No group has been hit harder with injuries than the defensive line, which was going against the New York Giants with two undrafted rookie free agents (end David Bass, tackle Zach Minter) and a starting nose tackle (Landon Cohen) signed off the street two weeks ago.
But as mentioned here before, the NFL doesn’t grade on a curve and the overall was not to NFL standards. The line got virtually no pressure on quarterback Eli Manning for the first half despite using myriad rush combinations and got no better in the second. For the game, the defensive line had zero sacks and even zero hits on Manning despite going against a depleted New York offensive line.
In fairness, the Giants were going extensively with max-protect schemes, with seven blockers and just three receivers into the pattern, particularly on third downs. It was something the Giants had not shown on film but the Bears had no answers other than to blitz occasionally.
“They’ve got a lot of good players, just like we do,” said defensive end Julius Peppers.
By the end of the third quarter the defense had allowed New York TD drives of 80, 80 and 91 yards with Manning converting six of nine third downs (seven of 11 for the game) and running back Brandon Jacobs was too often getting to the second level before being slowed.
Some pressures were generated and Shea McClellin was close to getting to Manning in or just outside the end zone on one rush. But the defensive line has combined for no more than one sack in any game this season.
Moon's Grade: F