Bears’ defense does its part; in time, so will Trubisky’s offense
NEW ORLEANS — A year from now, the fumble safety Adrian Amos forced and recovered in the final minutes Sunday against the Saints should be more than a good play in another good day for the Bears’ defense.
It should result in more than four plays for nine yards from the offense.
It should be part of a game-winning sequence for the Bears, given that rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky should improve and that general manager Ryan Pace will surround him with more talent.
‘‘It didn’t result in points,’’ Amos said after the Bears’ 20-12 loss to the Saints at the Superdome. ‘‘I’ve just got to find a way to get up and go.’’
Coach John Fox told his players to leave New Orleans with their heads high. But the general message from the defense was: ‘‘We need to do more.’’
Amos’ comments are an example of the defensive players’ collective mindset. It’s partly why the Bears’ defense has established itself as one of NFL’s best after eight weeks. Its high level of play has been the only consistent aspect of the Bears.
‘‘Just know we’ve got to take games instead of trying to, like, figure it out and let it play out,’’ outside linebacker Pernell McPhee said. ‘‘The defense, we know we’ve got to outplay [opposing] defenses. And the offense, we’ve just got to keep learning every week from experience.’’
When the Saints ran the ball well in the first half, McPhee gathered the defense on the sideline.
‘‘ ‘Just breathe,’ ’’ McPhee said of his message. ‘‘They weren’t doing nothing we didn’t practice. My thing was: ‘Just breathe. We’ve got a great defense. Let’s just slow it down in our heads.’ ’’
The Bears’ defense is playing great. It proved that again by keeping the Saints’ offense under control. Quarterback Drew Brees’ statistics were exceptional — 23-for-28 for 299 yards and a 111.2 passer rating — but the Saints entered the game averaging 28.5 points. Brees also was sacked twice for the first time this season.
‘‘They have a really good defense,’’ Saints coach Sean Payton said.
Without the fumbles that Amos and defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard forced against running back Mark Ingram, Trubisky wouldn’t have had an opportunity to be a hero in the fourth quarter. Amos’ strip gave the Bears, trailing 17-12, the ball with 2:12 left.
‘‘It’s tough to say this in the face of adversity, but I know we have a good team,’’ defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. ‘‘We had too many opportunities to win that we’ve got to close out on.’’
Hicks isn’t talking about the offense, though he has every right to do so. Instead, defensive players prefer to point fingers at themselves.
The defense knows Trubisky tried to beat the Saints in a deafening dome without proven wide receivers and after losing tight end Zach Miller, center Cody Whitehair and right guard Kyle Long to injuries.
The defense bemoaned cornerback Kyle Fuller’s offside penalty on the Saints’ first drive. It resulted in a four-point swing when kicker Will Lutz’s 32-yard field goal turned into running back Alvin Kamara’s eight-yard touchdown run.
Brees also completed a 54-yard pass to receiver Ted Ginn Jr. through the coverage of Fuller and safety Eddie Jackson in the fourth quarter.
Those are the moments that eat at the defense, not Trubisky’s failures. Those are the plays that strengthen its resolve to do more.
‘‘We gave up some leaky stuff,’’ linebacker Danny Trevathan said. ‘‘We just want to keep getting better and give the offense a better chance to win the game and keep putting the ball in [its] hands. All we can do is our job. . . . Our defense loves being out there.’’
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