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Bears Tue Nov 20 2012

Vaunted Bears Defense Gets Exposed

Thumbnail image for GB bears icon.pngIt was a pretty good bet the Bears offense would struggle against the second best defense in the NFL with Jay Cutler sidelined. They didn't let down on that assumption a bit. Nobody predicted, however, that 49ers backup Colin Kaepernick would carve up the Bears defense like a Thanksgiving turkey.

Who should take blame for the utter awfulness that was the Bears defense? Is it Lance Briggs for consistently getting beat by Vernon Davis? Is it Brian Urlacher and every member of the secondary for missing countless tackles? What about the defensive line losing gap integrity and getting wham blocked on nearly every successful running play by the fullbacks and linemen for San Francisco?

It all went wrong. Everything. Alex Smith is one of the highest rated passer in the NFL, and he would've been the best option to pick apart the Bears base defensive sets. Kaepernick getting the starting nod because of Smith's concussion was supposed to be a blessing. The backup has had plenty of snaps this season, but mostly running college and trick formations to confuse defenses and take advantage of his athleticism.

The Bears are typically successful against those mobile quarterbacks. The defensive ends hold containment while also providing pressure, the running game gets stuffed with a safety walking into the box, and the corners play press coverage to force the QB to be accurate more than anything.

Instead of using his legs to succeed like he has all year, Kaepernick surprised the Bears with precision passing and smart gamecalling at the line of scrimmage. He recognized nearly every coverage and blitz the Bears threw at him, and diced up a defense that normally strikes fear into opponents.

If they aren't creating turnovers, they aren't succeeding. The turnovers create points, which turn into leads, which turn offenses one-dimensional, which makes playing defense much easier. If the turnovers aren't forced, then the entire line of succession doesn't happen.

I truly wanted to keep this entirely about the defense, but I can't. J'Marcus Webb and Gabe Carimi are not cut out to play in the NFL. Aldon Smith and Justin Smith made them look like buffoons on a number of occasions last night, and Mike Tice didn't help the situation by leaving them one-on-one with far more talented players throughout the night. In case you were wondering, is still available.

But that was expected. Anybody who thought the offense would successfully block the 49ers for 60 minutes forgot to take their pills this week. It's the defense that needs to show improvement before the Vikings invade Chicago in five days.

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