Ryan Bukowiecki is a student at the Illinois Media School and a contributor to The D & Davis Show
The Chicago Bears had themselves a rough week last week as they got beat down by the Philadelphia Eagles.
It was clear last Sunday that the Bears are still considerably far away from being a contender. This week it will be clear if the Bears are at least ahead of the 49ers, who are currently one game better than the worst record in the league. The contest against the 49ers will also be interesting because of the approaches that the two franchises have had in addressing the quarterback position.
Chicago famously traded up to move ahead of the 49ers to get Trubisky in this year’s draft. While San Francisco made a later deal for the supposed untouchable New England backup Jimmy Garoppolo before the trade deadline. It feels like these two franchises will be compared going forward for their plans to address the most important position in football. Both of these teams are in the cellar of their divisions but their futures look very different.
The 49ers have stability in place from GM to head coach while the Bears season has really soured and a loss this weekend will only intensify questions about the Bears’ plan to rebuild. The Bears are the favorite in this week’s matchup and the question is whether the Bears can get a much needed win or has the team quit on John Fox? Here are the keys for a Bears win on the lakefront this afternoon.
Defense has to get back on track — The Bears defense has been sputtering in the second half of this season. Losing Leonard Floyd was a huge loss to this defense and the Bears will miss his pass rushing ability.
The secondary has taken a step back like Kyle Fuller. Earlier this season it seemed the Bears had built a defense that was one of the best in the league, it looks more now like the Bears had just overachieved in the first half, but even with injuries and inconsistent play, the defense today faces the 28th ranked offense in the NFL from SF.
Chicago features a defense ranked 15th in the league and this game provides a good opportunity to bounce back after having an embarrassing showing last Sunday. The key for the Bears is to get pressure and win with their front seven. Danny Trevathan has been missed ever since his calf issue going into the bye week, he is a name to watch for when actives and in-actives are announced before the game. It’s clear the Bears defense has been missing his play.
Offense needs to score some points — The Bears offense has been a struggle all season and currently average the fourth fewest points in the NFL. The 49ers are not a model of defense as they have been giving up the sixth most points in the NFL. Something has to give and for it to be in favor for the Bears, it starts and stops with the running game.
The Bears simply haven’t been able or patient enough with the running game especially since tight end Dion Sims has been out with an illness. The Bears need to establish and dominate on the ground to make things easier for Trubisky and the passing game.
The 49ers have not been good against the run and rank third worst in rush defense, giving up an average of 129.5 yards a game. If the Bears are going to score points in this contest, it will be because they were able to establish the ground game.
Start December off the right way — The month of November was rough on the Bears and not just because they went winless, but because the development of the young guys has been missing on top of all the injuries.
Trubisky had an up and down month but overall it felt that he has taken a step back or is really going through the growing pains. Adam Shaheen and Tarik Cohen have also had some flashes but overall their impact has been minimal.
Really any fan can fill in the blank with basically anyone’s name on the team followed by very little impact. Usually when a team goes winless in a month there aren’t going to be many bright spots if any bright spots at all. A goal for this game and the rest of the season is to see some guys step up and some development from the important players still standing. If December looks like November then this rebuild is further behind than anyone had thought.
Bring balance back to the season — It’s been a tough ride for the 2017 Chicago Bears. Early on it seemed the Bears had turned the corner (especially after Glennon was benched after Green Bay) plus a couple victories in October made it feel the Bears were ahead of schedule.
A bad November came through and suddenly it feels like the Bears are making us question if the year is actually 2016. The beauty of football is that it is about starting anew each and every week. The 2017 season is over for the Bears in terms of the playoffs but a strong December would leave a different taste in the fans’ mouths going into the offseason. The Bears play the 49ers this week and the Browns in a couple weeks.
The rest of the Bears opponents are Cincinnati and Minnesota. Its conceivable the Bears could go 3-1 in this stretch but the only way that happens is if the play of the team and some of the young guys step up. A good end to the game Sunday and the rest of the way would bring some much needed balance back to this season.
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