By Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune –
CHICAGO — With 14 sacks in three games, the Chicago Bears defensive line is starting to look dominant.
It is unlikely anyone in the Rams locker room would quarrel after the Bears took down Sam Bradford six times Sunday.
“They are very good up front,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “Very good.”
Said defensive tackle Henry Melton, “We just teed off today. It was exciting to watch and be a part of.”
The Bears are on pace to have 75 sacks, 42 more than they had a year ago. What is interesting is the sacks are coming from different players every week. It isn’t just the Julius Peppers show.
Melton led the effort against the Colts with two sacks. Peppers put down the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers twice. And Israel Idonije had 2.5 sacks Sunday, his first of the season.
Eight Bears have sacks, including Amobi Okoye, Stephen Paea and Nick Roach, each of whom had their first sacks of the season Sunday.
It truly has been a group effort.
“Our defensive line has played outstanding ball all year and they set the tone today,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said.
A share of their success, at least, must be credited to defensive coordinator and pass rush guru Rod Marinelli. Idonije brought up Marinelli without being asked in the locker room.
“Coach Marinelli does a great job of putting together a plan to have mismatches against our opposition,” Idonije said. “These first few weeks it’s really worked out well. Kudos to him. He lives to be that kind of mastermind to put together that kind of plan for the guys up front and the defense.”
Part of the Bears’ success also is the result of individual determination.
“That’s expected,” Peppers said. “That’s nothing to be patting anybody on the back about. We should be playing like that.”
They especially should be playing like that against teams like the Rams, who were starting four offensive linemen they didn’t think would be starting at the beginning of training camp.
But if the Bears pass rushers play with the same kind of intensity they played with Sunday, they’ll get results against any offensive line.
“They are playing amazing,” safety Major Wright said. “They are getting to the quarterback. They are putting a rush on. They are putting pressure on the quarterback. I am loving the way they are playing. The whole defense is loving the way they are playing.”