The Chicago Bears defense needs to continue to make big plays
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears have rightfully garnered a reputation as one of the league's top units, but they need to continue to make game-changing plays, including sacks and turnovers.
In terms of rushing the passer, the Bears have improved tremendously since the beginning of the year, thanks in large part to the addition of defensive end Montez Sweat, who is now leading both the Bears and the Washington Commanders in sacks for this season. Over the last two weeks, the Bears are tied for fifth across the league with eight sacks, a far cry from their league-worst 17 sacks over the first 13 weeks of the season.
Notably, the Bears have been blitzing more and more ever since Eberflus took over play-calling duties for the defense. A defense as talented as the Bears with an attacking mentality can be dangerous, but it is still important to be sound in key situational moments. Last week featured an example of a failure in a key moment, where the Bears brought the blitz on a third down in the fourth quarter, which resulted in defensive tackle Justin Jones covering tight end David Njoku, who was able to convert a key first down in the Browns' comeback. Playing good situational football and knowing when to blitz and when not to are key components to having a productive pass rush.
Generating pressure on the quarterback is important for this defense, but how they impact the game is by turnovers. The Bears are ranked second in the NFL in interceptions with 18 and have forced 23 total turnovers, the second-highest mark in the NFC. The Bears' back seven appears to be perhaps one of the best in the NFL, and continuing to make game-changing plays will only make their job easier down the stretch. The Bears want to win with complementary football, and having a defense that gets the ball back quickly to their offense can help accomplish that goal easily.