Looking to Week 3: The 3 Keys for a Chicago Bears’ win

Now that some time has passed, I think it’s safe to say: week two versus the Packers was an embarrassing, emotional roller coaster. To my beloved Chicago Bears, you had us on that first drive. Watching the team drive down the field and score so quickly felt surreal. But, of course, in typical Bears’ fashion, good things do not last. Despite the (yet again) lack of passing attack, inadequate pass-protection, and Matt Nagy-Esque play-calling, there were three spots from week two that (if improved upon) could prove to be valuable keys in the Bears’ week three match-up against the Houston Texans.

Number One: Pound the Rock

Where the Bears’ passing attack lacked, their rushing game did its best to pick up the slack. To be specific, the Bears were only able to earn 70 yards through the air (with only 11 passes attempted). On the other hand, the Bears had a combined 203 rushing yards on 38 attempts with one touchdown. Specifically, David Montgomery had 122 yards on 15 carries, Khalil Herbert had 38 yards on four carries, and Justin Fields had 20 yards on the ground and a touchdown on eight carries. Although for whatever reason, the Bears got away from the rushing attack in the second quarter against the Packers, focusing on it in week three could produce a win.

Coming up, the Bears will go against the Houston Texans (0-1-1). In their first two games, the Texans have struggled in defending against the run. In those games, to be exact, the Texans have given up a combined 326 rushing yards and one touchdown on 69 rushing attempts. Based on these numbers, it’s almost as if the Texans are asking the Bears to run the football. The backfield tandem of Montgomery and Herbert combined with the athleticism and speed of Justin Fields should prove to be effective against Houston. It’s football 101, really. If the Bears are able to get the running game going in the same way they did against Green Bay, opportunities in the passing attack will begin to appear as a result as well.

 

Number Two: Sound, Defensive Football

In Monday’s press conference, Coach Eberflus spoke frankly and constructively about the team’s performance against the Packers. In doing so, he doubled down on his “24-hour rule”, stating it applied to losses in the same way it did wins. Eberflus’ verbiage when discussing the team stood out to me, too. In the 14-minute press conference, he used “we” and “us” numerous times while discussing the team. A breath of fresh air when considering some of Nagy’s horrid press conferences.

With that said, the one thing that stood out to me the most profoundly was Eberflus’ thoughts on the defense’s performance, specifically. When asked about the reasoning for the unit’s lackluster performance, Eberflus acknowledged that the team tackling needs improvement and also added “I think our angles have to improve. I think our angles were off. If you watch the tape, we were over-running a little bit, and they were cutting back a bit and getting some hidden yards. I think that happened a few times, and we have to improve on that”. As for most things in football, especially at the professional level, fundamentals need to be sharp. With Eberflus’ extensive experience as a defensive coordinator, I feel confident in seeing this area of the defense improve next week against Houston.

Number Three: Play-calling

To conclude, I think it’s only appropriate to touch on the most blatant key. Some of the play calls in Sunday night’s performance against Green Bay were utterly confusing. In this regime change, I never thought I’d see bubble and slip screens called on 2nd and long ever again. However, this was not the case against the Packers. For far too many times after getting little to no yards (even losing yards) on first downs, the Bears threw screens that ultimately got blown up as well. Is this a pass protection issue or a quarterback issue? I don’t know. Only time will tell. However, I do know that play calls like that need to disappear if the Bears want to win games. And, of course, if the Bears want to win games and score touchdowns, they should never call a QB power out of the shotgun for a 4th and goal on the one-yard line. The fact that I even have to say that is beyond troubling, yet this is the reality we are living in. Anyway, onto week three. Bear down.