The Bears are #2 this year in rush defense. They've pretty well shut running backs down. But the Dolphins, with a hurt LT and a new starting QB, only ran the ball 4 times in the first half and 7 times overall. They were only down by 6 at the half, so running the ball was an option still, even in the second half. Sure, the run game wasn't working well against that tough D, but they still needed to get more attempts in to keep the D honest.
Having this invaluable knowledge of how poorly the Dolphins game planned against a very good defense, and knowing we play the San Francisco 49ers this weekend with the #10 rush defense, it comes to mind that the Bucs should not abandon the run in this game even if it's not working well. If Blount can't get on track, don't throw the game on Freeman's shoulders unless it's late in the 4th and we need a score to win. Don't let a lack of early success shelve the running game. We need to get at least 25 to 30 carries in this game. If we abandon the run, the defense will pin their ears back and get after Freeman. We'll lose out on the play-action pass, which has been so successful getting Benn and Williams open deep. We'll put a lot of pressure on an O-line that doesn't have a lot of continuity right now.
I don't care if we run 30 times for 65 yards, it's the attempt that keeps the defense honest. So long as the game is not out of hand, the run game is the best way to scratch and fight our way to a win. Under 15 carries and we'll give the game away, we'll let the 49ers know what we're doing each time out, the play-action won't work, and we'll come crawling home with a loss. We've all heard "Learn from your mistakes", but the best advise I ever got was "Why learn from your mistakes when you can learn from someone else's and never make them yourself". Keep running the ball against a good run D and don't make the same mistake the Dolphins made Thursday night.