After a three-interception, four-sack performance from the Bears defense on Sunday in a 41-9 blowout of the Bills, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had plenty to be happy about.
But the always even-keeled coach didn’t get too high on his unit’s play on Monday night while speaking on the Bears Coaches Show with Jeff Joniak.
“The last couple of weeks have been better obviously than the two weeks prior to that,” Fangio said. “We’ve done a pretty good job overall of not giving up the big play. We’ve done a nice job of playing the run.”
The coach isn’t wrong, only a bit understated.
Chicago dominated in the trenches, giving up just 97 rushing yards to Buffalo, and the secondary had a huge day, allowing just 189 yards on 31 completions.
The unit also bounced back in a big way from its win over the Jets the previous week in which it didn’t tally a takeaway for the first time this season. The Bears got four of them on Sunday with everyone pitching in.
Safety Eddie Jackson got the first, picking up a fumble and going the other way for a 65-yard score. Then the Bears defense started picking it off through the air.
On the next drive, cornerback Kyle Fuller knocked the ball out of the hands of a Bills receiver, and safety Adrian Amos Jr. swooped in for the tipped interception.
Later in the second quarter it was nearly déjà vu. Fuller lit up another would-be Bills receiver, and linebacker Leonard Floyd grabbed the deflection and went the other way for the pick-six score.
Fuller finally got some of the payoff himself in the third quarter when he dove in front of his man for a pick of his own — his fourth of the year, tied for most in the league.
The Bears’ 14 picks this season are second most in the league, but they’re doing it by committee and lead the league with 10 different players having recorded an interception this year.
“We’ve had a lot of guys get them which is good,” Fangio said. “I think they all feel like they can. You know, once you get one then you know you get two. You get two then you know you can get your third. And I think it can becomes a little bit contagious.”
The Bears depth has been crucial to their defensive success. Twelve different players have recorded at least one sack this year with Amos and linebacker Isaiah Irving getting their first ones of the year Sunday.
Fangio thinks part of the key has been the team’s chemistry this year and sees it only getting better as the team moves forward.
“We’ve had these guys last year and now they’ve played another half of a season together,” Fangio said. “They get to know each other and play off each other, communicate easier have confidence in each other, can communicate without being verbal, just by looking at each other, make a signal or a look, so all of those little things add up.”