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Maligned Defensive Line, Coordinator Save Bears Season

| November 19th, 2013

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It would have been easy.

After being steamrolled by the Baltimore Ravens for the better part of an hour, it would have been easy for the Chicago Bears to walk back into the locker room with their heads hanging lower than 40 time. Facing a lengthy weather delay it would have been easy for players and coaches alike to say, “We’re done. Too many injuries. Backup quarterback. This is as far as we can go.”

It may not have been right. But it would have been easy.

What followed the delay was something even the most fresh-eyed of Bears optimists could not have predicted. David Bass made the kind of play that has defined the career of Julius Peppers and knotted the ballgame up at 10. Peppers used the two-hour delay to fly to St. Augustine, dip his face in Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth and return with a triumphant double-digit tackle, multi-sack performance when the Bears needed him most. Mel Tucker and Marc Trestman realized their error in sliding Corey Wootton back outside and returned him to the three-technique where he has begun to flourish in recent weeks. (Put some more bulk on this kid and he can delivery Melton-like numbers.) This defensive line, marred by injury and ineffectiveness, delivered the type of performance most of us thought them incapable of delivering.

The Pizza Hut delivery man showed up with three sausage pies from Lou Malnati’s. The Schlitz keg was pouring Guinness. Dublin Guinness. Mulligan’s Guinness. It flowed sweetest with the game on the line.

Because the game was over. I challenge any Bears fans, any self-respecting Bears fan, to show me evidence they believed the Bears could hold Flacco and the Ravens on first-and-goal as the clock on the Bears postseason hopes was slowly trickling down to a bunch of zeroes. Three opportunities to find the end zone? Against this defense? With the game on the line and Human Penalty Machine Zack Bowman on the field? How could they not score?

The game was over. Then it wasn’t. Three snaps. Three excellent pushes from the defensive front. The unit that had put the Bears back in the football game was giving them one more chance to save their season; now in overtime. McCown, Bennett and Gould took it from there.

The challenges coming should not be understated. St. Louis, Minnesota, Philadelphia – one back better than the next – will give this defense and its inability to stop the run nightmares. But for one week Bears fans should salute their maligned defensive front and their overly-maligned coordinator. For one Sunday is was not the big weapons on offense that won the Bears a football game. For one Sunday it was Peppers, Cheta, Cohen, Woot, Bass and company.

For one today the Bears reminded us of yesterday.

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  • Doc Nitty

    Firstness

  • Ghost of Waffle

    oh wow, that ref fuuuuuuccked up.

  • Doc Nitty

    Did Pep really have double digit tackles? I did not know that (in Johnny Carson voice).

    My fear with Wooten playing the 3-tech is on run support. I fear he’s too easy to push around down there. And maybe that has a lot to do with why our run D has suffered for the last 5 weeks or so. Adrian Peterson gives me nightmares. Leshon McCoy gives me nightmares. I sure as hell hope that our offense can keep putting up numbers. I’m encouraged by the defenses slight resurgence, but I’m not ready to put my worries to bed.

    • SC Dave

      From Da Site. “According to press box stats, Peppers had 11 tackles, two sacks, four tackles for losses and two quarterback hits.”

      Not sure how much repetition there is in those numbers (technically, two sacks, two tackles and two tackles for loss are the same two plays), but regardless t’was a good game for Pep.

      • MB30SD

        sacks are standalone.Usually they’ll list total tackles and then say that the solos and tackles for a loss were a portion of the total, like: 11 – 3 – 2 (11 total tackles, three of the 11 solo, and 2 of the 11 for a loss… I’m sure a solo can be for a loss as well)

    • SC Dave

      McCoy? Dead!

  • SC Dave

    Oh, and in response to your challenge, Jeff, I posted a couple threads back that the biggest surprise of the game to me was that the defense did not repeat the misery of the Washington game. It sure looked that way.

  • Ghost of Waffle

    The rise of Black McClellin.

  • Shady

    I told you guys after the Bears played Carolina in the pre-season, the Panthers have one of the best D-lines in the league. Reminds me of the Bears pass rush in ’05 and ’06 when Ron Rivera was running the D in Chicago.

    • SC Dave

      They certainly looked good last night. A nice win for the Panthers.

  • MB30SD
  • Trac

    At this point in the season, I believe a team is pretty much who their record says they are. Just barely beating a 3-5/4-6 team is an indication that we should be happy to be 6-4. Having said that, 10-6 is not going to be good enough to win the division I think. 11-5 would probably do it so lets hope that we can win the games we’re supposed to. If all goes well against the shitty teams, Philly and Green Bay (if Rodgers returns) are going to be the games that define this season. I can see Detroit losing to Philly and Green Bay but the rest of their contests are against creme puffs.

    • DaBearsBlog

      Detroit is still Detroit.

      • Viva

        Trestman’s first loss as a HC to Jim Schwantz’ repulses me.

      • Trac

        True but that fake FG would have given them a first down if their punter hadn’t fumbled. Trust me, I would love nothing more than to see MB’s hopes of them imploding come to fruition.

        • MB30SD

          C-W-S my man. And if bush would have broken through the toughest dline in the sport to get those 2 points we might have won the game.

          In similar news, if my auntie had a nutsack she’d be my uncle.

          • Trac

            They beat us twice so yeah, “if” is irrelevant and I’m not gonna bank on Detroit imploding. We need to win the games left on the schedule, period. When we don’t, it is what it is.

