CHICAGO -- All week, the pregame build-up to the Texans' Sunday night game at Chicago centered on the Bears' defense and its turnover-forcing ways.
The Texans beat them at their own game.
The "Bulls on Parade" forced four turnovers, including a franchise-record three in the first quarter, on a sloppy night at Soldier FIeld. The Bears, who had an NFL-best 28 takeaways heading into the game, forced two. The Texans took the ball away on Chicago's first play of the game and three of its first 10 plays.
"We definitely had something to prove," Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said. "We've made no secret about it: Our goal is to be the number one defense in the NFL, and we was facing a defense who everybody said was better than ours. So we wanted to go out and make a statement.
"We knew coming into this game it was gonna be a defensive battle. It's like a competition. I'm telling you, every time that they made a play, it just made us get more amped up to go out there and make a play on our end of the ball."
The Texans came into the game ranked ahead of the Bears in total defense, passing defense and rushing defense, yet it was the Bears who received the bulk of the pregame hype. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips made sure to point that out to his players during a meeting late in the week.
"He said that we out-stat their defense in every category except turnovers, and everybody's still talking about their defense – so, let's go out here and show 'em who's the best defense," Smith said.
The Texans did just that, to the point that Phillips tweeted after the game that it was "Bear-ly legal what the #BullsOnParade did." They held the Bears to six points, the seventh time this season and 17th time in 25 games under Phillips in which they have held an opponent to 20 points or less. They have allowed just one touchdown in their last three games.
The Texans limited the Bears to eight first downs, tied for the second-fewest in team history. The Bears were 2-of-13 (15 percent) on third down, marking the fourth time this season the Texans have held an opponent under 20 percent. The Bears were 0-of-2 on fourth down and had a cumulative passer rating of 39.2.
"Some people may think it's a statement," said cornerback Kareem Jackson, who had his fourth interception of the season on Sunday night. "For us, we just go out and we just do the things we do every week. We go out, we play tough defense. Whatever you want to call it, statement… you know, we call it us just going out and executing the game plan and playing how we play."
How they play is as well as any defense in the NFL.