CHICAGO- This week’s edition of “Thursday Night Football” saw the Chicago Bears pick up a hard fought (and sometimes difficult) 27-21 victory over the New York Giants. The Bears offense was solid as Jay Cutler had a solid game, Brandon Marshall had an even better game and the Bears managed to play without committing a turnover or allowing a sack. The defense was another story, especially the defensive line.
Stephen Paea did not suit up again as he is still battling turf toe. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker had to use a makeshift line once again as he started Julius Peppers and Shea McClellin on the outside, with Corey Wootton and Landon Cohen on the inside. Peppers did not record a single statistic against the Giants, it’s starting to become a bad habit for him.
The only sack on Eli Manning came from a blitzing Lance Briggs. As a whole, the Bears’ front four combined for just six of the teams 42 total tackles. McClellin did add a tackle for loss but otherwise his miserable sophomore campaign continues. The disturbing absence of Julius Peppers is only going to hurt the team unless either him or the Bears make a change. Is Peppers playing hurt? Has his age become a factor? Whatever the case may be no one will say for sure. But the bottom line is that the Bears best pass rusher is hurting his team more than he’s helping.
“We’ll look at the tape” head coach Marc Trestman said afterwards about the defensive line, “This was a heck of a job by (defensive line coach) Mike Phair and Mel to get this thing going without a week of practice.” As upbeat as the coach may sound after every press conference, it’s no secret that the Bears need to start getting more of a push up front.
The need for that push was brought to light in the worst of ways after Giants’ running back Brandon Jacobs ran the ball 22 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns. He carried Bears defenders on his back when the Giants’ offensive line wasn’t pushing them out of the way. Manning completed 14-of-26 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown despite the Briggs sack, and at times he looked untouchable as the Bears gave little to no pressure.
If it wasn’t for Manning throwing three interceptions (One on the opening series by Zach Bowman starting for an injured Charles Tillman, the other two by Tim Jennings. He returned the first one for the game’s first touchdown, the second one secured the victory), The Bears could have easily lost this game. The Bears won’t play again for another 10 days, hopefully Paea can heal up by then. But the Bears need to improve their pass rush, and do a better job of stopping the run in a hurry. Their next two games are against two of the games most dangerous quarterbacks, Robert Griffith III (Washington) and Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay after the by week).
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