Robert Quinn sacked Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins twice Monday night to give him 16 sack for the season. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times, Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
With 16 sacks, Robert Quinn is 1.5 sacks away from Richard Dent’s franchise record of 17. Rookie CB Thomas Graham and the Bears’ short-handed defense will be challenged to back up an impressive performance vs. the Vikings.
Bears outside linebacker Robert Quinn is having one of the best pass-rushing seasons in team history. His 16 sacks are just 1.5 sacks shy of Richard Dent’s franchise record of 17.5 set in 1984. Quinn has had a shared sack or more in 11 of his 13 games this season and with two against the Vikings has 10.5 sacks in his last six games.
Quinn will be up against Seahawks veteran left tackle Duane Brown, a four-time Pro Bowler still going pretty strong in his 15th NFL season. But the bigger matchup might be with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, whose escape artistry has frustrated defenders for years.
Wilson has been going against Quinn from their college days, when Quinn sacked Wilson twice in North Carolina’s 28-27 victory over Wilson and North Carolina State in 2009. They also faced each other twice year for six seasons when Quinn was with the Rams.
“Robert Quinn has always been one of the most dominant players in the league,” Wilson said. “He’s a guy that knows how to get to the quarterback, he gets off of the ball extremely well, he has long arms and long legs, he can really maneuver well, but we have a great left tackle in Duane Brown that will try to slow him down. He’s a great football player.”
After holding the Vikings to 193 yards on 61 plays (3.2 avg.) on Monday night in a spirited performance with the entire starting secondary on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Bears’ defense ranks ninth in total yards (326.2 per game) and fourth in passing defense (205.4). They were 15th in yards and 11th in passing defense six games ago. In that same span, though, the Bears have dropped from 20th to 24th in points allowed (24.9 avg.)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Bears rookie cornerback Thomas Graham was a revelation as a spot-starter flexed from the practice squad in his first NFL game last week, with three dazzling pass break-ups against the Vikings. The sixth-round pick from Oregon had spent the season on the practice squad.
The 5-11, 197-pound Graham earned a promotion to the 53-man roster and figures to start against the Seahawks. While last week was valuable experience and a great confidence-booster for Graham, it also provided tape for opponents to see. Graham won’t sneak up on the Seahawks. But he was so good against the Vikings, the Bears are eager to see exactly what they’ve got.
With Justin Fields (ankle) and Andy Dalton (groin) injured, Nick Foles will start at quarterback. This will be his first regular-season game since Week 15 last season, when he threw one pass in a blowout against the Jagaurs. It’ll be his first extensive participation since he started against the Vikings in Week 10 last season, when he suffered a hip injury in a 19-13 loss at Soldier Field.