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Did Julius Peppers earn his paycheck in Week 14?

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Dec. 13, 2010 @ 3:33 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Bears DE Julius Peppers became one of the league's highest-paid players in the offseason when he reportedly signed a six-year deal worth up to $91.5 million with $42 million guaranteed. Each week we will take a close look at his performance to see if he played up to the high standard that comes with such a lucrative deal.

The Bears did sack Tom Brady three times on Sunday, but Brady had plenty of time to throw for much of the day. It was clear that Peppers and other pass rushers were struggling to get traction on the snow-covered turf, which has to be a concern for the Bears considering at least two of their last three games, and perhaps all three if they play the Vikings at the University of Minnesota's outdoor stadium next week, could be played in similar conditions.

Chicago's cover-2 defense is predicated on the front four getting pressure and forcing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quickly. If the conditions make it difficult for Peppers to avoid slipping and sliding and he has to step softly to avoid losing his balance, the Bears' "D" is probably going to struggle against good offenses.

Peppers had a fine day statistically — six tackles, one sack for a loss of eight yards, two tackles for loss and two pass breakups — but the Bears gave up 33 points before halftime. He may have earned his money, but it didn't make much of a difference in the loss to New England.

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