CHICAGO -- Even without starting nickel back D.J. Moore, the Chicago Bears secondary showcased its depth Sunday as no fewer than seven defensive backs saw action in a 31-20 win over the San Diego Chargers.
Besides the four usual starters, reserves Corey Graham, who started in place of Moore at nickel, Brandon Meriweather and Zack Bowman were all used in various situations to help combat the Chargers’ passing attack, which entered the game ranked No. 4 in the NFL.
"The secondary is real deep," Tim Jennings said. "We got guys that can start anywhere in this league. We got confidence in each and every guy. The coaching staff is going to put us in great positions. Doesn't matter what personnel, who is in there, we believe in each guy that goes in there and know he is going to play his behind off. We feel really comfortable about it."
Moore was in good spirits outside the locker room following the game and appeared to be moving around OK on his injured ankle, raising the hope he can make a speedy recovery, but the defense didn't skip a beat with Graham at the nickel position. The special teams standout intercepted Phillip Rivers late in the game, his second pick in the last two weeks while subbing for Moore.
"We have as just as much confidence in Corey as we do in D.J," Jennings said. "We knew in training camp he was a good cornerback/nickel back. We knew he can do it all. He's got two turnovers in two games, that says a lot about him. He did great."
The same could be said for second-year safety Major Wright, who has now intercepted a pass in three consecutive games, with two of the thefts occurring in the red zone. Wright is the first Bears player to pull off that feat since Bowman nabbed three passes in three straight games back in 2009.
"It was time for somebody to make a play, and I was the one that did it," Wright said. "We're out there having fun, that's really it. We basically had to come in after the first half and get back to playing defense. That's what we do, create turnovers and get after the quarterback. Really, at any point, anybody can make a play on this defense."
Bears safeties have now recorded a turnover in each of the last four contests.
Bowman entered the game Sunday whenever the Chargers placed wideout Vincent Jackson and tight end Antonio Gates on the field at the same time. The Bears used this 'TANK' personnel to try and combat a potential height mismatch if Jennings were forced to guard either of the two San Diego offensive threats.
"We prepped during the week for that," Jennings said. "It worked OK, they really didn't get many big plays off it. It was just a matchup thing."