Even with one sack taken away in official league stats, the Bears have reached a tie for the league lead with 14 but see a need to close better.
Bears defensive players saw a chance before the season to return to the playing level they had in 2018 under new defensive coordinator Sean Desai.
So far they’re trending this way, although they’re quick to point out plenty of room exists for improvement. The win over Detroit was typical of the incomplete effort.
“We did an OK job for the most part,” outside linebacker Robert Quinn said. “But they got some big plays at the end of the game, sneaking through.
“But we did a decent enough job for most of the game.”
Giving up two second-half touchdowns irritated the Bears defense. It was a bit similar to their performance against Cincinnati in their other win, but this time never let Detroit get back within one score after taking a big early lead.
The consistency has been present in the pass rush and it’s reflected in 14 sacks, tied for the league lead. It still needs to get better in pass coverage. The run defense was fine most of the season until they wore out at the end of the game with Cleveland and then had to play all but one play without Akiem Hicks due to a groin injury.
“It’s tough when you lose a soldier and a vocal player like Akiem,” Roquan Smith said. “But it’s the next-man-up mentality. I know he will do everything in his power to get himself back.”
The 14 sack they have to date puts them on pace to easily pass their 2018 total of 50, the third-highest total in that season. They added three more on Sunday. They initially had four, and led the league with 15 but one sack was taken away from Trevis Gipson because league stat keepers afterward determined Jared Goff was running and not passing.
“Everyone was trying to disrupt the quarterback and take advantage of the one-on-ones,” Quinn said. “When it was your opportunity, I think guys stepped up. As I was saying earlier, if we can consistently do stuff like that, of course the defense will be unstoppable.
“But it’s the consistency factor that we have to work on, from the first quarter to the end of the fourth, week in and week out. There’s a demand to be excellent. We still have some work to do.”
Quinn has had some sacks taken away and awarded himself this year by stat keepers on review. He added one Sunday and has 4 1/2 for the year after having half of a sack removed following the last game. Khalil Mack has four sacks, and only played 48% of the snaps Sunday due to a foot sprain.
“I guess I’m just playing more consistently,” Quinn said. “Four good games, but I was just saying to someone walking in the tunnel–on to next week.
“I guess being in the League for so long, you have to learn that when the clock strikes zero, you move on to next week. You realize what’s in front of you.”