The Bears currently have three ends and one defensive tackle with four or more sacks through eight games. Last year they had four through 16 games, including tackle Amobi Okoye who is now on the bench after being beaten out by Nate Collins.
Defensive end Israel Idonije has four now; he had five all last season. Corey Wootton has four; he had zero in 2011.
This all takes on added significance next Sunday when the Bears face the Houston Texans, who have allowed quarterback Matt Schaub to be sacked just 10 times. Only Eli Manning (eight) has been sacked fewer times among starting quarterbacks.
Defensive tackle Stephen Paea continued his impact playmaking with a half-sack shared with Idonije. Paea also collected two tackles and a quarterback hit, and he has had a sack, tackle for loss, solo tackle or quarterback pressure, sometimes more than one from the group, in every game this season.
Paeas sack gave him 1.5 for the year, serviceable for a nose tackle, while three-technique Henry Melton has 4.5.
Paea collapsed the center of the Tennessee pocket into quarterback Matt Hasselbecks lap but he was more impressed by the outside rush that has gotten steadily stronger. Julius Peppers has 5.5 sacks, Idonije four, Corey Wootton four after one of Hasselbeck on Sunday, and Shea McClellin 2.5.
Our D-ends are just beasts, Paea said, shaking his head. If we can get some push in the middle, we know that those guys are going to drive the quarterback into us and leave him nowhere to go.