Winning in Detroit was a total team effort. Comebacks as big as Sunday over the Lions need a lot of things to go right. Obviously Mitch Trubisky getting hot was the big story, but the Chicago Bears defense deserves props. They did enough when it mattered most to escape with the victory. That being said, it’s likely both players and coaches won’t come out feeling happy about what they saw.

While the pass rush is an area of concern, the greater one might be how porous their run defense was. This was a lingering fear a lot of people had. One that began to grow when star nose tackle Eddie Goldman opted out of playing in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was the lynchpin to their run defense the past several years. Could they somehow replace him?

Not based on the early indications. Despite signing with the Lions just this past week, a 35-year old Adrian Peterson ran over the Bears for 93 yards on just 14 carries. Several of those runs were right up the middle. Goldman’s replacement, Bilal Nichols, seemed unable to plug those lanes with any degree of success.

Now it was his first game and Nichols isn’t used to playing nose tackle. So it might be early to say he can’t do the job. Even so, the warning signs are there.

Chicago Bears defense still has an option out there

What makes this a big concern is the array of running backs the Bears defense will be staring down in the weeks to come. It’s a formidable roster, to say the least.

  • Saquon Barkley
  • Todd Gurley
  • Leonard Fournette
  • Christian McCaffrey

If Peterson can do what he did at his age with limited knowledge of the system? It’s scary to think about what those horses could do. Odds are the Bears will see if Nichols can improve but it’s fair to wonder if his leash just got shorter. Especially when there is a better option still on the market.

Damon Harrison remains a free agent. He’s viewed as one of the best run-stuffing defensive tackles in the league. He even said the Bears were an option in his mind to sign with. All they’d need to do is make a good enough offer.

Time will tell if it comes to that.

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