Trap Game: Looking Ahead?
“It’s way too early for that. We ain’t even thinking about that right now.”
—Bears DE Julius Peppers, when asked about the Super Bowl.
The Bears visit the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Brian Urlacher and crew will be facing a 3rd string QB in Drew Stanton, who’s subbing for the injured Shaun Hill, who’s subbing for Mathew Stafford…who never really recovered from his week-one body shot compliments of one Mr. Julius Peppers.
The Bears are 8-3, the Lions 2-9. Should be an easy win, right?
Yep, I agree.
But while you track how many yards and TDs guys like Cutler and Forte put on the board and how many sacks and turnovers the Bears D forces, I’m going to follow (and take time to appreciate) some of the Bears’ unsung heroes from this surprise, 1st place season. You know, guys like…
Peanut Tillman – Not only is Peanut tied for second on the team with 3 INTs (Chris Harris), he’s 2nd behind only Brian Urlacher in total tackles. Hard to believe he’s in his 8th year, but Tillman is one of the most physical tacklers in the league. True to form, he’s forced 4 fumbles and recovered two others. During the preseason, Bears followers were ready to annoint Zack Bowman the team’s #1 corner, especially after he flip-flopped sides with Tillman. But when the regular season began, it was Peanut whose play allowed him to reclaim that role.
Robbie Gould – The third most accurate kicker in NFL history is up to his old tricks again this year. He’s 18 for 22 on field goals (82% success rate). Every time he trots on the field, I try to stop and appreciate how spoiled we are knowing our kicker is automatic for any attempt less than 50 yards. Gould will hold a home-field advantage against every opposing kicker who enters Soldier Field between now and the playoffs. And should he need to make a big kick in a climate-controlled dome, let’s say…oh…in the ATL next month, he’ll be money.
Chris Harris/Danieal Manning – Besides the Vikings game, I can’t think of another time when the Bears were burned by a deep pass play. Sure, Lovie’s Cover-2 D is predicated on stopping the big play; but you’d expect a busted coverage every once in a while. With Harris and Manning manning the defensive backfield, that hasn’t happened this year. Both players are stout in run support, which has contributed to the Bears lofty second-place league standing in rush defense. The success of Harris and Manning has allowed Lovie to bring Major Wright along slowly, without thrusting the rookie into action before he’s ready.
Earl Bennett – Okay, so he’s becoming more of a household name, especially after last week’s 2-TD game vs. the Eagles. But while Knox and Hester make more of the ESPN-worthy plays, I’ll take me some Bennett any day. Earl reminds me of Tom Waddle – the 5-foot nothing, pasty-white WR who did all the dirty work for Ditka’s offense in the early ‘90s. All Bennett does is make the tough, clutch catches over the middle that turn into first downs. Rarely does he drop a pass. And he’s also played special teams this year, so you know he’s tough.
Frank Omiyale – Poor Frank. Since signing with the Bears in the 2009 offseason, he’s went from left guard, to right tackle, to left tackle. His play of late has kept former first-round tackle, Chris Williams, at left guard. While Frank is still good for a false start and sack allowed per game, he’s settled down to the point where he does more good than bad.
As for the game itself, I’m confident the Bears will put up plenty of points against the Lion’s 25th-ranked defense. And they won’t give up many Lions scores either, considering they’ll be facing a third-string QB making his 2nd career start.
Bears: 30, Lions: 13