LAKE FOREST, In poor health. — The Los Angeles Rams’ file-breaking 54-51 Monday night time victory over the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs was nearly universally hailed as some of the thrilling common-season video games in NFL historical past.
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Nicely, practically everybody appreciated it.
“The rating isn’t what I’d like to see as a connoisseur [of defense],” Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio stated.
“I assumed the 1958 Giants and Colts was the massive recreation. I don’t know. I believe we dwell in such a one-week information cycle in the NFL. Let’s see what occurs subsequent week.”
Forgive Fangio for sounding like a curmudgeon. In an offense-crazed NFL, the 7-three Bears are proof that groups can still win with nice defense.
Chicago leads the league with 97 factors off its NFL-best 27 takeaways. Fangio’s defense additionally ranks No. 1 in interceptions (18), defensive touchdowns (5) and compelled fumbles (16).
The Bears have the league’s greatest turnover ratio at plus-13, and so they hand over the second-fewest yards per play at four.92.
The Bears performed largely sound defense underneath Fangio the previous couple seasons, however they actually flourished after first-12 months head coach Matt Nagy prioritized conserving Fangio in the offseason.
It additionally doesn’t harm that the Bears traded for Khalil Mack, who, regardless of sitting out two video games with an ankle damage, leads the crew with eight sacks and 5 pressured fumbles.
However the record of Bears defenders who’re thriving in 2018 extends past Mack.
Rookie first-spherical choose Roquan Smith, who missed nearly the complete preseason due to a contractual holdout and accidents, is Chicago’s main tackler with 70 stops.
Cornerback Kyle Fuller has 4 interceptions by means of 10 video games.
Second-12 months security Eddie Jackson (three picks) has two defensive touchdowns.
And maybe Chicago’s most dominant defender exterior of Mack has been veteran lineman Akiem Hicks, who obliterated Minnesota’s suspect offensive line Sunday with 5 tackles for loss and one sack. Hicks has a crew-excessive 9 tackles for loss and 11 quarterback hits.
“Akiem has come a great distance,” Fangio stated. “You guys know his historical past. He was in New Orleans for 3 or 4 years and didn’t have a lot success there in any respect and went to New England for half a season and did OK. I believe lots of people had been stunned we signed him, however we noticed one thing in him that we thought we might develop and get him to play properly inside our scheme. And he’s achieved that.
“I believe he did rather a lot for himself to collect offseason honors.”
The Bears haven’t had a defensive participant voted to the Professional Bowl since cornerback Tim Jennings in 2013.
They may find yourself with no less than 4 Professional Bowl defenders off this crew.