2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Bears' defense showing signs it's coming together

By ANDREW SELIGMAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-18 16:41

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - Julius Peppers wreaked havoc again.

David Bass and Jonathan Bostic came away with key interceptions, and the Bears' defense continued to show signs that it is coming together despite being ripped apart by injuries.

That was one of the most encouraging developments for Chicago in Sunday's 23-20 overtime victory over Baltimore.

Now, the Bears are once again tied with Detroit for the NFC North lead at 6-4 and right back in the thick of the playoff race after they appeared to be on shaky ground.

They were coming off a loss to the Lions that gave Detroit a two-game sweep and had dropped four of six. Then, they had to wait out about a two-hour rain delay and put in extra time on the way to a much-needed win over the Ravens.

A big chunk of the credit goes to a defense that was ineffective at the start of the season and got hit hard by injuries. But while players have been going down, confidence appears to be on the rise.

''It grows, because I see what we're doing in practice,'' coach Marc Trestman said Monday. ''I see the work that's being put in. I stand behind the defense during their periods and I see the run fits getting better, the communication getting better. I like the fact that our coaches are embracing the development of our young players. We're not spending time thinking about the loss of some of the players that we've lost. We've taken all that energy into building the best defense we can to play good team football.''

The Bears have allowed 20, 21 and 20 points the past three games after allowing 29.4 on average through the first seven, with wins over Green Bay and Baltimore and a loss to Detroit during the stretch.

The Ravens were able to run the ball, with Ray Rice going for 131 yards and a touchdown, but Chicago limited the big plays on the ground after his 47-yard dash early on. The Bears also contained Joe Flacco, holding him to 162 yards while intercepting him twice, and while the weather on a day when storms battered the region played a role, so did a defense that's taken its share of hits this season.

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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