Chicago Bears: 5 Players who need to step up vs Steelers in Week 9

Chicago Bears - Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images
Chicago Bears - Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images /
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Chicago Bears
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Eddie Goldman, Defensive Tackle

The way the Niners gashed the Chicago Bears’ run defense was just embarrassing and indefensible, especially in the second half. The Bears’ defense allowed just 41 rushing yards in the first half. The Niners made an adjustment, though, and ran all over Chicago in the second half.

San Francisco ran for 104 yards in the second half, however. Additionally, they scored on four of their five drives in the second half. Of those, they had three consecutive touchdown drives. The only one in which they didn’t score was when they were in victory formation.

That has to change this week. That starts with the man in the middle, Eddie Goldman.

Goldman is skating on thin ice with the fans. He decided to opt-out of playing the 2020 season. That wasn’t a huge problem since the pandemic was at its highest. What drew the fans’ ire was the “Will he or won’t he play” soap opera he had with the team. At one point everyone felt he would be back and at another, it was a mystery.

Then, when he reported, he didn’t play due to injury. He missed the first three games of the season. Now that he’s back, he hasn’t been the same run destroyer he’s always been. In fact, he barely plays half of the defensive snaps. He did play on 54 percent of the snaps last week, but that is the only week he played more than half of the snaps.

Goldman needs to play up to his standards. He usually does a great job of stuffing the middle of the line, forcing running backs to run towards either Akiem Hicks or Bilal Nichols. that way, the linebackers can also get in and make plays. Without him doing that, opposing teams have run the ball down the Bears’ throats.

Goldman’s presence and ability to take up space also frees up space for his teammates. While linemen are trying to keep him in control, the pass rushers can wreak havoc in the backfield.

The Steelers have Najee Harris, who has 166 touches for 752 yards from scrimmage. He is a big running back who is difficult to bring down. Goldman needs to step up in order for the Bears to improve their shoddy run defense. If he doesn’t, then it’ll be another frustrating game for the defense.