What the Bears saw on videos of the Detroit game shook them. Reggie Bush ran over, around and away from them for 139 yards and a touchdown and still had time to catch four passes for another 34 yards.
But it was the way Bush happened to a defense that was shaky coming into the Lions game and left genuinely reeling after the Lions scored in one form or another on six consecutive possessions.
It didn’t matter that the offense and special teams put the defense in peril with turnovers and poor play. What did matter was how the Lions did what they did against a defense stacked to prevent it.
“Probably the most disappointing part of watching the film was that a lot of their big runs came against eight-man fronts,” said linebacker Lance Briggs. “We weren’t even in Cover 2.
“Missed tackles. Not being in our gaps. That’s it. It’s that simple. When you talk about an eight-man front it means that somebody wasn’t in their gap or something happened for somebody to not be in their gap.”
The Bears spent practice time this week on tackling techniques. Whether it helps will play out on Sunday.
The problem presented by the Saints is that their offense includes smurf (5-6, 130 pounds) running back Darren Sproles, who has more receptions (23) than carries (22), and veteran Pierre Thomas, at 215 pounds an entirely different kind threat to the Bears than Sproles. Thomas has a 4.4-yard career rushing average.
The Bears struggled last week trying to cope with Bush in eight-man fronts but routinely without middle linebacker D.J. Williams because of Detroit personnel packages. The Saints may go precisely the opposite direction and force the Bears into nickel packages before exploiting them.
“It’s not much different from stopping the run out of ‘base’ [defense],” said defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. “Everyone’s got a run responsibility, and a pass responsibility. Read your keys and go.”