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Alan Williams lauds players for defense's about-face

Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams
Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams

After allowing the Vikings to score touchdowns on their first three possessions last Sunday in Minnesota, the Bears defense buckled down, holding Minnesota scoreless on its next four drives.

The about-face was highlighted by a Kindle Vildor interception that set up Cairo Santos' 51-yard field goal, which gave the Bears their first lead of the game at 22-21 early in the fourth quarter.

“I’d like to say I’m a genius and I came up with something great the second half, but I didn’t.” Bears DC Alan Williams

"It's still execution," Williams said. "Running our stunts better. Tackling better. Forcing the football better. One of the things we said, we needed to set edges and stay alive on the back side, and we did that.

"Football is not rocket science. It's still about owning your gaps. It's still about blocking. It's still about tackling. We'd like to say it's doing the ordinary things better than anyone else, and so it was still the ordinary things. I'd like to say I'm a genius and I came up with something great the second half, but I didn't."

When pressed about whether he made any adjustments, Williams conceded that he called more cover-2 looks after Kirk Cousins completed 17 of 17 passes for 176 yards on the Vikings' first three drives, including eight completions for 122 yards to star receiver Justin Jefferson.

"We played a little bit more two-high defense," Williams said. "We took a look at some of the same plays [on the] first three drives and then the last couple of drives before the half and then coming out of halftime, some of the same plays [we] just executed a little bit better. So there were some adjustments, a little bit more of one thing than another, but not any big scheme type of things."

Williams said that he and his players "took a good, long hard look" at tape of the Vikings game, chiefly to correct the mistakes the defense made in allowing Minnesota to score three straight TDs to take a 21-3 lead. 

"They did make some plays, but I still would like to think it's more about us than it is about them," Williams said. "It's still about owning your gap. It's still about reading your keys. It's still about tackling. It's still about doing those types of things more so than it is about them and, you know what, as a coordinator I have to take some ownership of that too. I have to call a better first half to help the guys out. I do believe it's player and coach, coach and player, so it's both."

Sunday wasn't the first time the defense has stumbled out of the gate; the Bears have allowed 11 TDs in the first half this season and only one in the second half. 

"It's my job to get them ready to go early on," Williams said. "It's completely on me. I like to look at the positive parts of it; the second half, that we're playing lights out football. And so we just want to make sure that we can move that second half into the first half, first drive, second drive, second quarter. 

"We'll look and see what we did the second half and the energy that we bring, the tackling, the turnovers, all those things. We want those things to show up in the first half."