No McPhee, No Problem
To open the game, the Bears defense came out slow.
The unit allowed a seven play, 80-yard touchdown drive on the opening possession. With no Pernell McPhee and Shea McClellin coming back after an injury stint, the Bears defense looked to be unpromising.
After that touchdown, the Bears defense clicked. They were able to get some pressure on Nick Foles, Lamarr Houston got the lone sack and there were 10 quarterback hits on Foles.
The Rams eventually pulled Foles late in the fourth quarter when Jeff Fisher realized there was no chance for a comeback.
After giving up the early touchdown, the Bears allowed two field goals, forced six punts, had two turnovers on downs, and an interception by Willie Young.
I know Young wanted to be traded earlier this year because he didn’t fit the system, but taking a look at his stats this year he has 10 tackles, a sack, an interception, and two pass deflections.
Keep in mind he hardly played during the beginning of the season.
I think Willie is making a case to stay in Chicago. He has put pressure on the quarterback and has become a regular in the backfield since the Minnesota game.
Frankly, I think Houston and Young are good complements to McPhee but have made cases that they each can play and hold their own. Without McPhee, the pass rush was just as good if not a tad better.
Don’t get me wrong McPhee is a good player, but he was not an every down guy in Baltimore. We are starting to see the tank run out of gas as McPhee has looked slower in the last couple games and did not make the trip to St. Louis.
If I were Fangio, I would create a solid four-man rotation with the outside rushers, McPhee, Houston, Young, and Acho. If all four of those guys can stay rested during a game and be willing to take out some playing time, then there’s a chance to have a highly-consistent pass rush. Which ultimately would lead to more victories this season.
A Good Offense Creates a Good Defense?
The Bears are 8th in the league in yards allowed per game giving up 335.6 yards. The league leader, the Denver Broncos, allow a mere 277.3 yards per game, just to give some perspective.
What the Bears need to work on is getting off the field on third down. The defense allows opposing offenses to convert on third down 44 percent of the time. That’s tied for 4th-worst in the league.
As far as turnovers, the Bears are ranked 25th in interceptions with only five on the year. The Bears are 29th in forced fumbles as they’ve only gotten three this year.
Don’t let these turnover and third down percentages skew your vision on the defense. They are on the field for around 29 minutes and 7 seconds per game, that’s good for 9th least in the league. Credit the offense for keeping the guys on defense rested.
I’m not knocking the defense at all.
They play tough and have visibly improved since Week 1. During the back-to-back wins, they have only given up a combined 26 points to the Chargers and the Rams.
That’s really impressive, especially considering the amount of points the unit gave up during the first two weeks of the season.
Against the Rams, the Bears forced two turnovers… a forced fumble and recovery by McClellin and an interception from Young.
That is a trend I would love to see continue going forward. 🙂
Taking a Look at Denver
The Broncos have ruled out Peyton Manning. That means Brock Osweiler gets the nod at quarterback. In Osweiler’s time against Kansas City last week he threw a touchdown, an interception, and was sacked three times. Ronnie Hillman was the leading rusher, getting the call 11 times for 42 yards and a rushing touchdown.
A look at the receivers, Demaryius Thomas had seven receptions for 71 yards to lead all receivers. I’m looking for Vernon Davis to have a bigger impact than what he has had to this point because the young Chicago linebackers tend to struggle with tight ends from time to time.
Without Manning, I have a hard time predicting the game.
I have not seen Osweiler enough to get a good gauge on his play. However, as the successor to Manning, I think he’s learned a couple things. But, technically so has Cutler under Adam Gase.
Plus, don’t forget John Fox will want to stick it to his former team, and you have to assume if anybody knows the ins and outs of Osweiler’s strengths, it’s Fox and Gase. 😉
In a tightly contested battle…