The Chicago Bears defense gave fans flashbacks of the history they created in 2018. They instigated chaos in week two versus the Bengals. The defense created four sacks, six tackles for loss, eight passes defended, nine quarterback hits, three interceptions, and one touchdown.
Through three-quarters of play, the Bears’ defense had allowed just three points to the Bengals’ offense. An offense which was boosted this season by the return of Joe Burrow, the addition of Ja’Marr Chase, and a couple of additions to the offensive line.
In typical Bears fashion, the defense allowed a 42-yard touchdown to Chase, and then a seven-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins after a Justin Fields interception in their territory, to bring the game back to within three points in the fourth quarter.
Classic Bears, giving the stadium and everyone in Chicago a heart-attack, just when they thought the team could get away with an easy win. The game had plenty of highlights from defensive schemes to individual players making plays.
Things went much better for the Chicago Bears in week two of the 2021 season.
Jaylon Johnson & Co.
The secondary generally performed well against a stacked group of receivers in Chase, Higgins, and Tyler Boyd.
On paper, Joe Burrow got to throw for just 207 yards and two touchdowns. He completed just 63 percent of his passes, much lower than the 70 percent he completed in all five games he played in last season.
According to the FOX broadcast, the interception by Roquan Smith was Burrow’s first interception in 200 straight pass attempts, snapping the longest active streak of pass attempts without an interception in the NFL.
The Bears’ defense fed off that momentum, intercepting Burrow on his next two pass attempts.
Desai matched up the second-year corner, Kindle Vildor, up against standout rookie Chase plenty during the game, which paid off well, considering Chase racked up just two catches during the game, one of which was a touchdown.
Duke Shelley was the stand-alone liability during the game, constantly dropping coverage defending the slot.
The secondary will have to keep consistent next week against Baker Mayfield & Co.
Is this finally Roquan Smith’s all-pro season?
Smith finished the game with eight total tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, and an interception he returned 53-yards for a touchdown.
Alec Ogletree is almost certain to retain the title of starting linebacker once Danny Trevathan returns from injured reserve.
Ogletree covered the run extremely well, having a hand in holding Joe Mixon to 69 yards and a 3.5 yard average per carry. He also tipped a ball into the air, allowing Angelo Blackson to intercept the ball for Burrow’s third interception of the game.
There will be plenty of run-game to cover next week against the Cleveland Browns behind power duo Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
The defensive line performed to expectation and no more than that.
Considering the Bears have north of $60 million per year invested in their starting defensive line (Mack, Quinn, Goldman, Hicks) and the Bengals have just under $23 million per year invested in their offensive line, the Bears should win the day.
And they did just that.
Mack and Quinn showed a pulse in their game, combining two sacks and two quarterback hits. Quinn’s first sack should be credited to Sean Desai, for intelligently lining both Mack and Quinn on the same side to create an overload of chaos.
The line did so well they were able to create an interception that ended up in the hands of Blackson. They put plenty of pressure on Burrow, sacking him four times for 28 total yards.
They will have quite the challenge next week against the best offensive line in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns.
Eddie Jackson gave us a roller coaster of a performance, after unanimously dropping the ball (no pun intended) in week one.
Jackson made some crucial plays, for example, stopping Joe Mixon on third and short and blowing past Chase’s attempted block.
Jackson also forced Tee Higgins to cough up the ball in the third quarter, just after the Bears had punted the ball away. The fumble was recovered by Jackson’s partner in crime, Tashaun Gipson.
On the other hand, the two had their weak moments. Jackson blew dep coverage in the fourth, giving Chase his 42-yard touchdown. Gipson was called for a taunting penalty early in the game, giving the Bengals a fresh set of downs.
While the last level held their own and made some important plays, they need to keep it together. As I have mentioned in the past, the rest of the defense will need to make up for the lack of talent the team has at its corners.
The Bears made some thrilling plays to support the offense in this one. The Bengals are an up-and-coming offense in the NFL, and the Bears kept them to just 17 points. The defense will have a tough matchup next week with the Browns.
Not only does Kevin Stefanski’s offense have the best running back duo in the game with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, but they have the most talented offensive line in the NFL along with plenty of weaponry for Baker Mayfield.
Desai will need to be cognizant of the Browns’ offensive firepower next week to get the defense in line and support an offense that put up just 20 points to one of the bottom-tier defenses in the NFL.