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The Bears don't always get pressure on the QB without help from the LB's or DB's, but versus the Rams, the front-4 got it done all by themselves. What resulted was Lovie Smith's secondary looking like Pro Bowlers.
Over the last few seasons, I've said it dozens of times, and 2012 is no different: The success of Lovie Smith's defense is completely predicated on the success of the front-4 getting a strong enough push to pressure the QB into throwing the ball earlier than he wants.
When that happens, the linebackers are able to cover the underneath routes, and the defensive backs are able to benefit from inaccurately-thrown passes. That is Lovie Smith's calling card (well, that and causing fumbles)...
Every year, no matter how many superstars the Bears have on defense, there is a 3-4 game stretch where the pass rush is non-existent for some reason, and our defense gets carved up by even the most unimpressive QB. Our defensive backs just aren't talented enough, even in 2012, to sustain coverage on wide receivers for very long.
But against the Rams last week, everyone looked like superstars.
The defensive line registered 6 sacks against Sam Bradford, and had another 9 QB hits. The Rams QB was throwing off his back foot all day, getting rid of the ball early, throwing passes that got tipped, were off the mark, and intercepted.
As long as that's the defense that shows up every Sunday, the defense will carry this team into the playoffs. But, if history repeats itself, and the front-4 suddenly becomes ineffective for a stretch of time, we will see an entirely different defense on the field. Let's hope that doesn't happen...