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What Made the Bears Defense So Dominant Against the Vikings?

The Chicago Bears defense was unstoppable on Sunday night. Why were they so dominant against one of the most talented offenses in the NFL?

The Chicago Bears took control of the NFC North on Sunday night with a 25-20 win against the Minnesota Vikings. At 7-3, the Bears have a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

While the offense was inconsistent against the Vikings, the defense showed out, as they have in almost every game this season.

Don’t let the points allowed fool you, the Bears’ defense was dominant on Sunday night. They forced three turnovers and gave Kirk Cousins issues the entire night. Dalvin Cook was also shut down by the Bears’ stout run defense.

The former FSU star finished with just 12 rushing yards. Adam Thielen, who might be the best wide receiver in the NFL, finished the night with seven receptions for just 66 yards. Tight end Kyle Rudolph was held to two catches that went for a meaningless 13 yards. The list goes on and on.

What made the Bears’ defense so good on Sunday night? I’ll dive into that here in a full film breakdown of the Bears’ defense against the talented Vikings’ offense.

Akiem Hicks and Leonard Floyd 

Look, we know how great Khalil Mack is, and he was just that on Sunday after forcing a fumble and recording two sacks. However, for this film breakdown, I am going to focus more on Akiem Hicks and Leonard Floyd, who aren’t getting enough credit for slowing down the Vikings.

Hicks had his best game in a Bears’ uniform on Sunday night. He had five, yes, five tackles for loss. That’s unheard of. Hicks also seems to make the biggest plays at the biggest times. That was evident on the Vikings’ first drive when Hicks blew up a handoff off to Cook that forced a Vikings’ punt and energized the Soldier Field crowd.

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With Hicks and Eddie Goldman in the middle and Mack and Floyd on the outside, the Bears’ defensive line is scary good. Who are teams going to double? Mack, that leaves Hicks one-on-one. Find, double Hicks? Then Mack and Floyd have one-on-one matchups.

It’s impossible at times to scheme against the Bears’ defensive front.

As for Floyd, Sunday was his third solid game in a row. He’s back, folks.

Unique Looks 

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio may drive me crazy with his prevent defense when the team goes up two scores, but his unique looks against the Vikings paid off. Below, there are two different looks that will give even the best offenses in the NFL trouble.

Above, we have both LBs on the defensive line. The thing that makes this even more confusing for Cousins is that it’s on third down. Usually, Smith and Trevathan would be in coverage, but not here. Instead, both LBs blitz, forcing Cousins to have to get rid of the ball quickly.

Here, we have Floyd lined up on the inside. Again, this formation puts him in a favorable matchup before the play even starts. That’s good coaching and exactly how you play against a veteran QB like Cousins.

Secondary 

When you can rush the passer, the secondary is going to benefit. That’s exactly why the Bears secondary is a considered a dominant one. Don’t get me wrong, they have playmakers. However, the front seven is giving them a lot of opportunities.

Hence, the Eddie Jackson pick-six. Speaking of Jackson, he has to make the Pro Bowl now right? He reminds me of a healthy Mike Brown. Jackson always finds a way to end up with the football and get into the end zone.

One Negative: Roquan Smith 

Rookie LB Roquan Smith is going to be a very good NFL player. Right now though, he is still experiencing some growing pains. That was evident a few times on Sunday night. None bigger than the Stefon Diggs missed tackle.

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Smith has to finish the player there. He doesn’t, and the result is a huge gain by the Vikings that put them into field goal range before half. In the NFL, you cannot assume tackles, that’s exactly what Smith did on this play.

Fangio will be sure Smith never does this again.

Underrated Performance: Danny Trevathan 

Week after week Danny Trevathan gets it done as the Bears’ No. 1 LB. His football instincts are off the charts. He sniffs out a screen on this play below.

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While other players got a lot of plays for their performances in Sunday night’s win, Trevathan’s name will get lost in the shuffle, but it shouldn’t. He is quietly having a great season on the best defense in the NFL.

Follow Nick on Twitter–Featured Photo Credit: AP 

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Nick is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University and passionate about everything Chicago sports (except the Cubs). He has run his own website, been featured on Bleacher Report, and tried to sell his soul on eBay (which he hasn’t gotten back). He hopes to one day see his beloved Bears win the Super Bowl and is still trying to figure out why Jay Cutler gets so much hate.

1 comment on “What Made the Bears Defense So Dominant Against the Vikings?

  1. Tristian Shelley

    Good article. This is the only team that has the exact formula to beat the saints and thats even if its not in Chicago. Personally i think the Rams have a more explosive offense but thats just me. Anyways good running game, QB who is mobile and a playmaker weapons on the outside and a defensive that can force 3 and outs force turnovers and play good red zone defense. Id love to see the Bears get the 1 seed. They’d have to win out and the Saints lose at least twice which given thier schedule is not impossible. With divisional games you never assume anything. The game against the Rams in 3 weeks may determine the 2 seed or more depending on how the Saints are doing

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