Warning: Mauling Bears on the prowl...and they HATE quarterbacks.
So much of this offseason was built up about the offense. Rightfully so; we have a new, non-stubborn coordinator, there would be improved protections and audibles. Jay would have new weapons, familiar and new. The offensive depth was solidified.
The 2012 Bears were going to re-write the franchise offensive record book. The defense, was going to take a back seat to Cutler and Co. This was the Bears catching up to the modern NFL; big-play passing game and all. The defense was aging, slowing down and it's best players were losing a step and getting over the hill.
Well, through three NFL weeks that hasn't been the case at all. And that's not a bad thing.
The best part is, it's working, for the most part.
The Bears are sitting at 2-1 in large part thanks to the defense. The Colts game was complete domination on all sides of the ball, but clearly, through three games at least, the Colts defense looks as bad as it was last season. So the Bears blowout week one is what it should have been.
At the Packers, we all know what happened, but the defense played well enough for the Bears to win, the offense just couldn't put it together. Nevermind that the Packers offense hasn't looked good yet this year, I believe that has to do with the defenses they've faced more than that they're out of sync.
Yesterday though, game ball has to go to the defense, right? Take your pick which player, but coming into the game Sam Bradford had avoided turnovers and costly mistakes. Then he faced the Bears defense.
FOX flashed a stat at the beginning of the fourth quarter, I didn't catch it in detail because I was watching in a bar in Chicago with my new fiancee, but it was something about Bradford having the highest 4th quarter QB rating in the league, tied with Tony Romo. I thought, man as good as he's been at throwing it away all game, it's going to be tough for the Bears to rattle him.
Two INTs later and the game was over.
I can't find stats for opposing quarterbacks ratings against the Bears, but they have to be near the top of the league right now. Andrew Luck looked like a rookie, Aaron Rodgers was held in check and Sam Bradford looked like he was going to get killed.
The fuel feeding the Bears' defensive fire is the line. What a line we have.
The Bears lead the league in sacks according to NFL.com with 14 and are tied for second in the league lead with six interceptions.
As I am sure most are aware, the Bears' defensive scheme is based around getting pressure from the front four and forcing the QB to make mistakes and that is just what the Bears have done. They have even sent pressure with some blitzes but however it's been done, it's worked.
None of the teams the Bears have played are considered to have great offensive lines, but so what? The best part is that it hasn't been just one player; Henry Melton leads the team with 3 sacks, but Izzy and Julius Peppers each have 2.5, Shea McClellin and Corey Wootton have 1.5 each and then there is one each for Stephen Paea, Amobi Okoye and Nick Roach. Seemingly any player could break through and get to the QB at any time.
D.J. Moore pressured Bradford into a bad throw too, McClellin has been getting there consistently. The defensive line had a lot of questions coming into the season, but so far so good, they are making QBs pay, as well as offensive linemen. They are dominating in the run game too; Melton has 9 tackles, Izzy and Peppers 7. It all starts up front and for the Bears D that's where these games are being won, in large part.
The offense has been slow to come around, that offensive line is still trying to gel. The run game needs to get going a little better, the play calls were split 50/50 yesterday but it didn't really feel like it, did it? It seemed like there were stretches of pass, pass, pass, oh we need to run a little. It didn't set up the play action like it should have.
While hopefully the offense comes together and gets its kinks worked out soon, the defense is going to continue to be the glue which holds this team together. And that's a good thing. Especially the defensive line and they have another shakey unit to go against next week in the Cowboys (7 sacks allowed). Should be fun to watch, as long as you like traditional bears football.