Danny Trevathan figured any one of his Bears’ teammates could’ve received the NFC Defensive Player of the Week honor bestowed upon him on Wednesday, which he earned with eight tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble against the Seattle Seahawks. Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Prince Amukamara, whoever — what the Bears did defensively in Monday night’s 24-17 win was a collective effort.
“It could’ve went to any of the guys on defense,” Trevathan said.
The Bears’ defense finished in the top 10 in scoring and yards allowed in 2017 thanks to a collective effort that was similar, but not exactly the same. That team only four three players finish the season with 3 1/2 or more sacks (Akiem Hicks, Leonard Floyd, Pernell McPhee, Lamarr Houston) but finished seventh in the league with 42 sacks.
Through two games in 2018, the Bears lead the NFL with 10 sacks. The collective effort is still there, with seven different players recording a sack so far. What’s different, though, is the Bears now have an elite pass rusher in Mack, which raises the level of that collective play. For example: When Mack makes a play, like a strip-sack, it acts as motivation for the rest of the team.
“Just seeing it happen, you'll want to go out and do it yourself,” outside linebacker Leonard Floyd said. “It definitely motivates the rest of the team to go out and make those types of plays.”
But it’s not just Mack that’s lifting the play of the Bears’ defense. To throw another guy out there: Nose tackle Eddie Goldman’s work soaking up double teams in the interior of the defense, especially on Monday night, was critical in keeping Russell Wilson contained as well as allowing Trevathan to make a number of the plays he did.
“Eddie’s the key,” Trevathan said. “The front seven starts up there and he’s one of the disrupters up there. I just let him work his game and play off him. Half of the time I don’t even get touched, so you know you got a good D-linemen when your linebackers aren’t getting touched and able to make plays.”
What the Bears’ defense did on Monday night — and what they did in the first half of Week 1 — feels like the kind of evolution Vic Fangio’s defense needed to reach the top-five-in-the-league goal that a number of players set prior to the season. The collective mentality is there with a group that has continuity, and then the addition of Mack has brought about a different dimension that can take this defense to that next level.
“We got a lot of hitters on defense,” Trevathan said. “Khalil brings that X-factor, we got a lot of guys there. But it’s all about us working together. You might not get the spotlight, but all really don’t care about that. As long as we get the W, the defense is on top and we’re winning games, we’re having fun, we’re cool with that.”
So with that in mind, is Trevathan going to be the only player to win a defensive player of the week award this year?
"Oh, heck no. Heck no. Heck no," Trevathan said. "We’re looking to get it every week."