Buffone's Take

The Bears talked a good game when it came to being considered among the best defenses in the game, but when it's come down to execution there's a different story to tell.

Of the six touchdowns the defense has given up this year, the only one to come from inside the red zone is an 18-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer to Chad Johnson.

Meaning if the opposing offense is getting inside the 20 they're not putting the ball in the end zone. All the scores have come through the air from 51, 40, 36, 33, 28 and 18 yards out.

The mistakes have come in the base defense. The cover-2 is designed not to give up big plays as the safeties drop back into coverage and the cornerbacks get a jam on the line of scrimmage and trail them down the field before giving way to the safety.

That's where the problem is coming in. The cornerbacks haven't been putting a hand on the receiver and allowing him to hit safety depth at full speed. Chris Harris made a rookie mistake by not getting over on the eventual game-winning touchdown, but part of the blame has to go on Charles Tillman. He didn't touch Antonio Bryant.

Nathan Vasher completely whiffed on a jam against Johnson that led to an easy touchdown pass.

Although these are correctable mistakes, the fact they've come when the game is on the line is disturbing.

Teams are putting max protect against the Bears and just letting the receiver work his way open. The defense line has not been getting to the quarterback as a result and the majority of the sacks have come from the linebackers, particularly Brian Urlacher.

Since Tillman is not the fastest guy in the world, with time a receiver can get by him. He's been beaten for touchdowns four times already this year.

The defense has played well for vast majority of the season, but that can get erased in a hurry if you give up big plays late. The Bears are not going to be able to overcome much of a deficit, so when they do get a lead the defense has to close the game out.

The Bears can't afford to drop this game. Going 1-4 to start the season means you can put a fork in it because the season's done. The NFC North may be in shambles, but at some point you're going to have to start winning games.

Taking one against a division opponent at home is a must.


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