For a lot of the NFL, the sport Sunday between the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans at Soldier Field is an afterthought, a conflict between two bottom-tier groups, every with new coaches and scrapping to make the steep climb again towards relevance. But there’s nonetheless loads of intrigue folded in because the Bears look to enhance to 2-1 below Matt Eberflus and decided to show final week’s 17-point rivalry loss to the Green Bay Packers was a small pace bump of their development course of. Former Bears coach Lovie Smith, in the meantime, brings his Texans to Chicago with loads of starvation after they tied the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 and had been edged 16-9 by the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
As kickoff approaches, right here’s our snapshot take a look at Sunday’s recreation.
1. Pressing query
Can Luke Getsy discover solutions to stimulate the Bears’ passing assault?
By now, you understand the attention-grabbling numbers from final week’s loss to the Packers. The Bears tried solely 11 passes, accomplished seven and managed simply 48 web passing yards. Through two weeks, they’ve an NFL-worst 153 passing yards.
Still, as anxiousness mushrooms within the outdoors world, Getsy has been measured together with his evaluation. For starters, he pressured Thursday, the Bears ran solely 41 performs in Green Bay and known as 19 move performs. Three resulted in sacks. Another three led to Fields scramble runs. Two others had been interrupted by sloppiness or confusion on the snap.
So worry not, Chicago, Getsy has not put his offense right into a time machine again to the Nineteen Forties.
“You have to look at each opponent and say, ‘OK, here’s where you have to take advantage of them. Here’s what you have to stay away from,’” Getsy mentioned. “To me, that’s what I want (this offense) to be. Whatever that means — if it’s 50 (percent) throws, 50 runs — I don’t really care. It’s about winning. It’s about giving us the best chance to win.”
On the intense aspect, the Bears not solely dedicated to their working recreation final week, they’d nice success with it, chewing up 180 yards on 27 rushes. That’s one thing to construct on and will open up alternatives within the play-action recreation.
The subsequent step is discovering better stability and capitalizing on alternatives to make game-changing performs. To that latter quest, the Bears had been shaky with the small print on quite a lot of events towards the Packers and paid the worth, unable to hit on a number of big-play possibilities due to imprecise routes or poor blocking or improper consciousness.
Said Getsy: “That’s part of this process. We’ve talked about it. The way we approach our walk-throughs and … practices, we have to approach it like those are game situations so the details feel easier when you get to the game.”
The subsequent check comes Sunday.
2. Players within the highlight
Justin Fields and Davis Mills
The conflict between second-year quarterbacks Sunday may boil right down to which participant takes higher care of the ball. With two related defenses that each preach the necessity for takeaways, Fields and Mills should perceive methods to keep away from game-changing errors.
Fields has thrown an interception in every of his two begins this season and has 17 turnovers in 12 profession begins. Mills has been a greater protector of the soccer in his 13 begins with 12 turnovers, together with 10 interceptions throughout his rookie season.
Few within the league predict a shootout Sunday. The Bears and Texans are tied for twenty seventh within the league in scoring, every averaging 14.5 factors. Oddsmakers have set an over-under of 40 factors.
To that finish, Fields and Mills should take heed to ball safety whereas nonetheless discovering the correct spots to take their possibilities.
Fields, particularly, might need extra using on Sunday’s recreation to quell the rising fear from some Bears followers about his growth. Through two video games, the Bears rank final in passing yardage with simply 153 yards. Fields’ 69.2 passer ranking ranks thirtieth amongst certified starters.
From Sunday’s dispiriting loss, Fields discovered at the least one silver lining: a seven-play, 71-yard landing drive on the primary possession that ended together with his 3-yard scoring run.
“We had a good start last Sunday,” Fields mentioned. “It’s just sustaining that start and playing like that for four quarters.”
3. Keep a watch on …
The Bears’ capability to sort out.
There was a number of chatter at Halas Hall this week about tackling fundamentals, a essential emphasis after the Bears allowed 414 whole yards, together with 203 on the bottom, in final week’s loss to the Packers.
The Packers, led by working again Aaron Jones, averaged 5.3 yards per rush and had 10 performs that gained at the least 15 yards. Eberflus was disillusioned with the sloppiness from his protection, figuring out quite a few situations through which gamers took poor angles, overran the ball service or just didn’t end with sound method.
“You’ve got to get guys to get up on the runner and get their pads on them at the proper level and then have a strong wrap and run your feet,” Eberflus mentioned. “A lot of times missed tackles happen because you’re lunging and not getting up on the runners.”
