Can the Bears stop stinking against the run? Can we get that message up to Halas Hall? Can they understand it?
Forget the quarterback discussion. The Bears have a quarterback either way. But they have no clue how to stop the run.
Yeah, the Bears mounted a pass rush against the Ravens on Sunday. The defensive line, led by the much-criticized Julius Peppers, gave the Bears a game. Finally.
Left defensive end David Bass turned in a spectacularly athletic play for a pick-6. Cheta Ozougwu executed a sack-strip on a fourth down. Corey Wooton was all over the line and getting his big hand up.
But look, the worst running team in the league just had one of the week’s top rushing performances. Fix this.
Defending the run starts with a one-gap defense playing that one gap. But Jon Bostic and Stephen Paea immediately blew the assignment Sunday.
Two plays into the game, Ray Rice ran 47 yards. This from a guy who came in averaging 36 yards a game. A game, do you hear me?
The Ravens averaged about double that as a team this season. Whether it was injuries or changes on the offensive line, they couldn’t run the ball.
Until they ran into the Bears.
And past the Bears.
The Bears too often appear to be the salve for every team’s run game. Bang, the Ravens ripped off 174 yards on the ground. Rice ran for 131 yards on 25 carries for a startling 5.2 average, almost double his per-carry average this season and now the fourth back in the last five games to rush for 100 yards against the Bears.
And here comes Zac Stacy, the Rams’ 5-foot-8, 224-pound pile of yards who ranks second among rookie rushers. If you’ve never seen Stacy play, the Bears could make you think he’s a combination of Barry Sanders and Jerome Bettis and Someone Overran Another Play.
Oh, and he’ll be on the fast track that is the turf in St. Louis. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
But here’s the thing from Sunday: When the Ravens had second-and-goal at the 2 in the final 30 seconds and looked like they were going to win the game in regulation, James Anderson filled his gap.
The Bears linebacker showed up big as life and forced Rice into a swarm of teammates for a 1-yard loss. Huge play. Huge.
Peppers, Wooton and Chris Conte brought down Rice as he tried to dart left the way he had so often Sunday, but it was Anderson playing his one gap in the one-gap defense that made it work at the last possible moment, it seemed, and the Ravens still haven’t gotten into the end zone.
The Ravens failed on a third-down pass into the end zone and had to settle for a game-tying field goal that forced overtime. We know how that turned out.
So, it isn’t good, but it’s timely. That’s the best you can say about the Bears’ run defense, which beats the usual “Uh-oh.’’Copyright © 2015, RedEye