Coming off of a comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons, the 3-0 Chicago Bears will return home to face the 2-1 Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have looked like one of the best teams in the NFL this year and have the top-ranked defense in the NFL. This game is the toughest matchup for the Bears to this point and it will be a difficult test for the new starting quarterback Nick Foles. Here are three keys to the Bears Week 4 game.
Play Disciplined Offense
The Colts’ defense is the top-ranked defense in the league, and a lot of their success stems from takeaways and sacks. They are third in the league with six takeaways, including two pick-sixes last week against the Jets. The Colts also have two total safeties through three games. They are seventh in the league for sacks, with a total of nine.
The Bears’ offense needs to be disciplined to avoid committing errors that the Colts have forced upon their three previous opponents. Nick Foles should help in that category, as the Bears new starter has only thrown 36 interceptions through 59 career regular season games. However, Foles has not started a game since Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season for the Jacksonville Jaguars. It is quite possible that he is rusty in his first game in over a year.
If the Bears prevent themselves from making crucial mistakes, the tough Colts defense should be less of a factor.
Pressure the Quarterback
Last week, the Bears were able to pressure Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. They had eight quarterback hits, two sacks and a strip sack overturned by a roughing the passer penalty. This ultimately was key to the Bears success, as Ryan was rattled in the fourth quarter, throwing 3/11 with an interception.
Just like last Sunday, the Bears need to get to the quarterback. The Colts’ offense has done a good job of protecting the quarterback this season, as Philip Rivers has only been hurried 3 times and is tied for second least times pressured per drop-back. Because of this lack of pressure, Rivers has completed 78.9 percent of his passes, which is best in the NFL among quarterbacks.
The Colts’ offense does not make many mistakes, largely because of the time Rivers has to throw. Therefore, the best way that the Bears can shut down this Colts’ offense is pressuring the quarterback.
Replace Tarik Cohen‘s Role
One of the staples in the Bears’ offense in the past few years is running back Tarik Cohen. His shiftiness and pass-catching ability is unrivaled by other Bears running backs. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL last week against the Falcons. This means that a different Bears player will need to step into his role.
Cohen is a big loss for this upcoming game, as even though it is still strong, the Colts running defense is not as good as its passing defense. Not having Cohen will make the Bears running game more predictable, which is not ideal coming up against a stout Colts’ defense.
Much of the burden from Cohen’s injury will fall on starting running back David Montgomery. The Bears frequently use Cohen in passing situations, whether lined up in the backfield or as a slot receiver. Montgomery will now need to fill that role, along with getting the touches running the ball that Cohen would normally get.
The Colts have started off the 2020 season looking like true playoff contenders, and they are one of the tougher teams on the Bears schedule. To win, the Bears will have to find ways to counter the Colts’ strengths and fill the hole left by Cohen’s absence. However, the Colts are too good of a team to expect this scenario to play out perfectly.
Colts 27 – Bears 24