A positive in a brutal loss for the Bears on Sunday was the pass rush, sparked by a defensive line as healthy as it has been in more than a month.
As improved as the unit looked, though, they may have been gassed after playing a season-high 86 snaps.
In his Bears debut, Jeremiah Ratliff played 23 of the 86 snaps, getting in the game for the second defensive series. Stephen Paea, in his return from a toe injury, played 41 snaps.
Julius Peppers (78 snaps) and Corey Wootton (75 snaps) combined for three sacks and three batted passes. Having a higher amount of fresh defensive linemen allowed Mel Tucker to shuffle more often, as Shea McClellin played 62 (72 percent) of the snaps.
“We got a pretty good rotation in there. You saw guys in there fresh,” Wootton said after the game. “We had the most guys we’ve had on the field since I’ve been here. We had nine today. Hopefully we can keep that going.”
The reserves did not need to play as much, with Landon Cohen (22), David Bass (19) and Christian Tupou (16) playing as true backups.
Here are other observations of the snap counts from the Bears’ loss to the Vikings:
• The Bears were mainly in their base defense against the run-first Vikings, with Khaseem Greene playing 57 snaps and nickel corner Isaiah Frey playing 29 snaps. Frey had some nice quarterback pressures, but was beat for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Overall, the third-down defense was very successful, holding the Vikings to 4-for-17.
• In his first start since 2011, filling in for Major Wright, Craig Steltz played every snap and led the team with 12 tackles.
• Jon Bostic, James Anderson, Tim Jennings and Chris Conte also played all 86 snaps. Conte still has yet to miss a snap this season.
• Zack Bowman missed nine snaps, reportedly with cramps late in the game. Sherrick McManis filled in for those plays.
• It was a pass-first day for the Bears, with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery each playing 63 of the 66 snaps, Martellus Bennett playing 58 and Earl Benentt playing 42.
• Matt Forte played 60 of the 66 snaps on another productive day for the Bears’ back, while Michael Bush was on the field for six plays.
• Interestingly against a good Vikings defensive line, the Bears rarely used Eben Britton, whose seven snaps were his fewest of the season. Tony Fiammetta and Dante Rosario each played 13 snaps.
• Rookie Marquess Wilson was on the field for five plays.
• For the 12th game in a row, all five starting offensive linemen played every snap.