After getting gashed against the run the previous two weeks, the Chiefs' run defense fared far better against the Bears on Sunday, limiting them to 87 yards on 26 carries.
Stopping the run won't be any easier this week, however, as the Chiefs go from facing one Pro Bowl-type back — Matt Forte — to another — Minnesota's Adrian Peterson.
“Obviously, Forte is a great back and Adrian is one of the best backs going, ever, probably,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “Very physical, he takes great pride in yards after contact. The speed factor, if he gets to your second or third level, it’s tough — you’re dealing with a guy with breakaway speed.”
Peterson, 30, only played one game last season because of a child-abuse incident, and has not slowed down much, despite being in his ninth NFL season.
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Sutton talked about Peterson — who has rushed for 372 yards on 75 carries (5.0 average) and three touchdowns this season — this week the same way defensive coordinators used to talk about stopping Barry Sanders.
“What you have to do is, one, you have to do a great job of trying to slow him down in the line, not letting him have clean lanes into the second level,” Sutton said. “The thing we’ve talked about is, this guy demands that every player on defense thinks he’s the guy involved in stopping him. As soon as you relax on the back side of the play, if he makes it through that first level and you’re not at full-tilt, you have no chance.”
If the Chiefs, who rank 13th in the NFL with 11 sacks, don't contain to Peterson, it will only open things up for Teddy Bridgewater, their second-year quarterback who has completed 67 percent of his passes for 774 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“I like him, I think he’s a really good operator,” Sutton said. “We’re looking from afar, but he does a great job of taking care of the ball. I don’t think he jeopardizes the football at all, he does a really good job. He has escapability, but I think he’s done a great job of staying in the pocket and playing the play out. I just think the guy is really going to be a really good football player.”