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Bears defense facing huge challenge against Ryan


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October 16, 2009

Bears defense facing huge challenge against Ryan

By: Larry Mayer | Last Updated: 10/16/2009 5:16 PM


LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Bears defense always focuses on stopping the run first, but that doesn’t mean that containing Matt Ryan will be an afterthought Sunday night in Atlanta.

Adewale Ogunleye pressures Matt Ryan in last season's loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Having watched the Falcons quarterback in person and on tape, the Bears know exactly what they’re up against. Ryan passed for 301 yards in a win over the Bears as a rookie last season and threw for a career-high 329 yards last Sunday in a 45-10 rout of the 49ers.

“He was a great player last year, and just from experience he’s gotten better,” said coach Lovie Smith. “He threw a great ball last year; timing routes against us, made all the right decisions. Again, he was a greater player last year and is a better player this year.”

Ryan ranks sixth in the NFL with a stellar 102.9 passer rating, trailing only veterans Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck. Ryan has been particularly effective at home, leading the Falcons to a 9-1 record at the Georgia Dome in two seasons.

The Bears failed to sack Ryan in last season’s meeting, but they aren’t the only ones who’ve had trouble getting to the quarterback. Ryan hasn’t been sacked in his last three games this season.

“I think they confuse a lot of people with a lot of misdirection and a lot of their formations,” said defensive end Adewale Ogunleye. “I haven’t seen a defense really play them aggressive. I’ve seen a lot of people just sitting back. We’ve got to put our heads down, put our blinders on and focus on our keys, and hopefully that will take us to the ball.”

The Bears are tied for fourth in the NFL with 14 sacks, which is exactly half their total from all of last season. Only the Vikings (18), Broncos (16) and Steelers (15) have more. Ogunleye leads the team with 4½ sacks, followed by fellow defensive end Alex Brown with 2½.

Generating pressure on Ryan will be paramount Sunday night, especially with the weapons the Falcons quarterback has at his disposal. Roddy White caught eight passes for a franchise-record 210 yards and 2 TDs in last Sunday’s win over the 49ers, future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez is the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns among tight ends, and Michael Jenkins showed his big-play ability last season against the Bears with a leaping 26-yard reception that set up the game-winning field goal.

“It doesn’t hurt to have a Hall of Famer that you’re throwing it to,” Smith said. “That combination has worked well. But Roddy White has really picked up his game. They have a lot of different weapons. It’s a big challenge for our defense.”

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Heres a video from there web site also but I dont know how to link it up sorry. <object width="448" height="278"><param name="movie" value="http://www.chicagobears.com/flash/video/bears_5.swf?featureVideo=ondemand/52567/52567/101609GPreview"></param><param'>http://www.chicagobears.com/flash/video/bears_5.swf?featureVideo=ondemand/52567/52567/101609GPreview"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.chicagobears.com/flash/video/bears_5.swf?featureVideo=ondemand/52567/52567/101609GPreview" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="448" height="278"></embed></object>

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