What We Learned from the Chicago Bears’ Week 11 Win over the Baltimore Ravens
The Chicago Bears came away with their sixth win of the season in a muddy, windy, and wet battle at Soldier Field. Neither the Bears nor the Baltimore Ravens played particularly well in this game, but it was Chicago that was able to get the W. Both teams will look back at this game and learn from their many mistakes. When two teams play as sloppily as these two teams did, it really highlights a lot issues and creates good learning opportunities for these two coaching staffs. Here’s what we learned from the Bears rough win over the Ravens.
In a very sloppy game, the less sloppy team came out on top
Neither team looked very good in this messy game. The weather not only made the field awful, but it greatly hindered both teams’ ability to throw. There were missed tackles and dropped passes galore, but it was the Bears who made fewer mistakes and came out on top. It was a fumbled shotgun snap on third and goal for the Ravens that helped keep them to a field goal. On the drive prior to that, it was a dropped pass on third down that ended a Ravens drive. The Bears made plenty of mistakes themselves, but it was the Ravens who made the most crucial ones, and it was a big reason why the Bears won.
The Bears need Jeremiah Ratliff to come back soon
The Bears really need some help along the interior of the defensive line, and that help will be coming soon in the form of Jeremiah Ratliff. In this game especially, the defensive tackle positions were exploited today. The Ravens were able to run it up the middle for huge gains all day. It was a big reason that Ray Rice was able to run for 131 yards on 25 carries. If not for the excellent play of the defensive ends, the Bears’ defensive line would have been useless. In addition, Stephen Paea would leave the game with a toe injury and not return, so the Bears would become even thinner at the position. Ratliff is expected to be back in time for the Bears’ week 14 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, but they really need him to come back sooner than that. He should be able to provide excellent veteran consistency when healthy.
The Bears have found a nice little gem in David Bass
When David Bass was cut by the Oakland Raiders on October 31st, he had to have wondered just how long his career would last. He would be claimed by the Bears the next day, but he would not see the field until week five. He has improved every game since then, and it finally showed on the stat sheet with his big pick-six in the second quarter. It is apparent that the Bears have been rewarding his performances with steadily increasing playing time. Last week against the Lions, he was in on 65-percent of the defensive snaps, and after his big game today, he will likely see even more next week. Bass is looking smarter and more aware on the field, and that should only bode well for the future.
When Julius Peppers decides to play, he can still be unstoppable
Julius Peppers has been one of the most inconsistent players on the Bears’ defense this season. Some games he has been nonexistent. There have been three games this season where he has not recorded a tackle, and there have only been three games in which he has had more than one tackle. Prior to this game he had only two sacks all season, but today, he showed up to play. He finished with 11 tackles, two sacks, four tackles for losses, and two quarterback hits. He gave Eugene Monroe fits all game and the pressure he applied on Flacco was huge for the defense. If the Bears could get this Peppers to show up every game, their defense would be so much better.
Turnovers will continue to be this defense’s saving grace
Overall, the Bears’ defensive played very poorly in this game. They could not stop Rice and were often torn apart by Flacco. The Ravens’ offense had 14 plays go for 10 or more yards, and six of them went for 15 or more yards. What kept the defense going was the two interceptions of Flacco. The first was the aforementioned pick-six by Bass, in which he tipped the pass, pulled it in, and took it back all alone 24 yards into the endzone. The second was by another rookie, Jon Bostic, who stopped a Ravens drive at midfield and put the Bears in position to get a field goal just before halftime. These two interceptions accounted for 10 points, and they were huge in determining the outcome of this game. They were game-changing plays.