As the Bears prepare to face the Patriots this Sunday, there is one thing that they absolutely have to address from their win against the Lions. The Bears tackling was utterly horrendous, especially in the first half. I kept track during the game and I show that they missed 843 tackles in the first half alone. Really, go ahead and count for yourself. Against the Patriots, one half of bad football can put you in a 20 point hole, ask the Jets top ranked defense about that.
The two-play, 91 yard drive to close out the first half by the Lions is a perfect example of what the Bears cannot do against the Patriots. S Chris Harris and CB D.J. Moore got schooled by WR Calvin Johnson, ending in TD. Free points for a Patriots offense that averages a league best 31.6 points per game will spell disaster for the Bears. A cold, slippery field will cause problems, but the Bears have played in these conditions before and they should know what to expect.
The Patriots are not a team with many deep threats but their screens and seven yard underneath routes can lead to big plays. They currently rank fourth in the league in yards after the catch with 1525, led by slot guy Wes Welker, TE Aaron Hernandez and RB Danny Woodhead. Tom Brady is going to hit his receivers but the Bears will need to get to these guys right away and not allow them to run with the ball. The Lions were able to exploit the Bears defense for over 200 yards in the first half on a lot of little dump off passes and runs.
There is no excuse for missing a tackle in the NFL. Bad angles, slips and being overpowered won’t cut it. D.J. Moore, I don’t care how big Calvin Johnson is, grab a leg and hold on for dear life if you have to. You’re part of a team that is known for its hard-nosed, unrelenting defense.
Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli better have a containment plan for the Patriots offense and then the Bears need to execute. Denying teams the big play has worked well all year for the Bears, but this week they are going to have to bump up their efforts another notch. Also, there is no excuse for Lion Stephan Logan’s 60 yard kick return late in the game last Sunday. Special Teams Coach Dave Toub needs to make sure he has guys with speed and tackling ability on the field to stop KR Brandon Tate, who has taken two to the house already this year.
It’s going to be a cold, windy, sloppy game in Chicago this week and the key to stopping the Patriots will be putting them on their backs. Keeping the Patriots short game short and keeping Tom Brady off the field will put control of the game in the hands of the Bears offense and Mike Martz. If the Bears can’t tackle, like they did in the Lions game, big Mike Martz might have to go in on defense just to clog up a few running lanes, and that won’t be good for anyone.
Let’s just hope the game against the Lions was an anomaly and the defense gets back to form in Bears weather on this Sunday. The way I see it, if you tackle a guy on the field of play, he’s not going to score a touchdown. And that’s what’s Drivin’ Deez Nuts this week.