Chicago Bears vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Defensive grades

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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chicago bears
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Defensive Line: A

The Bears front line didn’t post gaudy stats, but they owned the line of scrimmage nonetheless. Given the Pittsburgh Steelers’ reputation as a physical football team, I doubt that they expected to get their teeth knocked in like that.

Too bad.

Yesterday just continued the trend we’ve been seeing for weeks: the Chicago Bears have the personnel to dominate teams up front.  And their ability to turn the Steelers offense into a discombobulated mess ultimately won the game as much as anything.

Akiem Hicks and Co. stacked up Steelers offensive linemen all game long, limiting the usual cutback opportunities for Le’Veon Bell.  And their ability to occupy blockers made things easier for a linebacking corps that desperately needed help.  To be sure, the linebackers took advantage of their opportunities (more on that later), but Danny Trevathan doesn’t rack up 10 tackles without his boys up front.

Also, just because they didn’t get any sacks doesn’t mean they left no mark on the passing game. They pushed the pocket into Rothlisberger’s lap more than once, keeping him off balance.  And Hicks, as always, registered a quarterback hit. Plus, he pounced on the fumble forced by Bryce Callahan, which makes two straight weeks with a takeaway for the Bears.

At this point, it seems like the dominance of the front seven, especially the line, isn’t a fluke. This looks real.

Don’t act like you’re not getting excited about it either.