Stephen Paea DL CHI 12 Days

Paea notched a season-high five tackles in the Bears' Week 14 loss to the Cowboys.

With interior lineman Jeremiah Ratliff (knee) out of commission and the Cowboys calling 35 run plays on the evening, tackle opportunities were abundant for Paea. The fourth-year player looked poised to land a sizable contract in the offseason, as he's accumulated 26 tackles and six sacks in 13 games.

Stephen Paea DL CHI 26 Days

Paea recorded three tackles -- including two sacks -- in Sunday's win over the Buccaneers.

Plagued by injuries through most of his first few seasons in the NFL, a healthy Paea seems to be in the midst of a career year. His six sacks rank second on the team behind Willie Young and should set him up for a hefty payday when he hits free agency in the offseason.

Stephen Paea DL CHI 2 Months

Paea made two tackles in Sunday's 51-23 loss to the Patriots.

Paea looked like he unlocked a new dimension in his game when he accrued four sacks in his first six games, but he's since shown less activity as a pass rusher. So long as he remains helpful in clogging running lanes for the opposition, the Bears will probably be satisfied with his work, but it will be difficult for Paea to provide much utility as an IDP if he's not getting sacks with any regularity.

Stephen Paea DL CHI 2 Months

Paea recorded his fourth sack of the season in Sunday's win over the Falcons.

With his contract set to expire after the season, Paea has picked the right time to turn in a career-best campaign. Primarily valued for his abilities in snuffing out the run, Paea has unexpectedly evolved into a disruptor in the pocket. A trip to the Pro Bowl could be in store for Paea at season's end.

Stephen Paea DL CHI 3 Months

Paea had four tackles and a sack in Sunday's loss to the Panthers.

With three sacks through the Bears' first five games, Paea has already established a new career-high in the category. It's probably a risky proposition to expect him to maintain this kind of sack production the rest of the way, but he's still on track to turn in the best season of his four-year career.

Stephen Paea DL CHI 3 Months

Paea notched three tackles, including his second sack of the season, in Monday's win over the Jets.

Through three games, Paea is well on his way to surpassing his previous career-high of 2.5 sacks, an unforeseen development for a tackle whose chief responsibility is to clog the middle. Paea isn't necessarily shirking any responsibility in that area, but the added pass rush could give him some utility in IDP leagues that start defensive tackles. In addition to the sack, Paea also defensed a pass and delivered two hits on the quarterback, one of which may have contributed to an errant throw by Geno Smith that resulted in a Kyle Fuller interception.

Stephen Paea DL CHI 3 Months

Paea recorded three tackles in Sunday's season-opening loss to the Bills.

Though healthy after a 2013 campaign where his production took a hit due to injury, Paea didn't exactly clog up the running lanes Sunday, as the Bills scampered for 193 yards on 33 carries. Along with fellow starting tackle Jeremiah Ratliff, Paea will need to tighten things up in the middle if both hope to hold off rookies Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson for starting jobs.

Stephen Paea DL CHI 12 Months

The Bears are in danger of going down as the NFL's worst run defense in more than a half century.

Chicago is allowing 5.40 YPC on the ground with one game left, which is the sixth worst clip in league history. The 1961 Vikings -- their inaugural year -- hold the record for most yards-per-carry permitted. A litany of injuries to the likes of DT Henry Melton and LB Lance Briggs played a big role, but ultimately the Bears need better personnel along their defensive front. They're going to part ways with overpaid RE Julius Peppers in the spring.

Stephen Paea DL CHI Sep 09 '79

Bears DTs Stephen Paea (toe) and Jay Ratliff (groin) both practiced fully on Friday.

They're both listed as questionable, but on track to play against the Vikings. With Paea back and Ratliff added to the mix, Chicago finally has some credibility on the interior defensive line, perhaps allowing them to kick Corey Wootton back out to left end. They're still starting two rookie linebackers.

Stephen Paea DL CHI Sep 02 '79

Bears NT Stephen Paea (toe) has been ruled out for Week 12.

Zac Stacy will be a legit RB1 play against the depleted Bears.