LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- There was no defense for the modest pass rush generated by the Chicago Bears in Sunday's 24-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, coach Marc Trestman said.
The strength of this Bears team throughout offseason buildup, training camp and preseason games was expected to be the pass rush with designated franchise defensive tackle Henry Melton and veteran defensive end Julius Peppers. Yet the Bears achieved only one sack and one hit on Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, both coming from defensive end Shea McClellin.
"We've got to get more pressure with the four-man rush," Trestman said.
The Bears secondary got shredded by Dalton in the first half for 189 yards passing and by receiver A.J. Green with five catches for 189 yards. For the game, the Bengals managed a 64 percent third-down conversion rate (7-of-11).
Typically, the cover-2 pass coverage has prevented these types of numbers in the past. Although the coaching staff changed, the Bears employ the same coverage tactics, and the coverage seemed solid or excellent at times as the cornerbacks forced two fumbles, recovered one and intercepted two.
"I think the biggest thing is that when you go to single coverage you've got to be able to get there with four or five (pass rushers) and we didn't do that yesterday and that made it more difficult," Trestman said, adding, "And you can't cover without a rush and we didn't rush the way we're capable of, and I think we'll do a better job this time around."
Peppers often gets double-teamed, but not a lot of that occurred. It was even stranger to see him reduced to a non-factor when he was playing against a backup. Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth was out due to a knee injury and backup Anthony Collins hadn't played left tackle since 2009, although he started games at right tackle in 2011.
Both Melton and Peppers had some extenuating circumstances which could have led to their lack of production against the Bengals. Melton was playing a game for the first time since his concussion in mid-August. Peppers went through much of the last three weeks of preseason practicing sporadically due to a pulled hamstring.
Still, Melton felt fine during the week and Peppers hasn't missed practice time since prior to the second preseason game.
The Bears were willing to chalk this up largely to tactics employed by the Bengals. It's possible Bears defenders will face a lot of the same tactics in the future that Cincinnati employed against them to keep the pass rush in check.
"On our end, he (Andy Dalton) was throwing it quick," said defensive end Shea McCellin, who had the only Chicago sack against the Bengals. "It's hard to get pressure. You just can't get frustrated and keep rushing."