Yep, two key match-up posts in a week, and this week I will focus on the Bears pass rush against the Bills pass protection. After being non-existent in the game against the Seahawks" class="sbn-auto-link">Seahawks, the pass rush showed up big against the Redskins' questionable offensive line. I expected teams to occupy Julius Peppers with 1 and sometimes 2 additional blockers, so I expected someone on the line to benefit from the attention Peppers gets on his side of the line. Mark Anderson was a guy who I thought would be the guy to step up to that challenge, but he over-ran his way out of town after four weeks into the season. Part of the reason why he was released was because of the play of Isreal Idonjie. Idonjie has shown Lovie and Marinelli this season that he's not just a one dimensional defensive end leading the Bears d-line in sacks with 4.5. Another guy who has played a part in the resurgence of this defensive pass rush is Matt Toenia. Yeah it doesn't show up on the stat sheet, but for a fan that truly looks at the game closely, one sees Toenia's contributions. Toenia has been a disruption in the interior of the line, often getting a good push against the guard and center and not allowing the QB to step in the pocket to deliver the throw.
This Sunday, the Bears will be going up against a Bills passing attack that is much underrated. Ryan Fitzpatrick, since taking over for the released Trent Edwards, has thrown for 1,200 passing yards and 12 touchdowns while just throwing 5 interceptions this season according to nfl.com. Lee Evans is still an effective starting receiver in this league, Steve Johnson has been playing very well, and Roscoe Parrish has been solid as their number 3 wide out. This is an offense that is capable of lighting up a defense if they give their QB time in the pocket, so even though they are 0-7 it will be important for the Bears not to take them lightly.
LE Israel Idonjie vs. RT Cord Howard
This should be a favorable match-up for Idonjie against a rookie right tackle making his 3rd career NFL start in Cord Howard. Howard didn't exactly have a good game against the Chiefs from a pass protection prospective. What I saw from him in last week's game is that he's vulnerable when you get into his body. He seems to struggle against bull rushes (normal for 1st year tackles) and can get pushed around. Look for Marinelli to rotate Peppers to LE at times during the game in order to throw different looks at the rook.
DT Matt Toenia vs. RG Eric Wood
The interior line is the strength of the Bills line and it starts with Eric Wood. Wood is very good in both pass and run blocking so Toenia has his hands full in this match-up. This will be an interesting match-up that I might pay the most attention to because both guys are solid players. I look for Marinelli to throw Henry Melton out there in the nickel packages often to match Melton's athleticism with Wood's.
NT Anthony Adams vs. LG Andy Levitre
Levitre is a pretty good effort player who relies more on his agility and quickness instead of pure strength. Against a player like Anthony Adams, who is probably much bigger and stronger, I expect Levitre to get plenty help from Center Geoff Hangartner.
RE Julius Peppers vs. LT Demetrius Bell
The tackles are the weak link of their team and that was even before Cornell Green went down to a season ending injury. Julius Peppers will have a chance to get his sack total up in this match-up against a left tackle who is still learning in Bell. Peppers has had an impact on this line, but I'm sure most Bears fans and I want to see Peppers take down the QB and take him down often. Hopefully we will see him get back to that this Sunday in Toronto.