Bear Down in the Dumps

So last week, we managed to beat the Wisconsin bogeyman in a game that meant something (at least to us, as in Week 18 last year they had their eyes on practising for their usual playoff exit). This week we go into the Chicago cave where the Bears doth dwell. Our Lions will step onto the field to face Fields, hoping to stop his moonballs to Mooney and that there isn't a return of the Mack from the disappointing Chicago defence.


As per usual for our previews, we'll look at their roster to see how it matches up against our own, set out some keys for victory, make some totally inaccurate predictions and then suggest some college games to keep an eye on if you're already thinking about the draft.


Chicago Bears:

Record- 3-6-0

Expected W/L- 3.7-5.3

Strength of Schedule- .563


Offence:

The Bears offence runs through Fields, quite literally. He attempts 20.8 passes a game, which is a historically low number. He completes 58.8% of these for 146.9 yards, 1.11 TDs and 0.67 interceptions per game. Fields average 7.1 yards per attempt. He takes 3.67 sacks a game for a loss of 21.8 yards. These give him a passer rating of 85.0 and a QBR of 55.1. What this all tells us, and hopefully Aaron Glenn as well, is that the Bears cannot win through the air. Contain Fields's scrambling, make him use his arm and show why Ohio State QBs can't work in the NFL.


On the ground, the Bears have three players who average more than 10 carries a game. Their lead back is Montgomery, who totes the ball 13.3 times a game for 49.6 yards (3.7 Y/A), 2.5 first downs and 0.25 TDs. Behind him, Herbert is handed the ball 10.9 times a game for 65.1 yards (6 Y/A), 2.22 first downs and 0.44 TDs. Fields himself carries the ball 10.1 times a game for 66.9 yards (6.6 Y/A), 4.67 first downs and 0.44 TDs. Maybe, if the Bears' OL doesn't get him killed first, Fields could make the transition to RB where he might actually be truly effective.


Talking of the Bears' offensive line, they truly are offensive in the pass game. They give up a sack on a league-worst 14.9% of dropbacks and give up the second-most amount of sacks per game for the fourth-most amount of yardage lost. They also give up pressure on 28.8% of dropbacks (31st in the league, only the Titans are worse). In the run game, they average 3.3 yards before contact per attempt, which is tied for third-best in the league. And to think ESPN had the Chicago OL ranked way higher than ours in the preseason...


In his first game in the disgusting orange Bears jersey, Claypool was targeted 6 times. He caught 33.3% of these balls (so 2) for 13 yards (6.5 Y/R), dropped 2 of his targets (33.% drop rate), got 1 first down and had a 42.4 passer rating when targeted. In the slot, Mooney gets targeted 5.78 times a game on average, of which he catches 3.56 (61.5%) for 45.2 yards (12.7 Y/R), 0.33 drops (5.8%), 1.78 first downs, 0.11 TDs and a 76.4 passer rating when targeted. The worse of the two pro St. Brown brothers gets 2.78 targets a game for 1.22 targets (44%), 18.2 yards (14.9 Y/R), 0.11 drops (4%), 0.89 first downs, 0.11 TDs and a 46.1 passer rating. Cole Kmet K-atches the ball 2.11 times a game on 2.89 targets (73.1%), 0.11 drops (3.8%), 22.2 yards (10.5 Y/R), 1.22 first downs, 0.33 TDs and a 101.4 rating. Out the backfield, Montgomery is thrown at twice a game for 1.75 catches (87.5%), 17.9 yards (10.2 Y/R), 0.63 first downs and a 103.9 passer rating when targeted. Luckily for our secondary, the Bears' offensive weapons don't scare me much like the Packers' last week,


Despite their reluctance to pass, the Bears still favour 11 personnel, using it on 58% of plays (throwing from it on 61% of plays) for 0.02 EPA per play. They use 12 personnel on 17% of plays, throwing from it 38% of plays, for -0.07 EPA/p. They run 21 personnel on 17% of plays and run from it 61% of the time, getting -0.01 EPA/p. They also use 13, 22, 20 and 22 personnel on plays less than 5% of the time. Overall, they pass the ball on 51% of plays and create 0.02 EPA per play.


