The Bears opening week game against the Colts was a strong opening week performance with the defense only allowing 14 points to Andrew Luck and the Colts. Henry Melton had a big game, Tim Jennings had arguably the best game of his career and it all led to a big Bears win.
With the release of the coaches tape I wanted to go over some of the plays that stood out for the defense in this game, and I have to say it's hard to narrow it down. The defense is extremely active up front with the defensive tackles and defensive ends. The Bears' front seven is probably the fastest front four in the NFL and it really stands out on tape.
The Bears can afford to be super aggressive because their front seven is so disciplined in this defense. That is the key to the Bears defense, play fast and play disciplined.
The Bears second drive on defense really set the tone for the entire game. The Colts struggled to block the Bears up front and the defense didn't sit in Cover-2. Major Wright was up in the box a lot and the Bears seemed to dare Andrew Luck to throw the football.
When Luck did drop back he faced a lot of pressure, pressure created by the presence of Julius Peppers. The Colts elected to double team Peppers, and then when they switched the double team to Henry Melton, Peppers flushed Luck from the pocket.
Luck was under pressure from the Bears front four on a vast majority of his drop backs in the first half. When the Colts would focus on Peppers, Melton would make a play, and then when Melton would get the focus Peppers would get a QB hit.
The front four was absolutely dominating in the first quarter, with the only blemishes two runs from Donald Brown. The first run you can reasonably conclude was sprung because Peppers was grabbed and turned and that a holding call was missed. He was in position to make the play and then the pulling offensive linemen grabbed his shoulder bad and twisted him out of the hole.
On the other Donald Brown run, Urlacher simply over pursues and leaves the back side gap wide open. Brown being an NFL capable runner cuts right back into the hole that Urlacher leaves and scampers ahead for the touchdown.
Also of note the Bears played a lot of Man-1 in the first half, rarely did they go Cover-2 against Andrew Luck. There were instances of it, but they primarily had Major Wright up in the box with Chris Conte as the single high safety. They relied on their front four to get the pressure necessary for them to play man to man.
Throughout the rest of the first half the Bears front seven is their typical dominant self and they should be even better once Okoye and Collins join the rotation.
Corey Wootton plays a lot more in the second half and gets a forced fumble, sack and a solid hit on Luck.
Stephen Paea plays well and Matt Toeaina plays better than he has in the preseason. What emerges as a thorn in the side of the Bears is Coby Fleener at TE who does most of his damage in the second half. The rookie TE winds up with six catches for 82 yards.
The Bears on defense played at a high level in the Colts game. The front four was pretty consistent with its pressure up until late in the game.
There in lies the problem if the Bears are in a close game with the Packers, they'll need a pass rush late. The key to this late pass rush will come from added depth at the DT position from Okoye and Collins, but the DEs need to generate more pressure.
While Corey Wootton played okay, his pressure the QB was not consistent enough to give Peppers a long enough rest. Further highlighting the problem in this game was Shea McClellin's extreme lack of pressure other than just one or two plays. McClellin was overall pretty ineffective, as he has been throughout most of the preseason after turning heads in the first game against the Bills.