By Chris Emma–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Finally, the Bears on Sunday produced the kind of defensive performance they promised.
While it wasn’t the play defensive coordinator Vic Fangio dreams of for his Bears — attacking the quarterback, consistently swarming to the football, dominating the game — it was enough to lead Chicago to a 17-14 victory against Detroit at Soldier Field.
Fangio’s defense kept the Lions offense from finding the end zone and would prove to be the difference in the gamed.
“It was pretty lights-out,” Bears coach John Fox said of the defense.
There were several highlights from the defensive effort. Jacoby Glenn and Deiondre’ Hall nabbed interceptions of Matthew Stafford misfires, while Akiem Hicks finally earned his first sack in a Bears uniform, punishing his way through with a bull rush and mauling Stafford, who finished the game 23-of-36 for 213 yards and a pair of picks.
The Lions’ running game was held to 66 yards, a 3.7-yards-per-carry average. Collectively, the Lions offense managed just 263 net yards — it had entered Sunday averaging 413.7 yards per game, good for third in the NFL.
The play with the biggest impact was linebacker John Timu’s third-quarter, third-down goal-line stand. Timu, who came to the Bears undrafted, managed to jump the snap and hit Lions short-yardage back Zach Zenner in the backfield. It forced a field goal, leaving four points on the field. The Bears would win by three.
The Bears were flying all over the field in an impressive defensive effort.
“If we continue to do that, the sky’s the limit,” Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman said.
Freeman continues to shine in leading the Bears defense. He flies around the field, with those natural instincts allowing him to attack.
Sunday brought strong play around Freeman that led to excitement. The pass rush didn’t get home consistently, but it did enough to keep Stafford uncomfortable in the pocket.
The defensive backfield was steadily in the right position, which allowed the group to thrive with reserves forced to step in. Tracy Porter was held out after injuring his knee, bringing Glenn and Hall in his place. Both intercepted Stafford.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace put together his defense with the hope that a disruptive front seven would create pressure and that the young secondary could hold its own. That’s what came from Sunday’s victory.
It was just one game that followed three shaky performances, but progress was evidnet.
Moving forward from Sunday, the Bears can try to keep improving.
“We can get better,” linebacker Sam Acho said. “But today was a huge step forward.”