As for how this offence matches up to our defence, one thing that stands out is how we need to focus on the run. Despite Fields winning NFC Offensive Player of the Week, he doesn't scare me through the air. Put Rodrigo or Barnes on Fields, spy him, and stop the run. Force Fields to pass the ball. Not to ride the train of the reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Week Kerby Joseph too much (though I will take one "I told you so" for picking him out both before the draft and after), he and the rest of the secondary can continue to ride their momentum from last week and perhaps create even more turnovers.


Defence:

For a team who gets to practice against the "best" running offence in the league, the Bears defence is not good against the run. Their leader against the run is linebacker Nicholas Morrow, who averages 6.67 tackles, 0.33 missed tackles (4.8% miss rate) and 0.44 TFLs a game. Their best-performing lineman is Justin Jones who gets on average 2.78 tackles, 0.22 missed tackles (7.4% miss rate) and 0.67 TFLs a game. What makes this defence porous against the run is perhaps a failure by the linebackers to stop big plays (allowing 4.9 yards per carry [26th best in the league]) and that the Bears can fall behind in games, allowing teams to abandon the pass and instead choose to run the ball to grind out the clock. Hopefully we can continue this pattern.


As bad as the Bears are against the run, they also can't rush the passer, though this might stem from not being able to stop the run. Their leader in pressures is Gipson with 1.22 pressures (0.22 sacks, 0.56 hits and 0.44 hurries) a game. Opposite him, Muhammad averages 1 pressure a game (0.11 sacks, 0.11 hits and 0.78 hurries). Jones gets averages 0.56 pressures (0.22 sacks, 0.11 hits, 0.22 hurrries) from the interior. Beside him, Watts gets 0.33 hurries and nothing else. In his role as a DPR, Robinson gets 0.50 pressures (0.17 sacks, 0.11 hits, 0.22 hurries). Again, it comes to our tackles to silence their pass rush, which I trust them to do so long as the stupid penalties on first down stop.


Their most targeted player is slot corner rookie Kyler Gordon. He is thrown at 6.33 times a game, allowing 4.78 catches (75.4%), 60.2 yards (11.6 Y/C), 0.11 TDs and a 100.0 passer rating when targeted. On the outside, Vildor is targeted 3.56 times a game for 2.33 catches (65.6%), 28.8 yards (12.3 Y/C), 0.11 TDs and an 87.9 passer rating. On the other side, Jaylon Johnson gets 2.44 targets on average, giving up 1.44 catches (59.1%), 20.9 yards (14.5 Y/C), 0.11 TDs and a 102.1 rating. Further forward, Morrow is targeted 2.33 times a game for 1.78 catches (76.2%), 19.6 yards (11 Y/C), 0.11 TDs and a 116.4 passer rating allowed in coverage. On the backend, Jackson has been targeted 3.22 times a game, allowing 2 catches (62.1%), 32.6 yards (16.3 Y/C), 0.11 TDs and a 67.8 rating. Former ROTL draft crush Jaquan Brisker has been targeted 3.33 times a game for 1.67 catches (50%), 22.3 yards (13.4 Y/C), 0.22 TDs and an 80.0 passer rating allowed. Once again, if he's fully healthy, the Sun God can take over the game and show everyone who the better of the St. Brown bros is.


Despite their HC coming from a heavy even front background (he ran a press Cover 3 heavy 4-3 scheme in his four years as Indy's DC), the Bears have favoured odd fronts so far this season, presumably due to their roster still being mostly made up of players who suit this front (think us last year and the shift that happened this past offseason). They have run 335 on 46% of snaps, on which they have faced a pass on 59% of plays and have given up -0.04 EPA/p. They have run 344 (so base 3-4) on 24% of plays, facing a pass 36% of the time and giving up 0.24 EPA/p. They have used 245 personnel on 13% of plays, facing a pass on 80% of snaps, and giving up 0.06 EPA/p. The only other formation they have used on over 5% of snaps is 425, which they have used on 7% of plays, facing a pass on 53% of these snaps, and giving up 0.64 EPA/p. They have also used 4-3 base, 254, 416, 326, 533 and 236 formations at times. Overall, they face a pass on 54% of plays and give up 0.09 EPA per play.


