The Chicago Bears (7-7) face the playoff-bound Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) on Sunday in prime time. The Bears’ 21-13 loss last week against the Green Bay Packers helped knock Chicago out of the playoffs. Now the Bears are stuck watching the postseason from the sideline and looking for any answers they can find to end the season on a high note.
One of those answers the Bears are seemingly hoping to find is whether their quarterback and offense can be more consistent. The Bears’ offense has been ranked near the bottom in many statistical categories all season. They average 298.4 yards of total offense per game (28th in the NFL) and 18.3 points per game (26th in the NFL).
Against the Packers, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had 29 completions in 53 attempts, throwing for 334 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The Bears didn’t score a touchdown in the game until midway through the fourth quarter.
“[Trubisky’s] growing and he’s learning. He’s gone through a lot. And we’ve gone through a lot. I’m very proud of the way he’s handled himself throughout,” Bears head coach Matt Nagy told reporters Wednesday.
The Bears didn’t have much success with the running game despite facing the Packers’ poor rushing defense. Bears’ running backs rushed for only 67 yards on 22 attempts.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ offense has been rolling for much of the season, averaging 384.4 yards per game (fifth in the NFL) and 28.1 points per game (fourth in the NFL).
The Chiefs’ offense, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, was drafted in 2017, in the same draft class as Trubisky. The Bears traded up to draft Trubisky as the second overall pick and the first quarterback taken in that draft. The Chiefs drafted Mahomes eight spots later.
Comparisons between the two quarterbacks have been drawn all season, but Nagy stressed the upcoming game is between the Bears and Chiefs not Trubisky and Mahomes
“It’s important for our guys on our team to worry about the unit,” Nagy said, “Otherwise, you start worrying about the individual stuff I think that it doesn’t normally go too well.”
The Bears’ defense looks to build on the success they’ve had most of the season. While not among the teams leading the league in takeaways and sacks like they did a season ago, the Bears are holding opponents to an average of 18.1 points per game (third in the NFL).
On Tuesday, three Bears were named to the 2020 Pro Bowl: outside linebacker Khalil Mack, safety Eddie Jackson, and special teams player Cordarrelle Patterson. Mack and Patterson were voted as starters.
This is Mack’s fifth consecutive Pro Bowl. Mack has been a force since joining the Bears’ defense in 2018, he leads the team with 7.5 sacks this season.
Patterson is headed to his third Pro Bowl, he leads the league with 799 kick return yards. Against the New Orleans Saints in Week 7, Patterson had a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Jackson has 57 tackles, one sack, one interception, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and four passes defended this season.
Former Bears offensive lineman and WTTW News football analyst James “Big Cat” Williams gives us three key takes on what the Bears need to do to beat the Chiefs.
Big Cat Take #1:
Trubisky must continue to improve. He is coming off one of his better games this season. This upcoming game could be a challenge for Trubisky with Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo being very familiar with the type of offense the Bears are trying to run.
Big Cat Take #2:
Defensively, the Bears’ front seven need to keep Mahomes in the pocket while applying pressure. Defenders must have the awareness not to rush past Mahomes and leave gaps for him to escape to find tight end Travis Kelce or wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill down the field.
Big Cat Take #3:
Coaches are going to have an opportunity to learn quite a bit about the players on their roster. Who is still preparing the way they were when the games meant something? And who's shutting it down, packing their bags, warming up the truck and getting ready for the offseason? Who are the leaders that you're going to have to beat off the field with a bat for them not to play out these final two games?
Bold Prediction: Chiefs 24-17
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