D-line delivers for Bears

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach
    DBS Writer

    Mar 29, 2009
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    Bass returns interception for TD; Peppers has career-high 11 tackles, 2 sacks

    By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter

    9:08 p.m. CST, November 17, 2013

    Kyle Long walked past David Bass, the last player in his uniform Sunday night at Soldier Field, and slapped the defensive end on the butt hard enough you could hear it at the other end of the locker room.

    The sting could not have lasted long for Bass, not after his 24-yard interception return helped jump-start the Bears following a 1-hour, 53-minute weather delay.

    On a bizarre and sometimes eerie day, the Bears hung on to nip the Ravens 23-20 in overtime, vaulting them back into a first-place tie atop the NFC North with the Lions at 6-4. They got just enough plays from the defensive line, the position that has practiced the "next man up" slogan more than any other, to hold on for a gritty victory.

    Julius Peppers, maligned for much of the season, was credited with a career-high 11 tackles and two sacks, doubling his production from the first nine games. He was also credited with four tackles for loss. Cheta Ozougwu, promoted from the practice squad Saturday, had a sack/strip to stop the Ravens' first drive of the third quarter.

    The defense was without starting end Shea McClellin and tackle Stephen Paea was knocked out with a recurring turf toe injury. Tackles Henry Melton and Nate Collins are on injured reserve.

    The 33-year-old Peppers has been an enigma. He was singled out in the spring for his commitment to the new coaching staff for the hustle he was showing on the practice field, chasing down plays from sideline to sideline. He missed time in preseason with a minor hamstring injury and conjecture was it was to blame for a slow start. But that turned into a first half of disappointment with few impact plays, fueling speculation the Bears will release him after the season rather than pay him $14 million in 2014.

    "The good thing is that I don't hear that stuff because I don't listen to it," Peppers said. "I try as best as possible to block that stuff out. I don't hear it so it doesn't affect me.

    "Of course, (I know) it is out there. This is not my first time doing it either. I have had times where people have been on my case about sack numbers and this and that. It's just one of those things, you kind of get used to it."

    Peppers' career was at a low point in 2007 when he had just 2½ sacks. He said the scrutiny he faced in his home state with the Panthers made that more challenging than anything he has encountered.

    "There were a lot of things going on that season that I chose not to discuss," Peppers said. "This season isn't even the same thing. This is totally different."

    The thing that is of concern for the Bears is Peppers isn't 28 anymore. That is how old he was when he bounced back from that rough year with 14½ sacks in 2008 and 10½ the year after that to pave the way for his $84 million, six-year contract in free agency.

    He has aged and the concern is a player that played in spurts before couldn't turn it on anymore. But in this game he looked like he was worth every bit of his pay.

    Peppers, Corey Wootton and Chris Conte combined to stack up Ravens running back Ray Rice up for a 1-yard loss on second-and-goal from the 2 at the end of the fourth quarter. The goal-line stand forced overtime after the Ravens settled for a field goal after methodically marching downfield.

    "It was huge because in the games prior we didn't make the stand when we needed to," Wootton said. "Washington, the game was in our hands and they scored on us."

    Bass has seen extended playing time the last two weeks with McClellin sidelined by a pulled hamstring. He could continue to play a lot if Wootton is needed inside again. Paea left the stadium in a walking boot.

    The Bears claimed Bass, a seventh-round pick from Missouri Western State, off waivers from the Raiders after final cuts. They viewed him as a bigger, stronger version of Ozougwu, who was cut to make room for the newcomer. Bass was a two-time Division II All-American and had 40½ sacks in school. But he's raw against skilled NFL offensive tackles.

    He read the play fake on his interception, avoided a cut block from Rice, and deflected the pass to himself.

    "We always say, 'affect the throw,' " Bass said. "That was huge there.

    "When you make a play like that, it allows you to relax and feel good about yourself."

    Rice's 131 yards made him the fourth back in the last five games to top 100 against the Bears. But when it was over, the line made enough plays to feel good.

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  2. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris DaBears Ditka

    Apr 27, 2007
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    EDIT: If you watch this enough, you get to see Bass pass Night Train Lane for most INT's by a rookie.
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  3. riczaj01

    riczaj01 George Halas
    Member of the Month DBS Writer

    Nov 4, 2006
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    Birthday CakeBandaid
    It sucks that we now have lost all of our starting interior DL, but the DE's came to life this week, hope we can see more of this in weeks to come b/c the DB's REALLY need them to be a force.
  4. mdbearz

    mdbearz Pro-Bowler

    Jul 29, 2013
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    Casey Hampton......just saying
  5. omc1969

    omc1969 Veteran

    Jul 30, 2013
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    Bout Time !

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