Chicago Bears vs. Carolina Panthers: Defensive grades

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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chicago bears eddie jackson
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Secondary: A+

Ed Donatell might just be the best coach on the Chicago Bears staff. What he’s done with the back end of this defense is absolutely unreal.

Sure, we figured that Prince Amukamara, Kyle Fuller and Marcus Cooper had the ability to play solid football. But did you actually think that this group of corners would be making impact plays like this?

Did you envision Fuller and Amukamara pass breakups leading to pick-sixes in consecutive weeks? Or Fuller repeatedly smacking people as a tackler and playing like a seasoned veteran, locking people up along the sideline?

We all thought that the corners and safeties would be the weakest links of the defense. While that could technically still be true, they sure aren’t playing like it. In fact, they’ve made the defining plays of the last two weeks.

I’ve been telling you about Eddie Jackson since May, and I threw in a reminder earlier this week. Even though I probably don’t need to anymore, I’ll say it again: this kid is turning into a star.

And he’s not just playing well on his own. His performance is elevating the play of the people around him.

Just ask Adrian Amos.

We all essentially left Amos for dead this offseason, but alongside Jackson, he’s back and playing more confidently than ever.

His problem never seemed to be being in the right place. It was always finishing off the play. And the Bears may have been asking him to do too much in years past for lack of better options.

But hey, give him a rangy free safety to play with, and he looks pretty good. Who would’ve thought?

Next: What we learned from the Bears' win over the Panthers

Now, no one should expect the Bears to keep the New Orleans Saints completely out of the end zone next Sunday. And, just generally, we all know defenses, even really great ones, can’t just carry teams by themselves in today’s NFL.

But because of this defense, the Chicago Bears now have a real chance to compete in the NFC North this year. Color me amazed.