  • SC Dave

    Interesting snippet from Da Site…

    “The Bears have not committed a turnover in McCown’s two starts against the Packers and Ravens, and they have only two giveaways in their last five games, their fewest in any five-game stretch since at least 1950.”

    Perhaps we should be enjoying that ball protection that Trestman keeps talking about a little bit more?

  • Viva

    Skunk will take one back this weekend. It’s what he does in St. Louis. Give them the blues.

    • gpldan

      +4 Hockey drop

  • Thompson Way

    The Ravens game was a nail biting, edge of your seat win. As Gould was obviously playing the wind on the last field goal, God held his breath, and the kick had me out of my seat for that “just in” win. I hope the Rams game is a blow out because my heart can’t take to many of these games.

  • MB30SD

    Anyone notice that in the pic anderson looks as big if not bigger than bass?

    Also, don’t see that it’s been posted but McCown officially starting in st. Louis

  • MB30SD

    Just took a peek at the schedule again. 5-1 is definitely doable down the stretch if the d continues to solidify, we have a little injury luck for once, and we get hot right now.

    • CanadaBear

      That’s a lot of ifs but at least there is some hope. I’m still not convinced Pep is back. I’m afraid he just dominated a clearly inferior opponent.

      • MB30SD

        agreed it’s a lot of ifs, but the eagles and packers WITH rodgers are the only teams that scare me. the rest we can definitely beat if we don’t beat ourselves.

  • gpldan

    Luke Keuchley mugged Gronk in the endzone. Luke looked like Big Ben with a coed in a bathroom stall, he was all over Gronk. Ruling that pass uncatchable? Those guys must have served on the Warren Commission.

    • SC Dave

      Makes up for Brady getting away with what could have been called intentional grounding twice on that last drive. Though I confess I was not seeing entirely clearly at that point of the game.

  • gpldan

    Anybody see the pre-game show with Ricky Reilley’s puff piece on Bellichek’s daughter?

    His daughter looks like Bill with a Blond wig on.

    #thatsnotright

  • MB30SD

    DaBearsBlog @dabearsblog
    #6 of 10. If I were team w/need at safety, Jairus Byrd’s going to be at my facility the day free agency opens & he’s not leaving w/out deal.

    THIS!!!!! Has to be us. Please 8lb baby jebus.

    • CanadaBear

      No reason it couldn’t happen. Our team is going to look completely different next year, esp on D.

  • Viva

    You are all a bunch of good mother humpers.

  • CanadaBear

    From SI. It doesn’t break any new ground but a nice read.

    http://mmqb.si.com/2013/11/18/josh-mccown-jay-cutler-chicago-bears-baltimore-ravens/

  • MB30SD

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XptlYoqbIvQ#t=49

    high lateral stiffness… that’s what she said.

  • Sactowns#1

    I’m interested to see what the addition of Ratliff, Paea etc to this D line rotation will look like. I think we’ll have Woot, Pep etc being rotated out more and thus be fresher. Or at least thats the hope.

  • MB30SD
  • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

    The “Mud Bowl” will definitely go down in Bear history. It was such a unique game with many story lines.

    McDrago went Buddha – began visualizing victory – transcended to another realm, and returned transfigured.

    Bass took a power nap, woke up with the ball in his hands and ran it for 6 when we needed it most.

    Garza and B-marsh were making the rounds in the locker room trying to keep everyone loose and focused, even though no one knew if play would even resume.

    Garza later said that his wife and kids wouldn’t go to the game, and that’s when he knew how serious the weather conditions were. I’m sure that wasn’t lost on the players when thinking about their friends and family in the area. Garza nonetheless stepped up like a true leader a la Kreutz without the jawbreaking.

    The field had chunks of pivots so bad that players were just trying to avoid slipping. The wind was so bad that neither team wanted to throw even a slant (did you see that out where the wind made it look like a screwball?).

    Meanwhile, the Meows were losing it, and I’m sure there was some score-board watching.

    The SB reining champs desperate in trying to save their season mounted an inspired last drive that got them three tries from the 5 to win on the road in surreal conditions.

    The HC meanwhile just sat there with his TOs as the Ravens marched down the field, and we were thinking “Stop the bleeding! They need a breather!” Yet all along Trestman was thinking that the Ravens have a 13% chance of scoring a TDs in those situations.

    The sieve-like Bears D in conditions which generally favors the O somehow made a stand, held them to a FG (which was no given in those winds), then OT (as if the game wasn’t long enough).

    Then, Bears make a stop (even though they must have been exhausted), and the Bears with a back-up QB in arguably the worst conditions all year march down the field and get a FG from 38 which is perhaps one of the greatest kicks in terrible conditions since the VIneteri boot in NE.

    Oh, and did I forget to mention that Trestman also didn’t even want to get a few extra yards on 3rd down, instead deciding to just kick it on 3rd?

    5 hours later, a Bears victory.

    Dang. I’m spent just remembering the game.

    • johnnywad

      Loverod’s D loses that game. Despite being better, they always seemed to shit the bed on the must have, late game stops. The Dallas/Detroit game reminded me of that this season, with Old Sauce calling the shots. I was convinced it would happen to the Bears Sunday, but it didn’t. Thanks to Tucker?

  • Jeremy Toren

    Jeff, I didn’t think you would resort to such a gruesome cliche. It would have been easy for players and coaches alike to give up? How exactly do you see that playing out? “Guys, I know we’re 5-4 and playing a mediocre team at home, but we’re missing a few injured players and we’re losing 10-0 in the first quarter, so…just pack your bags and go. We’re forfeiting the season.”

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