Probably the most dominating performance from Chicago Bears defensive line in recent memory, Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and his "Rush Men" smelled blood in the water with the Falcons offensive line and attacked. I mentioned last Thursday in the WCG Key Match-Up post that the Bears defensive line needed to create havoc in the Falcons backfield in order to stop them, and they did just that. They pressured Matt Ryan all day long on the way to 5 sacks (3 from the interior, 2 from Defensive End) and with the exception of a 50 yard run did a good job neutralizing Michael Turner on the ground.
It was overall a great debut from the Defensive Line, who some fans, including myself, thought that they had a good chance to be special. I will try not to be too generous with the grades in the first WCG Grades and Reviews post for the Bears 2011 season.
RE Julius Peppers
Grade A (Pass Rush A+ Run Support B)
Peppers dominated Sam Baker for most of the game collecting two sacks and consistent pressure that allowed Ryan to be off target and settle for dump passes. The commentators Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa kept wondering why Ryan wasn't challenging the Bears secondary downfield; think it had more to do with Peppers and the rest of the line consistent pressure, along with the back 7 being well discipline in their coverage assignments.
Nose Tackle as a whole
Grade B (Pass Rush B Run Support A)
Matt Toeaina started in place of Anthony Adams last Sunday and he really got after it; taking advantage of the inexperience Center Joe Hawley. I thought his performance last Sunday was much underrated as he commanded help from the guard on passing plays and was stout in the middle in run support. Adams had an alright game, but you can see he was still trying to get himself back into game mode. It won't be too long until he does and when he does it only helps such a deep DT rotation.
DT Henry Melton and Amobi Okoye
Grade A+ (Pass Rush A+ Run Support A+)
2 sacks and 7 QB hits, the Bears have been looking for a dominate 3 technique tackle for some years now after Tommie Harris decline and they might have found him in Henry Melton. It was probably one of the more dominating performances from that position since Harris performance against the Vikings in the Metro dome in the Super Bowl year. Melton also impressed in run support, an area I was a little concern about with him going into the season because of limited experience. Amboi Okoye spelled Melton and Toeaina from time to time in passing situations and was impressive getting pressure himself one on a nice executed stunt outside and the other just simply beating his man one on one; getting to Ryan for the sack.
LE Israel Idonije
Grade B+ (Pass Rush B Run Support A)
It wasn't a walk in the park going up against RT Tyson Clabo most of the game, but I felt that Idonije played a really nice game. He got pressure at times in passing situations and was very solid in run support containing the edge and letting the Linebackers run clean in pursuit of the RB. The sacks and tackles for lost will come for Idonije this season with the presence of Peppers on the line and a much improve interior defense.