MONSTER’S MASH: The Bears’ defense has something to prove, too

LONDON, ENG - OCTOBER 06: Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver Trevor Davis (11) is brought down by the Chicago Bears defense during the game between the Chicago Bears and the Oakland Raiders on October 6th, 2019 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England. (Photo by Martin Leitch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

LAKE FOREST – For the first four games of the 2019 season, there really wasn’t much to complain about when it came to the defensive side of the ball for the Bears.

They might not have had as many turnovers as they would have liked in the first two games, but they’d done the majority of the work for the team in their 3-1 start to the season. But the loss in London stung the group a bit, considering they struggled to stop to the Raiders at times and finally yielded significant yardage on the ground.

Oakland got 169 yards rushing and jumped out to a 17-0 lead,  then they got another score on a long drive in the fourth quarter to get them the win. It was a bad feeling for a prideful defensive unit to hold onto through the bye week, and while they enjoyed the break, they’re eager for a little redemption against the Saints Sunday.

“That loss we had in Oakland with not us,” said safety Ha Ha Clinton of the loss to the Raiders. “We’ve had a chip on our shoulder this entire bye week just thinking about – it was awesome to get away, get back to Florida for myself, just to reset. Get some sun, because it’s freezing here now if you haven’t noticed, and just to reset.

“Our mindset is still the same, that’s to be dominant on defense. Let’s create turnovers, capitalized, and get off the field on third down. That’s the emphasis this week.”

THE LEGEND OF THE “CHUCK BUCKS”

During his interview session, Clinton-Dix showed off a $100 dollar bill that featured the face of defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.

They’re called “Chuck Bucks,” and the assistant acknowledged their existence during his Thursday news conference. He said that he started them a long time ago, joking that he “can’t give out real money,” yet wasn’t willing to divulge what this cash was handed out for to his defenders.

“I just can’t give you that secret,” said Pagano with a grin on his face. “I’d be telling too much.”

THE MATCH-UP TO WATCH ON THE OUTSIDE

If there is one player that has lived up to his expectations on the offense, it’s the team’s No. 1 wide receiver.

Allen Robinson has played well in his second season with the Bears, making 31 catches for 377 yards and two touchdowns, both against the Raiders on October 6th. He’s made some impressive receptions with his leaping and diving ability and has kept a number of drives alive with his catches.

Robinson’s reception in the final seconds against the Broncos got the Bears in range for Eddy Pineiro’s game-winning field goal.

This week he’ll face one of his biggest challenges of the season – a match-up against Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore. He’s got six pass break-ups this season in six games along with an interception while making 31 tackles, making him a major part of New Orleans’ pass defense, which currently is allowing 237.7 yards per game.

“He’s an athletic dude, and again, he’s a bigger corner to have an athletic skillset like that,” said Robinson of Lattimore.

So what is it that makes the cornerback so effective?

“He’s just trying to win at the starting point. He trusts his technique, he trusts how he plays,” said Robinson of Lattimore.

STAT OF THE WEEK – 4

The last two streaks for the Bears and the Saints in the series. New Orleans has won the last four games against Chicago, winning in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2017.

Before that, the Bears had beaten the Saints four-straight times, doing so in 2005, NFC Championship in January 2007 then in the following regular season, and 2008.

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