The individual pass blockers graded out as follows: LT Bushrod -3.2; LG Slauson 1.0; C Garza 1.9; RG Long -2.5; RT Mills -2.2; TE2 Maneri .5; RB Forte .7. As a team, the Bears have earned a -6.7 pass blocking grade which leaves them just 22nd in the league.
Look for the Lions to attack the inexperience of rookies Long and Mills early and often. Suh might be easy to hate given his perceived dirty play, but he has been the best interior defensive lineman in the league through three weeks. The guy is simply beastly with his 10.4 pass rush rating. By comparison, the Bears’ nowinjured Pro Bowler Henry Melton had a -2.1 grade. Scariest of all? Suh lines up at the left defensive tackle position, across from Long, who, as previously mentioned, struggles with pass protection. If that’s not enough, the impressive, but raw, Ziggy Ansah (0.3 rush grade) assumes the position opposite Mills.
The Bears’ could utilize slide protection and keep the serviceable Maneri “in-line” to help their rookies, but the Lions’ will complicate those schemes on the other side. Right defensive end Willie Young owns a 5.8 pass rush grade, good for third in the NFL. Those Bears fans who miss genuine good-guy Idonije should note that Izzie ranks near the bottom of the pack with a -2.3 grade.
The Bears can stymie the Lions’ pass rush in a few of ways. First, Matt Forte needs to establish his physical presence early and often. Second, look for Trestman to dialup draws and screens to lure Suh & Co. upfield before Forte strikes with great short area quickness. Finally, the Bears have to score early and often. The offense will have a much easier day if they can dictate the tempo of the game with designed run plays and short throws. The Bears offensive line could be exposed if they are forced to play “catch-up” throughout the game.
What do you think Bears fans? Which stats will play the most prominent role in Sunday’s crucial NFC North matchup? Let’s see your comments.