Thursday, November 29, 2012
Bears prepare to limit 'Beast Mode'
By Jeff Dickerson
Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch have the Bears' defense preparing for a challenge.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- For all the accolades handed out to rookie Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, the main ingredient of the Seahawks' offense remains running back Marshawn Lynch, who is the NFL's third-leading rusher this season with 1,051 yards.
While Wilson, a third-round pick out of the University of Wisconsin, will likely go down in history as the steal of the 2012 NFL draft, Seattle's commitment to run the football with Lynch is why the Seahawks are in the thick of the NFC wild-card picture at 6-5.
Lynch leads the league with six 100-yard rushing games. Since Week 9 of last season, he is the NFL's top rusher with 1,192 yards on 442 attempts plus 15 touchdowns.
"He's a lot like Adrian Peterson," Bears strongside linebacker Nick Roach said. "He runs hard and is tough to bring down. We need to get a lot of guys to him and make sure we wrap him up."
The Bears' defense got back on track last week in a 28-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, but Peterson did rush for 108 on 18 carries, making him the third tailback in the last four games to top 100 yards against the Bears.
"Every week we face a good back, whether it's Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, Chris Johnson, and [Arian Foster]," Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "[Lynch is] a hard running back to tackle. He likes to get downhill, likes to make guys miss. [He's got] great speed so it's another big challenge for us."
Interestingly, the Seahawks have managed to win two of their last three games in Chicago without Lynch going "Beast Mode" on the Bears.
In their three prior meetings (two regular season, one postseason), the Bears have limited Lynch to only 88 yards on 41 carries, an average of 2.14 yards per carry. Lynch did manage to score three short rushing touchdowns in the three contests, but the 42 yards he gained last December versus the Bears were his second-lowest rushing total over his last 20 games.
So despite the overall outcomes, whatever the Bears did to stop Lynch worked. That means the Bears' defense will no doubt take a similar approach Sunday.
"I think the best tape to prepare of this game is to see what their offensive line is trying to do and how they are trying to attack us," Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said. "We have to get ourselves in position to take Marshawn Lynch down. He's running the ball really well this year, and their offensive scheme is producing. For us, we need to got to be physical, extremely physical."