MIAMI -- Strange as it may sound, Julius Peppers doesn't worry much about sacks.
"It's still overrated, it's still overrated," Peppers said Thursday night. "It's nice to get a couple [sacks] in a game, but it's even nicer to have that goose-egg out there and get the win with it."
Although the Bears believe Peppers has played well the entire season, the star defensive end came into the Dolphins game with only two sacks on the season. A far cry from the player who recorded six double-digit sack totals in eight years in Carolina.
Peppers, however, eased any concerns by sacking Dolphins quarterback Tyler Thigpen three times in the Bears' 16-0 victory at Sun Life Stadium
This marked the eighth three-sack game in Peppers career, the last time being Nov. 9, 2008 against the Oakland Raiders.
"I feel like I'm doing my part. I feel like I'm helping the cause," Peppers said. "Like I said, this team had great players on it before I got here, so I'm happy with how we are doing. It seems like we are finally gelling and hopefully will continue to get better as the season goes. We're playing together, playing as a team. We are all carrying out our assignments and executing. We count on each other and trust each other. When you do that, it's hard to move the ball on us and score points."
The Bears' prized free-agent acquisition also deflected a Thigpen pass that ended up in the arms of cornerback Charles Tillman and finished the game with three additional quarterback hits.
"You know Peppers is going to get double-teamed and allow other guys on the defensive line to make plays," Bears safety Danieal Manning said. "When he gets singled, you know that ball is coming out quick, so that helps the guys on the back end of the defense. Look, he doesn't just sack the quarterback, he also deflects passes like the one tonight that Tillman caught. Having Peppers really works to our advantage."
"He's such a presence, that some of the stuff he ends up getting done for the rest of the defensive line, it's almost as good as getting the quarterback down," Bears linebacker Nick Roach said.
Perhaps the greatest single benefactor of Peppers' arrival in Chicago is fellow defensive end Israel Idonije. The seven-year veteran entered the season with eight career regular season sacks, but leads the team with five sacks, thanks in large part to one-on-one matchups caused by opponents being forced to double-team Peppers.
"The guy shows night in and night out why he's such an incredible player," Idonije said. "Any night he can take over and they have to throw the entire house at him just to manage him a little bit.
"In this game tonight, he was physically dominant. "