Eberlus pressured this week that he would don’t have any tolerance for such slip-ups and believes the Bears could make a fast turnaround.
“It’s something we have to correct,” Eberflus mentioned. “And we’re going to work tirelessly to get that done.”
The Bears will likely be examined Sunday by Texans rookie working again Dameon Pierce, who’s incomes belief from his teaching employees and figures to be featured. Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams lauded Pierce for his quickness, explosion and call stability.
“When he’s getting hit, he doesn’t stop his feet. He keeps going,” Williams mentioned. “He’s one we’re going to have our hands full with.”
4. Lovie Smith’s return
Throughout the offseason, in an effort to point out gamers what his type of protection appears to be like like at its peak, Eberflus combined in video clips of the 2000s Bears and a protection led by Smith and fueled by playmakers corresponding to Brian Urlacher, Mike Brown, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman.
“Their unity was obvious,” cornerback Jaylon Johnson mentioned earlier this month. “Just seeing all those leaders and all those guys buy in to set the tone for that defense was impressive. That would be eye-opening for anybody. But we have the advantage that they were here with the Bears. Knowing that standard can be set, we’re trying to recreate that and bring that back.”
On Sunday, the Bears will face a Smith-led Texans protection and perceive what they’ll be up towards.
Bears coaches have loads of admiration for the way Smith coaches and what he believes in but additionally don’t need him to count on a heat and fuzzy return.
Said Williams: “I love that he’s a head coach in the NFL again. I’m 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. With that in mind, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure he goes away with a frown on his face.”
5. Injury report
Bears linebacker Roquan Smith and cornerback Jaylon Johnson are listed as questionable to play in Sunday’s recreation after not working towards Friday. Smith is recovering from a hip harm he suffered through the Packers recreation. Johnson suffered a quad harm in follow Thursday.
Linebacker Matt Adams (hamstring), tight finish Ryan Griffin (Achilles) and security Dane Cruikshank (hamstring) have been declared out.
Rookie huge receiver/returner Velus Jones Jr., who missed the primary two video games with a hamstring harm, is uncertain to make his NFL debut.
On the offensive line, Lucas Patrick continued taking follow reps at middle, maybe on observe to maneuver again into that position quickly. But Patrick nonetheless is perhaps one other week away from being absolutely prepared. He break up time at proper guard with Teven Jenkins within the first two video games, enjoying 49 of the Bears’ 99 offensive snaps.
After present process surgical procedure on his proper thumb in late July, Patrick has been working to regain energy in that hand, sufficient to have the ability to squeeze and easily snap the soccer. As quickly because the Bears really feel he has cleared that hurdle, it can change their plans up entrance.
Brad Biggs (1-1)
These groups are mirror photographs of one another in a number of methods. Defensively, each are from the Tony Dungy teaching tree by way of enjoying Cover-2. Both have second-year quarterbacks. Both have rosters which are being turned over. Both have scored solely 29 factors. Both have performed shoddy run protection. It feels as if it is going to be a grind-it-out ballgame. Texans quarterback Davis Mills has made 15 profession begins, and his residence/highway splits are hanging. He has thrown 14 touchdowns with just one interception and averaged 7.7 yards per try in eight residence video games. Mills has 4 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and a diminished 5.2 yards per try in seven highway begins. If Justin Fields can keep away from turnovers, determine the Bears will enhance to 2-1.
Bears 20, Texans 16
Colleen Kane (1-1)
After the ugly loss to the Packers, the Bears have a main alternative to get the great vibes flowing towards the mediocre Texans, who’ve allowed 433.5 yards however simply 18 factors per recreation. David Montgomery was spectacular in Week 2 and will have one other huge recreation, however there ought to be an opportunity for Fields to make a much bigger impression too. The Bears protection must sort out higher and power Mills and firm into a few turnovers to make it a better feat.
Bears 20, Texans 14
Dan Wiederer (1-1)
Thank goodness for Cairo Santos, whose late-game heroics will rescue the Bears from a second consecutive loss and suppress a significant civic outcry. The Bears should capitalize on winnable moments each time they come up. And this one comes ready-made — at residence towards an opponent that’s additionally in transition. Things received’t at all times be fairly Sunday. But this group sees its sturdy resolve as one in every of its greatest strengths. That will come in useful, notably within the tense levels of the fourth quarter.
Bears 23, Texans 21