The Chicago Bears game plan needs to be doing what the team does best
Anytime a team loses a game as close as the Bears Week One game against the Falcons all of the second thoughts and doubts from the game rush into the front of your head. Was it the line and receivers fault? Could the defense have held longer? Was it what Mike Glennon didn’t do? They all play a factor. However, arguably the biggest factor in the loss could be the gameplan.
Everyone knew coming into the season that the Bears were going to be a run-first team. Whether they were afraid of showing their cards this early, afraid of the Kyle Long injury in the middle or just insecure that they could get enough push-up front, the team did not try to establish the running game at all.
In the first quarter, the Bears ran 12 offensive plays. Just four of them were runs. It is not like they tried, the Falcons stuffed it and they stopped. In fact, Howard had three carries for 14 yards and Cohen had a 15-yard rush. The run game was effective early, but the team continued to pass the ball.
Before the half, when the Bears scored the first touchdown of the season, what led the charge? The run game. The drive was highlighted by a huge Tarik Cohen rush, but the touchdown drive featured seven rushing plays, including a touchdown from the Wildcat formation, a formation we did not see again. The Bears ran the ball 19 times at 6.5 yards per play. Mike Glennon dropped back 44 times and the team averaged four yards per passing play. Taking out sacks, Glennon averaged 5.3 yards per attempt. Running the ball was the most effective, but they thew the ball over twice as often.
The Bears duo of running backs can start to be argued with the best in the league. Mike Glennon may not be the team’s biggest weakness, but he is right up there on the list of players this team has to scheme around. By all accounts, this has to be a team prepared to run the ball as much as possible, and when it does not work they run the ball some more.
Here is to hoping that the Bears recognize this and adjust their game plan. Do the somewhat predictable, but also effective and smart thing. Be a run first football team.