The Chicago Bears defense needs to create big plays in takeaways and sacks
In recent weeks, the Chicago Bears defense has taken great steps forward, especially when factoring in the trade deadline acquisition of Montez Sweat. Over every team's last three games, the Bears rank first in rush defense, tied sixteenth in pass defense, and ninth in total defense.
Statistically speaking, it appears that the Bears' defense has tightened the clamp as of late, although they still need to create more big plays to aid the offense and play complementary football. The easiest way for the defense to help the offense is to create turnovers, an area that the team has struggled in despite its prevalence in head coach Matt Eberflus's "H.I.T.S." principle. Currently, the Bears are in the bottom six of the NFL in terms of turnovers generated and sit dead last in terms of turnover ratio.
The Lions' offense has done well protecting the ball throughout the year and is just one of 11 teams to have 10 or fewer offensive giveaways, but still, opportunities to get the ball back to the offense will present themselves for this Bears defense. Notably, rooking cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, who has six pass deflections so far this year, has come close to snagging his first career interception on several different plays, and could look to make his mark in a talented defensive backfield.
Outside of creating turnovers, the next best thing that the Bears' defense can do is generate pressure in the face of quarterback Jared Goff. Sacks can be insurmountable for any offense's drive, and the Bears can put both their offense and defense in better situations by getting home to the quarterback early and often. Against Detroit, sacks will not come easily, as the Lions possess a star-studded offensive line that has given up just 15 sacks, but still, obvious passing downs should be seen as opportunities to send blitzes or to implement defensive line stunts in order to scheme up a free rusher.
Either way, the Bears will likely not be able to pressure Goff by simply sending four every play, so this week would be a good opportunity for Flus and co. to open up the playbook more, especially as Sweat becomes increasingly comfortable in this team's defensive schemes.