I was in deep contemplation about what unique angle I was going to use to write about this game when it hit me. Just go with the obvious! So what if every reporter, blogger and social media poster were writing about the same thing. The Bears Defense can’t have enough superlatives heaped upon them. There is no such thing as being talked about too much when it comes to this unit. So I am piling on the praise press and climbing aboard the love train for this Bears defense because too much is simply not enough.
While the defense was the star of the show the favorite to win the Oscar as supporting actor is by far the Bears Offensive Line and throw in the Bears running Backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Especially Howard who for one special night returned to run like his old self. Whether this is a game that propels Howard to a higher level of football from here on out, or if it’s just he and the Bears taking advantage of a favorable matchup versus a team that’s built to rush the passer who knows?
With a high powered offense that gets big leads forcing opposing offenses to pass it’s easy to see why a team like the Rams would not be prepared to stop a mauling power run game. This leads back to the defense. If not for the success of the defense completely shutting down an offense for the ages the running game probably doesn’t even exist as Matt Nagy would be scheming route concepts instead to get back in the game or to keep up.
However, the Defense did in fact shut them down cold bringing focus to the run game on offense. As a matter of fact, Nagy even said during his Monday presser it was strange for him to call the game like he did. He said he felt the responsibility to the defense to call a more conservative game where running clock became more important than making big plays. Especially with how poorly Mitch Trubisky played.
This makes what the Bears did on defense even more impressive. They had to overcome literally one of the worst Quarterbacked games in the NFL this season from their young signal caller by forcing the other Quarterback to have an even worse performance. It wasn’t just one or two guys dominating either. It was the ultimate team defensive effort.
It wasn’t just the top guys in this game carrying the team across the finish line. It was coming from everywhere!
It was Jonathan Bullard driving Rams Left Tackle Andrew Withworth into Quarterback Jared Goff forcing a near pick 6 to Roquan Smith who himself is becoming a star but not quite there yet.
It was Roy Robertson-Harris getting pressure and pushing the pocket all night long and getting in a sack.
There was Bilal Nicholas chasing down a run helping to corral All Pro Running Back Todd Gurley and getting penetration on the interior for the better part of his snaps.
Than, probably the most underappreciated member of the defense and probably overall on this roster Eddie Goldman teaming with Akiem Hicks for possibly the biggest play of the night getting a safety to snuff out the Rams first possession to open up the 2nd half and turning the momentum in the Bears favor.
There was also special teams talent and one of the Bears captains Sherrick Mcmanis subbing in for Bears Nickel Back Bryce Callahan and leading the team in tackles. Most notably a tackle for loss versus Gurley.
I can go on and on rattling off name after name which made play after play but in truth, every single player on the defense contributed to perhaps their most dominant defensive performance of the 2018 NFL season. This speaks to the job Vic Fangio has done with this unit and why he is one of the best 10 Defensive coordinators in the game.
Fangio is someone I’ve been critical of as far as his game day coaching at times and his conservative nature to close out ball games, however, there may not be a better coordinator in the game from Monday through Saturday.
No one has their players better prepared than Fangio. He holds his guys to a high level and demands a physical brand of football from his players while also having the mental aspect of their games down. He is also an excellent teacher and there is no staff in the league that teaches their players technique and develops their players better. His retention and the retention of his staff is another reason why you just mail General Manager Ryan Pace his executive of the year award this instant.
The offense has been an intricle part of this teams success and is in development with bigger and better things to come, but with the system and coaches being in place along with many of its members the defense is so much further along than the offense Matt Nagy is building from scratch. In an era that favors offensive football with the rules it’s the outlier that will have to carry the Bears to a deep run in the post season. That outlier, is the Bears defense. An outlier, I feel pretty good about.