Bears issue at hand: Part 2

Pretty much everyone around the nation expected to turn on ESPN last Monday and see the halftime score at 20-0. Of course, only the most die-hard, over-the-top Cardinals fans (are there any of those?) would have said it would be Cardinals 20, Bears 0. Over-the-top they may have been, but they'd have been right.

It prompted more than a few comments about Rex Grossman (see of the Issue at Hand) and a few about the defense.

Ohio Joe: "D-Line MUST get pressure on Lienhart, and someone MUST cover Boldin."

Steve in Cali: "A rookie QB is making the Bears defense look like a pee-wee football team."

So why wasn't the D-line burying Matt Leinart's face into the ground while the ball dribbled around the Arizona backfield? At least, why didn't that happen until the fourth quarter? What changed? Was it Mark Anderson's forced fumble at the end of the third quarter, giving the Bears their first touchdown? Or something else?

Jeez, that's a lot of questions. Anyway, here are some answers.

[Note: For those looking for me to fulfill my promise of quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson on Rex Grossman, he eluded my ever-watchful eye off the practice field. Either that or I was talking to Tommie Harris at the time.]

Defensive tackle Tommie Harris: "When a quarterback throws a ball on a three-step drop, or if he's letting the ball go quick, the D-linemen cannot get a penetration on a pass rush. If you're big-on-big, if you leave two [tight ends] in, that means they're only running a two-receiver set. That means you're not getting through there with all those guys staying in to block, so it was very difficult for us get in there. They game-planned us well, they played us well at first, but we found a way to win. This is a chess match, and they got checkmated. How 'bout it?

"Most teams have to go away from their game plan when your offense is up in points, and we didn't get up in points like most of the games this year. We'd been up in points, so teams had to get away from their game plan. They had to panic, they had to try and throw the ball more and get touchdowns. That leaves us with the opportunity of rushing the passer, making them have to go to spread formation, four-receiver sets, leaving only five men in the box to block us."

Head coach Lovie Smith: "I think, No. 1, Arizona played better on the offensive line, we have to give them some credit for what they were able to do. For whatever reason, we didn't get as much pressure, them throwing the ball quick. They had a good game plan as far as that was concerned, that's why we keep harping on our players, telling them to just keep playing hard and eventually, if you keep pounding, good things happen. Mark's play got a little bit of fire into our defense, and we just went from there."

Linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer: "Whenever you're in a spot like that, whether you're the team that's up or that's down, we know they're gonna run the football. If they throw it, we know they're gonna throw boots or slants or quick-gain type passes. We're the kind of defense, even though we're down, when we know a team has to attack us in a certain way, then we're probably gonna be able to deal with it pretty well. So we were getting off the field a lot--I think we had eight three-and-outs, and most of them were in the second half."

Defensive end Alex Brown: "I don't know, Urlacher. He was amazing. Unbelievable. … [Anderson's forced fumble] kind of gave us a spark, but the strip by Urlacher, I think that changed everything and it kind of put them on a 'Here we go again" type of [mindset]."

Defensive tackle Tank Johnson: "We calmed down. We had to get in sync. They were beating us with some of our checks, and we had to get out of those checks and just play basic football. Once we played basic football, it worked out pretty good."

Cornerback Nathan Vasher: "I think we just got into some different fronts that we were running early on, it wasn't working, so we just went to some more basic things as far as just man-to-man everywhere else, giving our defensive line a chance to get 1-on-1s and get some pressure."

Lovie Smith again, on "going back to the base": "Those things sound good, you get some sound bytes sometimes on those things, [but] we always play our base defense. We didn't change anything. We called the same plays, they just seemed to work a little bit better a little bit later on in the football game."

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