“The more things change, the more they stay the same” – Chicago Bears fans in reference to the Bears’ defense in 2013.
At its surface, that sentiment would appear to hold up. Sure, the Bears changed defensive coordinators and Brian Urlacher no longer dawns the navy and orange. But Mel Tucker is essentially running the same scheme as Lovie Smith did for years, and the Bears will always be a turnover machine.
The latter may be true. The former? Not so much.
Yes, the Bears are still technically considered a cover two defense. But watching the Bears 40-23 rout over the Pittsburgh Steelers last night… let’s just say Mel Tucker looked an awful lot more like opposing coordinator Dick LeBeau than someone like Rod Marinelli, Bob Babich or any puppet ever brought along by Lovie Smith in his nine-year Bears tenure.
The Bears blitzed left, right, sideways and upside down Sunday night. There was the D.J. Williams sack/fumble in the first quarter. Then the blitz that forced Ben Roethlisberger to throw an errant pick six to Major Wright in the first half. There was the Lance Briggs blitz that resulted in a touchdown for Julius Peppers that sealed it for Chicago.
Meatball Bears fans at hole-in-the-wall Chicago pizza joints were smiling from Bridgeport to Wrigleyville last night.
Though consistently trotting out one of the best units in the NFL, Chicagoans pride themselves on aggressive defense, pizza, aggressive defense and Italian beef. But mostly pizza.
Really, though. As successful as the defense has been in the last ten years, its best player earning a trip to Canton essentially for being the best coverage linebacker in the history of football doesn’t quite add up. The Bears are synonymous with defenses. And defenses hit people. The Bears defensive display Sunday night was far from finesse.
But as great as the aggressive play calling from Mel Tucker was, it almost seemed to come out of necessity as opposed to being the Bears’ original game plan heading into 2013.
Simply put, the Bears pass rush has been dreadful. Or non-existent, which in football terms equates to dreadful. Henry Melton tearing his ACL certainly won’t help matters, but even with Melton, the Bears put little to no pressure on Andy Dalton and Christian Ponder in the first two weeks.
And in week three, against a woeful Steelers offensive line, the Bears simply did not feel like they could apply pressure to Roethlisberger without some extra help.
People will talk about the touchdowns and the sacks. And that’s all well and good, but how much longer can the Bears keep this up?
Antionio Brown torched the Bears’ secondary to the tune of 196 yards last night. Peanut Tillman is banged up, old and just doesn’t seem equipped to be put on an island against a top-15 receiver at this point in his career. Next up is Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions.
As usual, the Bears were bailed out by two defensive touchdowns and another turnover that put the Bears’ offense in the red zone to start a touchdown possession. Classic, classic Bears.
And sure, luck that repeats itself has to eventually be considered a trend.
You just have to wonder how much longer repeated luck can last.