LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) _ Messages and cards came from all over, congratulating defensive end Michael Haynes on his rare touchdown.
When Haynes stuck up his hand and deflected a pass to himself before rumbling 45 yards for a Chicago Bears score last week, he did more than point his team to victory at Tennessee.
He did what every defensive player dreams of getting to the end zone and also defined the style of play Chicago is striving for under new coach Lovie Smith.
The whole thing about it is we're so greedy that once we get our hands on the ball everybody wants to score,'' Haynes said.Not just leave it on the ground. Everyone wants to pick it up and run around for a little bit and get it into the end zone.''
The Bears have four defensive touchdowns, tying them for the league lead with the Ravens.
And the capper to a third straight win last week was fitting for a team whose offense is so shaky it relies on its defense for points _ defensive ends Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown sacked Titans quarterback Billy Volek in the end zone for a winning safety in overtime.
In their previous victory at New York, the Bears had seven sacks and five turnovers. Their three-game winning streak started with a victory over the 49ers that was clinched when rookie Nathan Vasher returned an interception 71 yards for a TD.
The Bears have 24 sacks, six more than all of last season, and defensive end Brown had four in one game against the Giants. Chicago has eight takeaways over the past two games and 20 on the season, matching last season's total.
Chicago has overcome the loss of standout safety Mike Brown, who had a 95-yard fumble return for a TD against the Packers in the second week before tearing his Achilles' tendon.
The aggressive play of the secondary has been bolstered by the return of Jerry Azumah after missing a month following neck surgery. And the development of rookie top pick Tommie Harris at tackle has given the defensive line interior quickness.
``I tell you what, it's been very, very impressive. They remind me so much of our group in Tampa. They really run, they hustle, they hit,'' said Colts coach Tony Dungy, who hired Smith as a linebackers coach for the Buccaneers in 1996.
The Bears' defense faces its biggest challenge in a month Sunday when Dungy's Colts and the league's highest-scoring offense come to Soldier Field. Chicago will be without linebacker Brian Urlacher, a four-time Pro Bowl player who is out four to six weeks with a left calf injury.
The defense has responded to the offense's struggle behind rookie quarterback Craig Krenzel, the Bears' third starter this season after No. 1 Rex Grossman went down with a knee injury.
We practice stripping the football,'' said defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, a linebacker on the only Bears team to win a Super Bowl.We practice picking the football up and running.''