who leads the NFL with eight interceptions, returned Sunday after being out with a shoulder injury.
Line of protection: The Bears offensive line paved the way for 152 rushing yards from Matt Forte (88), Kahlil Bell (32), Armando Allen (24) and Jay Cutler (8).
“It felt good out there,” right tackle Gabe Carimi said. “Usually when it feels good out there, the line usually plays well together.”
Pain tolerance: Forte left in the third quarter with an ankle injury.
“It’s not the worst that I’ve ever felt, but it’s the third time (this season),” Forte said. “It’s just getting a little aggravating.”