As with their offence versus our defence, this comes down to the run again. If we can set up a good rushing attack, we can take the weight off Goff's shoulders both by opening up the play-action game and by making sure he doesn't feel the need to play hero ball. However, unlike the Bears, we can pass the ball if we need to.


Special Teams:

Santos has made all his field goals but has missed 2 of his 16 extra point tries, with a season-long of 51 yards.

Gill has a season-long punt of 62 yards.

Pettis has the longer longest punt return (27 yards), but VJJ averages more yards per punt return (7.0).

Ebner and Herbert share the title of longest kick return (30 yards), but Herbert alone averages the most yards per kick return (26.3 yards).


Keys to Victory:

  1. Stop the run- Their offence relies on the run. Take this away and they're stuck. So do it!

  2. Run the ball- They can't stop the run, and when we can establish the run, we usually have a good shot at winning the game. Match made in heaven for us.

  3. Don't let Fields get comfortable- Spy him, blitz him, hit him. The NFC North was once known as the Black and Blue division. Let's remind Fields as to why.

  4. Attack the middle- This is partly a personal thing so Amon-Ra can get one over his brother, but their coverage is weakest over the middle. You know what to do Ben.


Predictions:

  • Goff- 18/28, 220 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 97.3 passer rating, 1 rush, 5 yards

  • Williams- 17 rushes, 80 yards, 1 TD, 2 targets, 1 catch, 5 yards

  • St. Brown- 10 targets, 7 catches, 80 yards, 1 TD, 1 rush, 15 yards

  • Hutchinson- 4 tackles (2 solo), 0.5 TFLs, 2 pressures, 1 sack

  • Anzalone- 9 tackles (6 solo), 0.5 TFLs

  • Joseph- 5 tackles (4 solo), 1 PD, 1 INT


  • Fields- 13/24, 150 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 69.8 passer rating, 8 rushes, 50 yards

  • Montgomery- 14 rushes, 60 yards, 1 TD, 2 targets, 1 catch, 10 yards

  • Claypool- 5 targets, 2 catches, 20 yards, 1 TD, 1 rush, 5 yards

  • Jones- 3 tackles (1 solo), 0.5 TFLs, 1 pressure

  • Morrow- 7 tackles (5 solo), 1 TFL

  • Brisker- 6 tackles (5 solo), 1 PD, 1 INT


Hot take- The Lions have more return yardage than the Bears have passing yards


Score- Lions 24, Bears 21


(Non-Obvious) College Games to Keep An Eye On:

  • (20) Notre Dame at Navy- TE Michael Mayer, S Brandon Joseph

  • Purdue at (21) Illinois- RB Chase Brown, CB Devon Witherspoon

  • (7) LSU at Arkansas- WR Kayshon Boutte, Edge BJ Ojulari, Edge Ali Gaye, DL Jaquelin Roy, QB KJ Jefferson

  • Pitt at Virginia- RB Israel Abanikanda, DL Calijah Kancey

  • Maryland at (14) Penn State- CB Joey Porter Jr.

  • (15) UNC at Wake Forest- WR Josh Downs, CB Storm Duck, QB Sam Hartman, WR AJ Perry, DL Kobie Turner

  • (23) FSU at Syracuse- QB Jordan Travis, WR Johnny Wilson, Edge Jared Verse, LB Tatum Bethune, S Jammie Robinson, RB Sean Tucker


How do you think the game will go? Can our Lions maul the Bears, or will we have to go home with our tails between our legs? Who do you think will be the stat leaders, and what will the final score be?

 

Follow us

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rotl_uk

Instagram: www.instagram.com/rotl.uk

Pod Links: linktr.ee/roarofthelionsuk


Follow me

Twitter: www.twitter.com/sodenad

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ash.soden

19 views

Recent Posts

See All