A new Netflix series on Colin Kaepernick’s life is causing a stir; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is not vaccinated after all; and on the field, the Chicago Bears prepare to tackle the Pittsburgh Steelers. We get into it with former Bears’ offensive lineman James “Big Cat” Williams.
1. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields looked a lot more comfortable against the San Francisco 49ers than he had in his previous starts.
Even though we will talk about the 22-yard scramble for a touchdown long after Fields is done playing football, to me the most impressive play was the naked bootleg touchdown throw to Jessie James. On that play Fields scrambled out to his left and while on the move he was able to square his shoulders and throw a bullet to where only James was going to have a chance of catching it.
Even with all of the things we saw to get excited about from the offense, like five drives of nine or more plays ending with the Bears putting points on the board, and the fact that Fields ran for 103 yards on 10 carries (Something that has not been done by a Bears quarterback since Bobby Douglas ran for 100 yards in 1973) they were still only able to put 22 points on the board.
2. Defensively the Bears were a mess.
They were not able to get pressure on 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Zero sacks, zero pressures and the defense gave up 322 yards passing. The Bears defense was not able to get off the blocks against the run game and gave up 145 yards rushing on 26 attempts with three rushing touchdowns — two by Garoppolo. They allowed points to be scored on seven straight drives and did not force the 49ers to punt all game.
Deebo Samuel, the one consistent weapon the 49ers had coming into the game, had six completions for 171 yards and was named NFC offensive player of the week.
3. This week the Bears take on the 4-3 Steelers who are on a three-game win streak. The Bears are going to have their hands full on Monday night both offensively and defensively.
Offensively they are going to have to deal with the crowd noise and a swarming, blitzing Steelers’ defense led up front by T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward, two defensive lineman who get off the ball with tremendous speed and power. There are a couple of ways to help the offensive line deal with the Steelers front. One is going to be changing the snap count early and often.
Defensively they need to force Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to throw the ball. If they can shut down the Steelers running game and force ‘Big Ben’ to throw the ball they should be able to get some pressure on him. If the Bears defense can do that and pressure the receivers, they should be able to deny the Steelers the quick pass that they have been living on because of Roethlisberger’s lack of mobility. He will try to get the ball out quick, but the veteran quarterback will also be in the same place most of the game, dead smack in the middle of the pocket, a pass rusher’s dream.
Prediction: Bears 17 - Steelers 24