Chicago Bears: 3 Keys to a victory over the Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Germain Ifedi
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears offensive line must find a way to free the running backs

When it comes to the Atlanta Falcons defense, running up the middle is not going to be easy. For as bad as the Falcons have been on defense, the run defense has been somewhat average — at least from a yards-allowed perspective. Over the first two games, the Falcons have only allowed 69 rushing yards per game to running backs.

This has something to do with the speed the Falcons have on defense. In Week 1, Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde could only combine for 44 yards (21 & 23). They both averaged less than 3.6 yards per carry. Besides the speed of the Falcons defense, the team has a solid interior defensive lineman in Grady Jarrett.

The Chicago Bears run game has looked very different this year. The interior part of the line with James Daniels, Cody Whitehair and Germain Ifedi has looked solid through the first two weeks. David Montgomery has looked good too despite an injury scare in Week 2. Montgomery has averaged 5.0 yards per carry over the first two weeks. He has averaged 85.5 total yards per game too.

This shows you the Bears are not leaning too heavily on just one back. Montgomery was only in on 45 percent of the Chicago Bears offensive snaps in Week 1. He saw this number increase to 54% in Week 2. Matt Nagy said they might ride a hot hand and well, Montgomery was looking good versus the Giants.

Establishing the run will be very important for the Bears though. The team has converted its scheme to play off of play-action more often this season than they have in prior seasons. Mitch Trubisky has been under center on 65 plays through two weeks this season. Last season he was only under center 18 times at this point. To flip that, Trubisky lined up in shotgun 100 times through the first two weeks last year. This season, he has only been in this formation 59 times.

Another thing to note here is how much more balanced the offense has been this season. The team has run 124 plays. 64 of those plays have been pass plays, whereas 60 of the team’s 124 plays have been run. This is about as balanced as you can get. In 2019, the Chicago Bears passed the ball 77 times while only running the ball 41 times.

There is some upside here though. Although the Falcons have limited running backs to mediocre yardages, the defense has given up an average of two touchdowns per game to the position. Running backs have scored twice on the ground and twice through the air versus Atlanta. This could be a game we see more Tarik Cohen through the air.