It’s frustrating to watch the Bears defense play lights out, but get penalized just because their legal hits are big hits. Seeing a flag after Kyle Fuller leveled a player with shoulder-to-shoulder contact-- exactly how the NFL says they want to see defenders play-- had Bears fans yelling at their TV screens in Week 6.
Pro Football Talk analyst Chris Simms understands, and says if he was a Bears coach he’d tell players like Fuller to play the exact same way.
“Just keep doing what you’re doing,” Simms told NBC Sports Chicago. “The pass interference with the interception, it’s ticky tack… The Bears, they shouldn’t lose confidence. I’m sure that’s something Chuck Pagano, Matt Nagy, they’re telling the defense.
“Do what you do. Continue to do that. Let (the coaches) worry about the refs. If they continue to do that and get into big playoff games, they’ll have better refs, and I don’t worry about it. But yeah, it’s a frustrating thing about football. The rules are so skewed for the offense.”
“The NFL is bullcrap that way right now. If you tackle too hard, they call a penalty on the defense, even though the offense lowers their head and tries to be the problem.”
Simms actually argues that the way officiating has gone, it can actually put players in harm’s way instead of protecting them.
“The quarterback gets to throw the football into triple coverage and kill a receiver, and gets a free 15 yards now. There’s no repercussions for quarterbacks anymore. ‘Ah, the hell with that receiver, let me just throw it in there. Oh, his head got knocked off? So what? Get the paddy wagon out and give him 15 yards.’
“That to me is so wrong, and they’ve taken that aspect away from great defenses in football: to make wide receivers fearful over the middle. Fearful of what now? There’s nothing to be feared of, and I hate football, that they’ve gone that route.”
According to The Football Database, the Bears defense has been one of the most penalized in the NFL. Their eight defensive pass interference penalties rank third in the league, while they’re tied for second in the league with three roughing the passers, and tied for fifth with three unnecessary roughness calls.
But like Simms says, the Bears can’t worry about the flags. They’ve just got to keep lowering their shoulders-- not their heads-- and create turnovers for the offense.
To be fair, the refs got it right in Week 5 when Fuller trucked Ke’Shawn Vaughn to force a fumble. That fumble ended up turning the tide for the Bears in their win against the Bucs.
Hopefully they continue to get it right in the coming weeks.