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Bears run defense will be tested by Rams' Todd Gurley

By The Sports Xchange
Bears run defense will be tested by Rams' Todd Gurley
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) goes 8 yards for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints on November 4 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo

Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan wanted to discount the alarming trend facing his team's defense in the wake of Sunday's 30-27 loss to the New York Giants.

So did coach Matt Nagy.

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"Just a little leakage," Trevathan said. "Nothing we can't fix. Just a little leakage.

"We've just got to make the plays when they come our way. We knew what type of offense we were facing, we've just got to make our plays. Our defense is way better than the way we were. We know it."

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Whether they are better or not, it's two straight games when the opponent effectively ran the ball on the Bears in the second half. It's a method for handling the Bears first used by the Miami Dolphins earlier this season in a Bears loss.

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With the Rams and NFL rushing leader Todd Gurley coming to Chicago Sunday night, it's a trend the Bears need to erase.

"It's not a concern," Nagy said. "We have a lot of confidence. Our guys have tons of belief in our system -- I'm talking defensively, too. They have tons of belief in our system."

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Saquon Barkley was the first back ranked among the league's top 12 to face the Chicago defense and his 125 yards on 24 carries showed the Bears they have work to do to prepare for Gurley. The 125 yards was the most the Bears have allowed to any back this season.

"I thought for the most part overall we did a good job shutting down the run, except for a couple big plays," Nagy said. "And those 'except for a couple big plays' can get you."

Barkley's 22-yard run changed momentum and helped the Giants get within 14-10 just before halftime.

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"Well 26 (Barkley) is a good runner and you know he made some nice moves, he ran all over the field," Nagy said. "I felt like our guys know, our guys are going to go back and watch the tape and say man we could have been better there. We could have made some tackles and at least cut it to a seven- or eight-yard gain, right, not a 22-yard gain."

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The Bears had given up 85 yards rushing on 15 attempts to the Lions in the second half on Thanksgiving, as well.

Most of the Bears problems in the running game have been on the offensive side this season as they've struggled for consistency. On Sunday they found some in the first half, but it was fleeting. They finished with 118 yards rushing, the second time in five games they've gone over 100 yards.

Jordan Howard's 68 first-half rushing yards were a good start. But then he had only three second-half carries and Nagy has been taking heat for not giving Howard the ball enough.

"Well, the second half, they had a little plan for him," Nagy said. "And so, I would've loved to be able to call more runs but they did a pretty good job getting into our backfield and stopping the run.

"And then before you know it, we got behind and in overtime we started off with a run and had a nice little run there for six or seven yards. But it's hard when it's second-and-14 after a run call on first-and-10."

The Bears hope to have Mitchell Trubisky back at quarterback for their game with the Rams.

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Nagy said after Sunday's loss that Trubisky remains day to day, and he has improved since he started throwing Friday in practice. Trubisky threw before Sunday's game, as well. But Nagy wouldn't commit Monday to Trubisky's return this week after two missed games.

"I can't say that for sure," Nagy said. "I hope he is, but I feel like the last several days, as I told you (Sunday) was, he's getting better and he's feeling better.

"And so I think it's only fair for today, tomorrow and the next couple of days to go by that we just keep seeing him throw and see how he feels and then he tells us."

--RB Tarik Cohen's 12 receptions on Sunday tied a Bears record for running backs set in 2014 by Matt Forte against Carolina. His 157 receiving yards was a personal high, as well.

--LB Danny Trevathan had eight solo tackles against the Giants, one for a loss.

--QB Chase Daniel was sacked five times by the Giants. Coach Scott Nagy called it all a part of an offense that seemed to be out of sync much of the game. "It's the receivers, it's the quarterback but then there's that protection side, as well," Nagy said. "And so there were some times whether it was vision with Chase or whether it was hard to slide and move to be able to see the guy that he's looking for or was a guy that didn't get open and we didn't have protection. I felt like yesterday it didn't always match up throughout the game together."

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--RB Jordan Howard had 16 carries for 76 yards against the Giants.

--P Pat O'Donnell averaged 50.5 yards on six punts in Sunday's loss to the Giants.

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