Ryan Bukowiecki is a student at the Illinois Media School and a contributor to The D & Davis Show
A big week looms for the Chicago Bears and their 2017 season here in Week 11.
This NFL season has been a little crazy and with the lack of dominant or even great football teams, there has been quite a few upsets scattered on the schedule.
Looking at the schedule for the Bears in the next two weeks, they have the Lions followed by the Eagles. The Bears will be underdogs in both these contests (maybe thats better than being favored with John Fox).
The Bears need a split at worst with both of these games otherwise the record will start to look lopsided like last season. Since the Eagles are seemingly a guaranteed loss for the Bears, that makes this week that much more important for a good performance. This Lions team has been a little bit of mystery this year as they have shown flaws but currently have the best QB in the division in a division that is wide open.
It will be a matchup where the Bears need to get back to what has made them successful this season and if they are able to execute then they will have an opportunity to take some of the heat off of Halas Hall.
Run the football — Not sure if many analysts could make sense of the Bears gameplay last week against Green Bay.
The Bears had been down one touchdown for the majority of the game. And being down just one touchdown meant Dowell Loggains didn’t want to run the ball? The Bears called 40 pass plays to just 17 runs.
Some of this was due to throwing because of time situation and the need to score late in the game but Dowell all but abandoned the run. If the Bears do not run the ball and run well, fans will see what they saw a lot of against Green Bay. Trubisky taking sacks, receivers dropping balls and a lot of punts. The Bears just do not have the weapons on the outside to sustain a consistent arial attack.
The Bears need to set up the pass through the run. Therefore, the first goal this week is to get back to running the football and controlling the clock with a dash of throws down field to keep the opposing defense honest.
The Lions come into the game giving up an average of 102.2 yards a game on the ground and the Cleveland Browns last week rushed for 201 yards, seemingly a good opponent for the Bears’s run game to bounce back.
Defense has to stop the run — Last week the Bears shot themselves in the foot by failing to stop the running game of the Packers. Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery, Brett Hundley and company ran for a total of 160 yards on the ground.
The Packers have struggled offensively since Aaron Rodgers went down which made the defensive performance so surprising by the Bears. The Bears defense struggled with tackling and getting pressure on the Packers offense.
It was an overall let down by the Bears defense so we’ll find out if Green Bay was an aberration or the beginning of a trend. Detroit is tied with Green Bay with 30 sacks given up which is tied for fourth most in the NFL but the Lions have had far less success running the ball than Green Bay (fourth worst at running the ball in the NFL).
This week sets up better for the Bears defense for stopping the run and getting pressure. The goal this week is to stop the run and force Stafford to beat the eighth best pass defense in the NFL.
Have to cut down penalties — Another key for the Bears is to not beat themselves. Overall the Bears have been one of the better teams when it comes to penalties, tied 10th for least penalties.
Last week the penalties killed many drives and clearly the Bears just do not have the offensive wherewithal to overcome penalties. Penalties combined with the Bears struggles to get the lead the last couple games has put a ton of pressure on the Bears passing game.
If the Bears can find a way to play penalty free then it should help the offense immensely. On the other hand, the Lions are an explosive offense and falling behind the chains could be disastrous for the Bears. The margin of error for the Bears is so low against any opponent and the Bears will have to be mentally strong and play clean to win this game.
Play calling must improve — The play calling was very bad last week from both coordinators for the Bears. Vic Fangio found success going after Brett Hundley with blitzes but for some reason Fangio decided to not use it as much in the second half.
Fangio is not known as a blitzing coordinator but the art of play calling sometimes calls for using plays even if they are against the coaches philosophy. On offense, no one knows what the philosophy is. Dowell Loggains used a ratio of 40 pass plays to 17 runs, thats not even a head scratcher but rather a “what the &*^%?!”
Loggains had a really bad week against the Packers and he needs to rebound this week. The Bears need to run the ball and play good defense to win games and thats what the coordinators goal should be this week. The coordinators also need to make proper in game adjustments and use whats working whether its blitzing more or running the ball more.
Both coordinators along with John Fox will be under the microscope in getting the team ready for the gameplay and executing it after such a sloppy performance after the bye week.
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