Chicago Bears

Depth on Bears' D-line takes yet another hit

CHICAGO – At one point during the Bears’ 26-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, David Bass and Landon Cohen both were on the defensive line. Bass never had played in an NFL regular-season game before Sunday, and Cohen was signed nine days earlier.

We might be seeing a lot more of that, as a unit that has struggled to be productive suffered yet another injury.

Nate Collins, who has been starting for Henry Melton, left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter. His left knee buckled awkwardly on a play. He didn’t need to be carted off like Melton, who tore his ACL in Pittsburgh, but his prognosis is unknown.

Stephen Paea didn’t practice all week with a toe injury and was a game-time scratch, thrusting Cohen into the spotlight at the nose. With Corey Wootton helping fill in at the three-technique, that put Bass on the field at the end spot, rotating with Shea McClellin.

Not an ideal scenario for the defensive line.

Bass was claimed off waivers from the Oakland Raiders before the start of the regular season and did show some flashes pressuring Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

"Everybody’s just got to be ready when their number’s called because you really can’t control injuries," Bass said.

He might continue to see more time if Wootton is needed inside, a position Wootton got his most time at in the loss.

“It’s a different game [at three-technique] because everything’s closer, everything’s tighter and you’re getting a lot more double-teams,” he said. “The biggest thing I was trying to do was get penetration in there.”

The pass rush still isn’t getting the job done, and losing Melton cost the Bears an interior rusher. Collins got a sack before his injury, but Wootton might be the next option there to try to push the pocket against opposing quarterbacks. Bass, Cohen and Zach Minter – who dressed but did not play – also will factor in a defensive line that is starting to look very different than what we saw in Week 1.

"We’ve just got have guys get in there and get some experience," Julius Peppers said. "[They're] going to learn on the run. Good thing is that it’s still early in the season and we’ve got a lot of time left and a lot of games to play. We’re going to get it fixed."

Saints blitz Cutler: Three times in the game, the Saints sacked Jay Cutler on blitzes, in which a rusher went seemingly untouched to bring down the Bears’ signal-caller.

“I think they were problematic. We hadn’t really seen them,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said after the game. “… They got to us early, but I was pleased we were able to make adjustments. I would have liked to make them sooner.”

One sack led to a fumble, and the other two came on second downs, forcing the Bears into third-and-long situations, which led to punts.

Quick hits: Tim Jennings went down after making a tackle of Marques Colston in the third quarter. He only missed one play, though. … The Bears’ defense did not force a turnover for the first time since their loss in San Francisco last season, ending a streak of 10 consecutive games. … Tight end Martellus Bennett returned in the same series after getting injured on his awkward flip and fall after a catch. … The Bears recorded eight tackles for loss, led by Lance Briggs’ three.

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