The talk this week – even here at Bears Insider – has been all about improving Chicago’s passing attack. That said, I’d be fine if the Bears rush for 250 yards against the Texans on Sunday and win in a low-scoring affair. The Bears stuck with their running game against the Packers because it was dominating more often than not. David Montgomery rushed for 122 yards on 15 carries, the third most productive game in his four-year NFL career. But Matt Eberflus conceded that his ideal offense is one that mixes it up.
“I just think you need balance,” Eberflus said. “We’d like to be 50/50 in a game that you’re able to do that and we want to have balance for sure because it keeps the defense honest.”
That’s a fantastic sentiment by the first-year head coach, but the best offensive game plan is the one that nets the most yards and scores the most points. If the Bears have to run the ball 50 times to beat Houston, then run the ball 50 times. That’s also the way Luke Getsy sees things.
“I truly believe in evaluating the matchups each week and saying, ‘OK, here’s where we have the advantages. Here’s where our disadvantages are,’ ” Getsy said. “If it’s 50 throws, 50 runs, I don’t really care. It’s about winning. It’s about giving us the best chance to win.”
The best formula for winning in the NFL is taking advantage of what the defense gives you. Chicago will be able to run the ball effectively against Houston on Sunday, and the middle of the field will be wide open for intermediate gains on pass plays. I’d love nothing more than to see Justin Fields flood the zone between the hash marks for 15 and 20-yard gains whenever he airs it out. If the big play is there – yes – take advantage. But based on the coverage schemes Lovie Smith will deploy, the middle of the field will be barren of defenders and tacklers.
Fields practices against the same defense every damn day. If he can’t find its weaknesses and take advantage, it’s going to be a long Sunday for Chicago.
Bears News & Notes
- Starting SAM linebacker Matt Adams (hamstring), tight end Ryan Griffin (Achilles), and backup safety Dane Cruikshank (hamstring) are all unavailable for the Texans game. Jaylon Johnson and Roquan Smith are listed as questionable, and Velus Jones Jr. is doubtful.
- With Adams out and Smith hurting, the Bears have elevated Joe Thomas from the practice squad for linebacker depth.
- Fields is hoping for a “get-right” game against the Texans. For what it’s worth, most believe that he will.
- Patience is still required when evaluating Fields.
- Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet hope to be a bigger part of Chicago’s offensive game plan on Sunday.
- The Bears should be able to run the ball effectively against the left side of Houston’s defense.
- Chicago has put the Green Bay loss behind them and is fully focused on the task at hand.
- Because Dieter Eiselen was not elevated from the practice squad Saturday, expect Lucas Patrick to start at center Sunday. That also means Teven Jenkins will get the bulk of reps at right guard.
- Solidifying the offensive line is one of the keys to helping Chicago improve its passing attack.
- The Pro Football Network ranked the Bears’ offensive line as one of the worst in the NFL.
- Trevis Gipson is driven to show that he can be one of the NFL’s best edge rushers. Gipson has eight quarterback pressures thru two games, tied for send in the NFL.
- Kyler Gordon is struggling so badly that Johnson has yet to be called on to defend a pass. But the Bears are confident that it’s part of the NFL’s learning curve, and that Gordon will improve as the season goes on.
- The Bears are getting a lot more love from analysts this week than they did before traveling to Lambeau Field last Sunday.
There’s a Flag…On the Play
Fields cannot continue to hold the ball this long.
Need to see better processing from Justin Fields this weekend. Progress needs to happen in that department.
He currently has the LONGEST time to throw in the NFL according to NFL Next Gen Stats at 3.26 seconds. pic.twitter.com/4lLCwgeHgb
— Joseph Herff (@JosephHerffNFL) September 23, 2022
- As everyone knows, Smith’s first gig as an NFL head coach was with the Bears, and he is the last coach to take Chicago to the Super Bowl.
- The Texans know they have to stop Montgomery to have any chance at winning in Chicago.
- Running back Dameon Pierce said that in order to beat the Bears, Houston will “have to be the tougher team.”
- It looks like Smith will carry three quarterbacks on the active roster on Sunday. Kyle Allen is slated to back up Texans starting quarterback Davis Mills on Sunday. Jeff Driskel will be Allen’s backup.
- Backup defensive tackle Kurt Hinish has been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Starter Maliek Collins is questionable.
- Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said Houston’s play calling has been subpar so far this season. That’s a pretty bold statement, considering Hamilton calls the plays.
This touchdown pass to Equanimeous St. Brown was slightly outside the hashes. But, I’ll take these types of plays all game long against the Texans if they’re there.
Equanimeous St. Brown puts the @ChicagoBears ahead!
— NFL (@NFL) September 11, 2022
NFL News & Notes
Phil Mushnick of The New York Post is the Debbie Downer of NFL reporting, and this week he takes exception at the league for not marketing itself as wholesome, family entertainment.
Getsy isn’t the only ex-Packer struggling in his new gig. The Broncos have hired an assistant for first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett. Jerry Rosburg will be Denver’s senior assistant, and he’ll help the former Packers’ OC with “game management decisions.”
The NFL has partnered with Apple Music for its Super Bowl Halftime Show. The multi-year deal kicks off with this year’s event in Glendale, AZ on February 12, 2023.
A bottomless draft of beer and a huge breakfast buffet for NFL game day, plus great weather? Take me to Hawaiʻi for Sunday’s Bears-Texans game, please and thank you.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said that PFF grades are basically a bunch of crap, and also intimated that some player agents could be spiffing the creators of the system to the benefit of the players they represent. That’s a strong accusation, but big, if true.
Patrick Mahomes commented about the grading system last week after an interception he threw against the Chargers was overturned by replay. Mahomes’ jokes come a week after he completed 30 of 39 passes for 360 yards and five touchdowns in a victory over the Cardinals. Despite those eye-popping numbers, and more incredible throws from Mahomes in the win, PFF gave Mahomes a grade of 71.5, putting him behind quarterbacks such as Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston and Jalen Hurts on the week.
Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust
- Amon-Ra St. Brown of the Lions is the first wide receiver in NFL history to have six straight games with 8+ receptions with a score in each game.
- In the Bills’ last 20 wins, they’ve beaten all of their opponents by 10 or more points.
- The Texans faced a blitz 32% of the time in Week 2 — highest in NFL.
From the Podium
- “I realized how special it was when I got my first job. What you’re always trying to do though is do well enough. You’re hoping that will allow other men that look like me to get the first chance. Doing something to help somebody that’s coming after you like the people before you did for you.” – L. Smith
- “I have respect for [Lovie]. He’s one of the guys that you would say is from coach Tony Dungy’s tree, and so I kind of have a feel for what he would be, or I think I do, what he would be telling his guys in the meetings and how he wants his guys to play. Love that he’s a head coach in the NFL again. That part of it I’m proud of. Excited for him. But at the end of the day, he’s the opponent across the field and he’s trying to come into our house and take what we have, and so with that in mind, we’re going to do everything that we can to make sure that he goes away with a frown on his face.” – Alan Williams
- “We need to highlight our skill. We know that. So we’re going to try to do a better job of that. We will do a better job.” – Eberflus
- “You don’t think there [are] agents out here paying these scouts to give higher grades so their players can make more money when it comes down to the bargaining? You don’t think there [are] agents out here trying to slither their way into a few extra [bucks]?” – Kelce
Running Out the Clock
It’s time to get back in the win column.