The Bears’ secondary is developing into a group of playmakers.
In the last two weeks, the defensive backs have caused four turnovers and all have resulted in touchdowns.
Against the Ravens, Bryce Callahan had a 52-yard interception return, which set up Tarik Cohen’s touchdown pass to Zach Miller two plays later and Adrian Amos returned an interception 90 yards for a score. Against the Panthers, Eddie Jackson scored on a 75-yard fumble recovery and 76-yard pick-6.
Going into the matchup against the Ravens, the Bears had three total turnovers. Now, they are tied for second in the NFL with the Texans and Saints with three defensive touchdowns. This was a defense a year ago that only had two defensive touchdowns all season, and prior to the Ravens game, Cre’Von LeBlanc had the last defensive touchdown against the Lions in a 20-17 Bears loss in Week 14.
But this season, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, defensive backs coach Ed Donatell and assistant defensive backs coach Roy Anderson have their players in sync and making the most of their opportunities.
Going back to Callahan’s interception against the Ravens, that play couldn’t have been possible without the help of Jackson. Kyle Fuller was beat on the play, but Jackson was in position and delivered a big hit on the receiver, forcing the ball in the air and Callahan made a diving interception.
Later in the game, Fuller made up for getting beat by giving Amos his first career interception. Fuller lined up one-on-one with his man, broke on the route and put his right hand in the way, which popped the ball right to Amos for a pick-6.
That play was similar to Jackson’s pick-6 against the Panthers. Prince Amukamara was one-on-one with Kelvin Benjamin, stuck with him and hit the ball with his right hand, resulting in the ball going straight into the air and into Jackson’s hands.
The secondary seems to have found that continuity and trust in one another and it has translated on the field. In the 17-3 victory over the Panthers, the front seven was able to generate five sacks, and you have to give credit to the secondary for limiting Cam Newton’s options of where to go with the football.
What makes the defense even more extraordinary is that the unit has not faltered due to their lack of rest. Against the Panthers, the Bears’ defense played 72 snaps compared to 38 by the offense and allowed only three points.
The defense is playing phenomenal and the secondary is a pivotal reason why. The unit will look to keep up their superb play this Sunday in New Orleans against the Saints – who are the No. 4 scoring offense in the league.
It will be interesting to see what the group of ascending playmakers can do in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
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