Every week in the NFL is a chance for the team to measure itself, and the Bears’ third week will be no different. They’re dealing with a similarly-created Texan, running a defensive scheme out of the same family tree, and wanting to win by following a similar script. On Sunday, the bears have a chance to show that they are far from developed compared to the rebuilding going on in Houston. They also have the opportunity to measure their flexibility for the first time. The Bears are coming off a modest loss at Sunday Night Football, but in the following week of practice, no one from the Bears looked disappointed. Instead, they seem confident that they know where they went wrong, and how to fix their problems. We will now see if they can implement these corrections.
Clean the intervention in the first and second periods
The Packers have made it clear that they will focus on creating their own running game in Week 2, and the Bears still haven’t been able to stop it. They weren’t disciplined in their running bouts, and they didn’t use the proper technique the coaches had been teaching all summer. This allowed Packers to basically do what they wanted in the attack. Texas will come up with a similar plan. Dameon Pierce and Rex Burkhead aren’t Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, but if the Bears don’t clean up their fundamental mistakes from last Sunday, they’ll still have a hard time stopping the Texans duo. And if the Bears can’t stop Pierce and Burkhead, they’ll play directly into the Texas game plan.
Don’t give up running just to increase your passing attempts
Arguably the #1 talking point about the Chicagoland area after the Packers game was Justin Fields’ lack of pass attempts. Fields left Lambeau after only throwing 11 balls, but over the course of the week, the Bears explained that many of the called-up passes turned into runs based on what the Packers defense showed the Bears, or what Fields decided to do with the football. On top of that, the Bears went into the game to plan a ball run, and had the most success when they leaned on David Montgomery. What the bears can’t do now is swerve too much in the other direction in the service of trying to jump to start a scroll attack. Yes, the Bears need fields to throw more for their attack to take the next step, but Montgomery remains the most effective part of their attack and is still worth highlighting. Last week, the Bears walked away from Montgomery in the middle parts of the game, but returned to him in the fourth quarter. If anything, the Bears need to be more consistent about getting the ball for him all day.
Expand the field further
In two weeks, Fields only attempted 11 passes for over 10 yards. He attempted 12 passes that went less than five yards. Nine of those passes weren’t even outside the line of scrimmage. The small number of total plays obviously affects how much deep shots the Bears can take, but as now, defenses shouldn’t feel threatened on big passes. We’ve seen both the 49ers and the Packers stuff the box to try to stop runs, and short throws, and that’s likely to continue until the Bears can prove they can hit blasting passes. Of course, hitting on explosive plays would help them get into the red zone, where they were already effective.
Anticipate the end result
This sounds like a game to get the bears right. They are confident they can correct the mistakes they made in the second week to improve moving forward. This is also a rare week where the Bears can say they have a more talented roster than their opponent, and they should take advantage. I wouldn’t say it would be pretty, but the Bears should get the win.
Bears: 17, Texas: 13
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