The Chicago Bears were dominant as a football team on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In every single phase of football, the Bears were better than their opponent on Sunday. It’s been a long, long time since we could say that about a Bears team.
While Mitch Trubisky and the offense will get most of the recognition, as they should, the Bears defense was solid once again on Sunday. The Buccaneers offense isn’t an easy one to stop, but Vic Fangio’s unit got the job done once again.
They even put an end to “Fitzmagic” as we know it. Jameis Winston played all of the second half for the Bucs, who scored just three points in the first half and seven in the second. As a team, the Bears forced three turnovers – all interceptions by Eddie Jackson, Danny Trevathan, and Aaron Lynch.
This Bears defense already has eight interceptions through four games in 2018. From 2015-2017 they had only eight interceptions on the entire year. They were also with one of their best players in the secondary, CB Prince Amukamara.
Let’s break down some of the performances and plays that the defense had against the Bucs.
Akiem Hicks strong start
Before he foolishly shoved an official. Hicks was making a difference for the Bears.
Here, we can see Hicks straight up bull-rush the opposing offensive linemen. He is not a player that should be blocked by one player, but teams have no other choice. Pick your poison…double Hicks or Mack. Oh yeah, don’t forget about Leonard Floyd either.
Hicks was again playing well before his ejection. This was his lone sack on the day.
Now, let’s take a look at what got Hicks thrown out of the ballgame.
That was just a dumb decision by Hicks who will be fined and could be suspended. Losing Hicks would be a big loss for the Bears defense.
Kevin Toliver stepped up
As I mentioned above, the Bears were without Amukamara on Sunday. That meant undrafted rookie Kevin Toliver had to play in his spot on the outside. The former LSU Tiger stepped up his play on Sunday after struggling a bit last week against the Cardinals.
Fangio clearly trusts Toliver, who was trusted in the red zone vs. the Bucs.
On the play above, Toliver makes a clean play on Bucs’ tight end OJ Howard. Fitzpatrick went to the right one-on-one matchup, but the rookie made the better play here. Below, Toliver makes another solid play on WR DeSean Jackson.
When Amukamara returns, look for Toliver to continue to get playing time. He was that good in Sunday’s win.
One thing I’ve noticed while watching the tape on safety Eddie Jackson in his young career is his closing speed. It’s really something special. Take a look at his interception below. His closing speed on the ball allows him to create a takeaway.
That was Jackson’s second pick of the year. He has shown the ability to create turnovers more consistently than Adrian Amos. Overall, Amos has been good this year, but his value would be even higher if he could start creating takeaways like Jackson.
Bonus – Khalil Mack forced fumble
The Bears have played in four games and Mack has four forced fumbles. Someone wants that defensive player of the year award.
- Leonard Floyd looked good on Sunday. Expect him to really take off after the bye week.
- Aaron Lynch has quietly been one of the best free agent pickups this year. General manager Ryan Pace deserves from credit for making that move. Especially, after he missed most of camp.
- Speaking of good moves by Ryan Pace, Bilal Nichols looks like one of the steals of the draft. He has been effective in every game he has played in this season.
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