|Bears defense finally delivers|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 24 November 2008 12:33|
Adewale Ogunleye set the tone when he burst through the line for the first of his two sacks, knocking the quarterback out of the game with a concussion.
Tommie Harris collected a pair of sacks, too. And keeping with the retro theme, the Bears won 27-3 at St. Louis on Sunday behind a season-high five sacks and four interceptions.
Just like the old days, the defense finally dominated.
``You can say it so many times, but until you actually do it, it doesn't sit firm in your mind,'' Ogunleye said Monday. ``Now, I think guys know we are capable of playing good defense not for just a quarter or a half but throughout the whole game.''
The Bears (6-5) certainly weren't the first team to shut down the lowly Rams, and they realize they face a tougher task this week when they visit fellow NFC North leader Minnesota. Even so, this was a big step.
esting their old dominant form might not return. If nothing else, it made a cameo.
The Bears limited the Rams to 14 yards rushing after getting trampled for 200 the previous week and knocked St. Louis for a loss on eight of 12 plays in the first quarter.
Held without a sack for the third time this season against Green Bay, the Bears kept coming at the Rams after Ogunleye knocked Bulger out of the game on St. Louis' first possession and never let his replacement Trent Green get comfortable in the pocket. That pressure played a big role in the four interceptions, which matched a season high.
Most encouraging for the Bears was the emergence of Harris, who had just two sacks in the first 10 games after signing a $40 million contract extension.
Distraught over the out-of-wedlock birth of his first child, he was suspended for the Detroit game on Oct. 5 after showing up late for treatments for a knee injury that kept him out of the previous game against Philadelphia.
Ogunleye said he ``watched Tommie closely'' and ``talked to him just to make sure his mind is right.'' He has noticed ``a different person'' lately.
Harris finally flashed his Pro Bowl form against the Rams, knocking Green for a 9-yard loss at the end of the first quarter and taking him down again early in the fourth.
ure they block this guy. He's one of the best - if not the best - three-techniques in the league. When he's healthy and playing at his top level, there's nobody better. When he's playing at 90 percent, you have to double-team him. If you single-block him, he's going to beat that all the time. When they start double-teaming him, it leaves myself, Adewale and the other guys with one-on-ones. We've got to take advantage of it.''
The defense did not have to carry the Bears. It just needed to do its part in a game where Danieal Manning returned the opening kickoff 50 yards and the offense showed some creativity while getting another big performance from rookie Matt Forte.
Devin Hester gained 20 yards on a reverse on the first play from scrimmage and helped set up a touchdown with a 12-yard run out of a Wildcat formation late in the opening quarter.
Forte ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns, including a 47-yarder. He now has 909 yards this season and is on pace to finish with 1,322, which would eclipse the Bears' rookie record of 1,183 set by Anthony Thomas in 2001, but don't tell him he's carrying the offense with quarterback Kyle Orton hobbled by a sprained ankle.
``No. This is a team. Nobody carries a team,'' Forte said.
on. On Sunday, they kept the pressure coming in a performance straight out of 2005 and 2006. Now, the Bears need to carry that momentum to Minnesota.
``It's different,'' Alex Brown said. ``St. Louis throws the ball a little more. They don't have Adrian Peterson. When you have Adrian Peterson in the backfield, you're going to run the ball. ... When they do throw it, we've got to put pressure on (the quarterback) and sack him. Those are the things we have to do to have a chance to win.''
Notes: Coach Lovie Smith indicated Mike Brown (leg) and TE Desmond Clark (mild knee sprain) were not seriously injured Sunday. Those two and CB Nathan Vasher, who also left the game after injuring his surgically repaired right thumb, were undergoing further evaluations and ``we'll tell you a little bit more about all these guys Wednesday,'' Smith said.