Found September 12, 2013 on
The Chicago Bears obviously know that containing Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is a huge key to victory on Sunday afternoon.
Peterson has been pretty darn good against the Bears’ defense since arriving in the NFL in 2007 out of the University of Oklahoma.
The five-time Pro Bowler has rushed 217 times for 1,085 yards and 14 touchdowns for an average of 5.0 yards per carry and 108.5 yards per game in 10 career games against the Bears.
His debut against the Bears was nothing less than incredible. He ran the ball 20 times for 224 yards and three scores. He also returned four kickoffs for 128 yards for a total of 362 yards from scrimmage which was an NFL rookie single game record.
The 28-year old is one of the best athletes you’ll ever see play any sport let alone the game of football. In 2012, He rushed for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns with an average of 131.1 yards per game just eight months after tearing his ACL and MCL in his left knee.
The 2,097 yards on the ground were the second most by a running back in a single season. Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson holds the all-time record with 2,105 rushing yards for the L.A. Rams in 1984.
The Bears’ defense had done a pretty good job at containing Peterson the past couple of seasons. They held him under 100 rushing yards per game in four meetings (2009-11) including games of just 39 and 51 yards on the ground. But he busted out last season running for 262 yards and two touchdowns in two meetings.
Peterson broke loose on the opening play from scrimmage last week against the Detroit Lions to score on a 78-yard touchdown run. However, he gained just 15 yards on 17 carries after that impressive run. He did score another rushing touchdown and added a score through the air.
“He’s in a league of his own — another elite player in this game,” cornerback Charles Tillman said via Chicagobears.com. “He was definitely the MVP for a reason last year. I think our defense will have our hands full, but he’s a guy that makes you play team football.”
The guy is a flat out beast, but the Bears’ defense knows that the Vikings’ offense is very one-dimensional. They will force Christian Ponder to throw all afternoon long. They know it won’t be easy bringing Peterson down, but they are up for the task no matter how many guys it will take to do it.
Ponder has tossed just one touchdown compared to three interceptions in four career games against the Bears. His best stat line against them came in Week 11 last season when he completed 22 of 43 passes for 159 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
So, why not let Ponder throw when you know it will be easy to contain him and his receiving core? Peterson is the main worry for this Bears’ defense.
The Bears’ pass rush was lacking with Pro Bowlers Julius Peppers and Henry Melton pretty much invisible in Week One. Stephen Paea, Corey Wootton and Shea McClellin all played pretty well adding pressure in the backfield throughout the game. The Bears held the Bengals running backs to 63 yards on 21 carries last week. Obviously, Peterson’s numbers should be expected to be much higher than that.
The first level will get its chances to contain Peterson, but the linebackers need to make the stop before Peterson is off for the races. Lance Briggs struggled out of the gate last week at finishing his tackles especially with tight end Jermaine Gresham. James Anderson had an impressive game and D.J. Williams was steady in the middle.
Briggs’ disappointing play against the Bengals worries me a little bit heading into this game. He tried to tackle Gresham towards the top of his body not near his legs or ankles. With Peterson, the Bears have to tackle low or he could do some serious damage. Briggs has to wrap Peterson up.
They can’t over think the play about to be made. They have to stay in their gaps and just do the best that they can or it will be a long day at Soldier Field.
Cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman will see more time closer to the line of scrimmage throughout the afternoon as well as an attempt to contain Peterson. Both veteran corners are very solid tacklers in open space. Tillman has typically been the guy to save the day on a long Peterson run.
It won’t be easy, but the Bears’ defense can handle the task of containing Adrian Peterson. If they can hold him under 100 yards, I don’t see why they can’t improve to 2-0 to start the 2013 NFL season.
Jake Perper is the founder and head writer of Bearsbacker.com. Follow him on Twitter, @Bearsbacker and on Facebook for up to the minute news about the Chicago Bears.
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