Bear Necessities: Bears still searching for first win against Broncos
Is it safe to say the brakes have been blown off yet? They were severely outplayed and outcoached during last week's 42-10 loss to the Chiefs, which was somehow even worse than the score indicated. Hey, at least the entire world wasn't tuning in since Taylor Swift was in attendance! Oh wait.. they were, because she was. Now, every screengrab of the broadcast features Swift with an utterly embarrassing score in the bottom third. While we're on the subject, Swift was seemingly the only person in attendance who doesn't know just how good Travis Kelce is, as her touchdown celebration would be more appropriate for someone who doesn't reach the end zone every week.
Back to the plot, the Bears are, once again, the NFL's biggest dumpster fire. Nevertheless, they didn't have the worst week across the league, as the Broncos had a 70-burger dropped on them by an undermanned (they were missing their number-two receiver Jaylen Waddle) Dolphins squad. With that said, despite the 70-20 shellacking, Denver is STILL three-and-a-half point favorites against the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday. That's a great indication of how bad things have gotten for Chicago. There have already been petitions to reschedule their Week Three contest to the highly-coveted 3 a.m. timeslot. I couldn't agree with that assessment more.
The season is far from over, and they (unfortunately) have fourteen games left to play. They will have to take each week one game at a time, starting with Denver. What do they have to do to come out on top in a must-win game?
Get pressure on Russell Wilson.
Chicago has only one sack through three games. You read that right. There are 62 players with more sacks than the entire team. The Broncos' offensive line has struggled to keep Russell Wilson upright to begin the year, and he has already gotten taken down ten times. Meanwhile, the Bears seemingly missed ten sacks after failing to bring down the signal-caller in the backfield. They will have to improve at finishing plays and capitalizing on their opportunities to get back in the win column (for the first time since last October).
Despite Denver's 0-3 start, Russell Wilson has played relatively well to begin the year. He has already eclipsed the 300-yard mark twice and has thrown six touchdowns to only two interceptions. The Bears have been solid against the run, but they will have to do much better against the pass, and that will start with getting Wilson off his spot. They may have to get creative with their defensive play calls, but they boast a strong linebacking core who are more than capable of holding their own as pass-rushers.
Establish the run. Please.
The Dolphins demoralized the Broncos run defense last week, putting up 350 yards (!!!) on the ground. They will probably be eager to improve upon the abysmal performance, but there are still some holes on that defensive front that the Bears offensive line can exploit. Chicago got some push on the ground in each of the first three games (against much better defenses), they just neglected to commit to the running game.
It has become painfully clear that Justin Fields has too much on his plate, and the best way to make life easier for him is by establishing the run. They can do that by calling more designed runs for Fields, as that aspect of their offense has not been nearly as effective as it was last season (when they had a historically great rushing attack). The Bears have also found a gem in fourth-round selection Roschon Johnson, who has been highly impressive with his limited touches this year. The rookie is due for a breakout game, and this is the ideal time for it.
Call copious amounts of play action and utilize Fields' legs on the perimeter.
If they can successfully get their ground game going, the Bears will have a chance to inject some juice into their passing attack through play action this week. Over half of Tua Tagovailoa's 309 yards against Denver came off play action. The Broncos are starting a few unproven players in their linebacking core, and Miami's coaching staff exploited their inexperience time and time again. To make matters worse, they were also without star safety Justin Simmons, who could be on the mend again this week with a hip injury. The Bears have enough talent at receiver to take advantage of their weak pass coverage, but Luke Getsy will be responsible for putting them in position to do so.
The Bears would also be wise to get Justin Fields out of the pocket through designed rollouts, as that is where he thrives. Teams rarely line up man-to-man against Chicago anymore (which has been a factor in why he has struggled to begin the year) due to his ability to get chunk gains with his legs, and cutting the field in half could help him diagnose what he's seeing in a timelier manner.
Saying the Bears have stumbled out of the gates would be an understatement, as they have underperformed even the lowest expectations. Hope could be on the way with a relatively easy stretch of games coming up, as only one of their next five opponents has a winning record. What does that mean? Well, if they play how they played in their first three contests, absolutely nothing. However, as crazy as it sounds, the Bears look like a solid football team on paper, which makes their horrendous start to the season tough to comprehend.
They simply have too much talent to continue playing bottom-of-the-barrel football. They are bound to break out of their slump sooner or later, and a game against a team that just gave up the second-most points of all time seems like the perfect opportunity to do it. If they can't win this one, they might as well tank because they will not accomplish anything of value this season. I think they will come out on top.
Bears win 31-27