Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings: Defensive Grades

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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chicago bears akiem hicks
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Defensive Line: B

When I watch the Chicago Bears defensive line, I often find myself wondering what this unit, and what this defense, would look like without Akiem Hicks.

He’s just that dominant right now while everyone else…isn’t.

That’s not necessarily to say that he’s gotten no help from Eddie Goldman and, on occasion, Mitch Unrein and Roy Robertson-Harris.

But this is Hicks’ domain, plain and simple.

It seemed like any time the Vikings tried to single-block Hicks, someone got walked back into the quarterback’s lap. And not in a slow, deliberate way either. No, it was violent and angry. At some point, teams need to just give that up unless they want him to keep having two-sack, three-TFL games.

And again, Goldman (two tackles) had a few nice run disruptions and pass rushes. Plus, his job is often less sexy anyway. As long as he’s eating up double teams and preventing guys from blocking at the next level, he’s done his job. And he did fine last night, if not spectacularly.

And that’s the problem: aside from Hicks, they’re not getting stellar play from anyone else.

Unrein (three tackles) actually flashed on a few plays, getting penetration, but he’s never going to make a real difference defensively. And though Robertson-Harris and Jonathan Bullard (one tackle) each had a few nice plays where they held their own at the point of attack, they’re not giving you anything substantial either.

Someone else needs to step up, especially with a vulnerable linebacking corps and secondary behind them. And when Hicks has to eventually come off the field for rest, the rotation players need to make an impact. Like yesterday.