Chicago Bears Moving on From Loss to Face Old Friend

The emotions of Thursday’s disaster have long passed. Now the Chicago Bears are moving on to Week 2 and the Denver Broncos.

Bears moving on to Face Old Friend After Week 1

That sound you hear is Bears fans finally coming to grips with what they witnessed at the kickoff of the NFL’s 100th season. Losing to the Green Bay Packers stings the base as it is, but to see their high-octane offense reduced to a mere three points (shouts to Eddy Pineiro) had to stir up an array of emotions.

Luckily, or maybe just matter-of-factly, dwelling on it is out of the question. This week the Bears have to hit the road and head to Mile High Stadium to take on the Broncos, who lost 24-16 to the Oakland Raiders on Monday night.

In case anyone forgot, the Broncos new head coach is one Vic Fangio. The Bears were fresh off of allowing the second-most points in team history in 2014 under Marc Trestman. They had given up the most points the year prior This past season they allowed their fewest points since 2012, Lovie Smith’s final year in Chicago.

What the Bears Can Do

The Bears can get on track offensively and come away with a win what will certainly be an ornery group. After playing in the late game of the Monday night’s doubleheader, the Broncos playing on a short week may be about the only thing in Chicago’s favor.

Matt Nagy took the blame for Thursday’s poor showing. He had to be at least a little encouraged seeing the Raiders have success against a Broncos defense with Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, and Chris Harris. There are battles to be won in the secondary if Charles Leno and Bobby Massie can hold up, which is not a given.

It is hard not to be hopeful that Allen Robinson can have similar success. But if Mitchell Trubisky continues to stare him down and fail to get to his second read it will look a lot like the Bears offense from Thursday. There is enough tape on Trubisky as it is, but now he will face the only person that knows his (and his defensive teammates’) tendencies better than his own coaches.

The run game has to be a bigger factor and hopefully, that specifically means more David Montgomery. The rookie only carried the rock six times and for 18 yards. But he showed everything he was advertised as, even hauling in a 27-yard pass down the seam. Raiders rookie Josh Jacobs toted the rock 23 times for 85 yards and a score adding 28 yards on a reception against the Broncos.

What They Cannot Do

Chicago can’t continue to give up pressure as they did against the Packers. Za’Darius Smith was credited by Pro Football Focus with 10 pressures, a career-high. Preston Smith graded out even higher than his teammate, according to PFF, coming in second to former Bears safety Adrian Amos.

Leno and Massie have to do a better job of holding the edge, but half of Za’Darius’s pressure came from the inside. That means that the guards were just as bad as the tackles in protection and explains some of why the Bears had trouble sustaining any offense.

Nagy also said he needs to do a better job of helping his young passer out with his play-calls. Getting him on the edges with more boot action would be great. He is a real weapon on the run and seems more comfortable there. The run would also open up play action for chunk gains, something we saw the Raiders take advantage of against the Broncos

Trubisky will have to be better with his deep accuracy if the Bears are going to take advantage of those opportunities though. And he still needs to improve in going through his progressions faster and not just stare down his first read before forcing a pass into coverage. He had nine bad throws on Thursday, a 20 percent rate (18 percent in 2018), that cannot continue.

Bears Moving On

Week 2 offers a chance at redemption as the Bears go about moving on from their flat opener. A lot of that (penalties and sloppy play) will hopefully prove to be a symptom of rust and not an omen. But Week Two also provides a few unique challenges for an already embattled offense. The only thing that would be worse than that loss to the Packers would be falling to (0-2).

Prediction: Bears manage to string a little offense together while defense maintains.

Bears 17-10

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