Bear Necessities: Do the Bears stand a chance against Kansas City?
Well, I'm 0 for two thus far... but at least I'm not alone. The Bears are right there with me. Their inability to win in crucial aspects of the game is a major reason they find themselves in the precarious position they do. They have only accomplished one of the six Bear Necessities I've outlined through two games, which has been a vital factor in why they are winless thus far (on top of many others). While it was nice to see them finally introduce DJ Moore to Justin Fields against the Bucs, they struggled in virtually every other aspect of the game.
'Fire Luke Getsy' looks more and more like it needs to be a staple on these articles with each passing week, as Chicago's offensive game plan has been incomprehensible through two games. Calling back-to-back screen plays in the shadow of your own goal line is downright coaching malpractice, and the Bears paid for it dearly, allowing Tampa Bay to cash in a game-sealing pick-six. Unfortunately, after one of the most tumultuous Week Twos (and wacky Wednesdays) in league history, things don't look like they will be getting better anytime soon, especially with a matchup against Kansas City up next.
Let Justin Fields be Justin Fields.
Justin Fields is not a pocket passer. He led all quarterbacks with 1143 yards on the ground last year. One would think that would make his running ability a linchpin of Chicago's offensive attack. A foundation to build on. Luke Getsy, however, has encouraged him to play the role of a game manager, keeping him in the pocket and emphasizing the importance of taking check-downs (despite the talented players Chicago added on the perimeter). The Bears have also only called four designed QB runs through two games, completely going away from the only dynamic aspect of their offense last season.
It would not be fair to put all of the Bears' offensive struggles on Getsy's shoulders. Fields also deserves criticism for his inability to process the field (no pun intended). The sub-par offensive line in front of him does him no favors, but his internal clock should be better than it has been in year three. He needs to start playing free again (which he acknowledged earlier this week), and he needs to know when to get the ball out. However, Getsy could (and should) put him in a better position by allowing him to do what he does best- get him out of the pocket and use his legs.
Fields is not a fuel-efficient smart car. He's a Maserati. The Bears need to start using like one.
Establish. The. Run.
Khalil Herbert averaged five yards per carry last week. He had only seven attempts. Roschon Johnson averaged eight yards per carry. He carried it only four times. The formula to come away with a win was obvious, but Getsy ignored it. Instead, they opted to throw screens and other quick-hitting pass plays that already proved ineffective the week prior. Johnson, specifically, has earned more touches, as he has been a bright spot on an otherwise abysmal offense through the first two weeks, and they would be wise to commit to the ground attack with the rookie going forward.
They must keep Kansas City's defense honest and establish the run to have a remote chance to win in Arrowhead. Doing so would not only widen throwing lanes, but it would also keep the Chiefs' explosive offense on the sidelines, limiting their ability to find their rhythm. This task will be easier said than done, as the Chiefs' run defense has been stout through the first two games. However, the Bears ground attack proved to be matchup-proof last year, and they could reach that status again if Fields finds his confidence.
I could talk about Chicago's inability to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. I could talk about their struggles to get off the field in crucial third-down situations and how important it will be to do so against the league's premier signal-caller. I could also emphasize the importance of takeaways and mention how Kansas City's offense has played uncharacteristically sloppy football through two games, turning it over four times. However, at this moment, with this team, praying the Chiefs are off their game feels more apt than anything else.
Simply nothing has gone right for Chicago this season, and the wheels appear to be falling off in record time. Things are all but guaranteed to go from bad to worse this week, as Patrick Mahomes and Matt Nagy will both be eager to make the Bears look silly for doing each of them wrong in the past (they passed on Mahomes in the draft and canned Nagy after four seasons as their head coach). In all seriousness, no on-field factor is nearly as essential as the first two. Chicago's best chance for survival right now is if Kansas City has already looked past the Bears to focus their attention on next week's matchup with the Jets.
They are facing a Chiefs team that has surprisingly been held in check thus far. Kansas City has only scored 37 points through two games. Luckily for them, Chicago's defense will provide the perfect elixir for them to end their hibernation. They are due for an offensive explosion, and it would not be at all surprising to see Patrick Mahomes slice up the Bears' defense like Swiss cheese. They will score more points than they did in their first two contests combined.
No one saw the Bears winning this matchup as soon as the schedule makers announced it, and the odds of them pulling off the upset never appear to be lower. They are currently twelve-and-a-half point underdogs and even that seems conservative based on what they've shown over the past two weeks. Their only chance at winning hinges on their ability to click on the offensive side of the ball. Here's to hoping they can finally accomplish that task.
Chiefs win 38-20