Bears’ defense getting run over

The Bears traditionally pride themselves on stopping the run, but no more than coach Matt Eberflus does.

Stopping the run was the hallmark of Eberflus’ defenses with the Colts. In his four seasons as defensive coordinator from 2018 to 2021, the Colts ranked eighth, seventh, second and 10th in run defense. In 2020, the 3-0 Bears were averaging 138 rushing yards per game until they ran into Eberflus’ stone wall — only 28 yards on 16 carries (1.8 average) in a 19-11 loss at Soldier Field.

So it’s to Eberflus’ dismay that while the Bears are 11th in the NFL in scoring defense through the first four weeks (19.3 points per game), they’re last in rushing defense (183.3 yards per game). In fact, the 733 rushing yards allowed are the Bears’ most through four games since 1955 (823, 205.8 per game).

“We’re trying to improve every aspect of our football team,” Eberflus said. “Some areas are better than others. The scoring defense is good. And the rushing offense is good. I’ll buy that. But we still have to improve on our entire team.”

Even the best defenses will have uncharacteristic lapses. And in the first year of Eberflus’ system, he expects the Bears to find a groove as the season plays out. But he doesn’t dismiss the notion that it’s an indication this defense isn’t grasping the nuances of his scheme as he would have hoped.

“I think it’s both,”…

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Mark Potash


Mark Potash

Chicago Sun TImes

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Native South Side Chicagoan born under the 49-star flag; Chicago Sun-Times sportswriter since 1987. Mizzou ’81. Niles West ’77. Lincolnwood. Pill Hill ’67.