The Chicago Bears had a defensive explosion in their Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, accumulating four consecutive turnovers, a defensive score and four sacks.
It was a strong overall performance that saw Roquan Smith, Bilal Nichols, Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn all register sacks, while key players in the secondary, like safety Eddie Jackson and corner Kindle Vildor, showed encouraging signs of improvement after a Week 1 disaster that saw them get shredded by the Los Angeles Rams, 34-14.
After the team’s 20-17 win over the Bengals at Soldier Field, Bears coach Matt Nagy told the media that his defense went into the game motivated in a big way but it’s poor showing the previous week against L.A. — and it certainly showed on the field.
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Nagy Gave Game Ball to 1st Year DC Sean Desai
The Bears didn’t muster much of a pass rush against the Rams, notching just a sack, four QB hits and no tackles for loss. That changed in a big way against Cincinnati, as the defense sacked quarterback Joe Burrow four times while also accumulating six tackles for loss and nine QB hits.
The secondary also showed up, with Jaylon Johnson continuing his stellar play through two weeks, and he had help. Jackson in particular was dragged on social media for his poor effort against Matthew Stafford and the Rams:
As was the rest of the secondary, after giving up touchdowns of 56- and 67-yards:
But Jackson balled out against the Bengals, forcing a fumble and getting into the backfield to stop the run on multiple occasions. Vildor also played well considering this is his first year starting. After the game, Nagy gave the game ball to first-year defensive coordinator Sean Desai.
“What a credit to Coach Desai and the defensive guys that come out here and get four straight turnovers,” Nagy said after the game on September 19. “We talked about the turnover battle, the takeaway battle, winning that 4-1. Getting after Joe Burrow, a great quarterback, affecting him upfront and taking advantage, you know, of these opportunities. When you win the turnover battle, you usually have a great shot to win.”
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Nagy: ‘They Were Not Happy’
The Bears head coach also revealed in his postgame interview that the ‘D’ entered the game against the Bengals with the sour taste of last week’s loss still in its mouth. Nagy said the unit took its shellacking at the hands of the Rams personally:
Those guys, I’m so proud of them. They took it personal. They were a little pissed off about how it went last week. They were not happy about it and when you are a good football player and you get pissed off you usually come back and play pretty well and that’s what they did. The challenge now is to take that into the next week and become that dominant defense they know they can be and we have to do the same thing on offense and special teams and play complimentary. When the coaches on defense work with these guys, they talk to them, they stay positive with them … they challenged them all week long and you saw it in practice when they started swarming and running around. If you do that in practice, you will do that in the game.
Hopefully for the Bears and their fans, the productive practices will continue — but they’ll only be truly productive if the team continues to show up and ball out on game day.