Familiar Texans defense could revive Bears offense
Why Texans game comes at perfect time for Fields, Bears offense originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — After seeing their passing game stall in a Week 2 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Bears spent the week polishing and polishing their aerial offense.
A Week 3 date with the Houston Texans could be just what the Bears need to get quarterback Justin Fields into a good rhythm after two games against top defenses. On the season, the Texans rank 27th in the NFL, allowing 270.5 passing yards per game.
The fact that Texans head coach Lovie Smith runs a similar defense to Bears head coach Matt Eberflus should also help Fields and the offense get comfortable Sunday at Soldier Field. .
“I think it’s helpful,” Eberflus said on Friday. “When you face a similar defence, something you’ve faced in camp and something you know – both attacking and defending – I think it’s better. There’s not as much difficulty. ‘adjustments during the week.’
In Week 1, the Bears faced a San Francisco 49ers team that runs an offense similar to the offense deployed by offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. Preparing for similar looks they faced throughout training camp helped the Bears defense hold the 49ers to 10 points.
After throwing for only 70 yards on 11 attempts against the Packers, Fields and the passing game are looking to find a rhythm and show off the explosive offense they alluded to in training camp.
“Similar,” tight end Cole Kmet said of the Texans defense. “They’re playing really tough. They’ve got a front that’s gonna turn around a lot. Between 10 guys, so they keep their guys fresh. They’re a bit lighter but they’re a mean group. They’re definitely progressing up front and we have to be able to deal with it. But similar to our defense. So it’s going to be a lot of training camp stuff for us.”
He has been a question week about Getsy, Fields and the Bears’ passing offense. Any time your franchise quarterback only throws the ball 11 times, there will be questions. But Getsy noted that he called about 20 passing plays in Green Bay, but Fields chose to tuck him in and run on a few and was sacked on others.
The Bears’ biggest problem in Green Bay was the lack of games. The Bears offense went just 41 games thanks to three consecutive three-and-outs after an opening touchdown.
The opening touchdown saw the Bears rely on David Montgomery and the running game to keep them going down the field. When they returned for their next practice, Getsy pulled away from Montgomery, and the offense exploded due to out-of-sync passing play and execution issues across the board.
After a week of ironing out the issues, Eberflus is confident the passing offense will be much better on Sunday against the Texans.
“I think it’s been good for us to see how we’re going to distribute the ball and how we’re going to get the ball to run them with, or an intermediate pass, or take the ball downfield,” Eberflus said. “Our passing game will feature all three levels and we’re going to feature a lot of guys. It’s our hope that we do that. That’s what the game plan has been all week.”
The plan to trigger the passing game starts with getting the ball to Kmet and Darnell Mooney.
The Bears’ top two passing targets have caught just two passes for 4 yards this season. Both takes came from Mooney, as Kmet only saw one target in each of the first two games.
Mooney and Kmet don’t panic. It’s too early for that.
“Like I said, they believe in me, the players believe in me, my team believes in me,” Mooney said. “There will eventually be a time when I get a ball or whatever, when I take him to the crib, everyone is going to be like, ‘oh, there he goes.'”
The Bears are hoping Sunday will be the day their passing offense wakes up. A matchup against a Cover 2 team similar to their own defense should help unlock Fields, Mooney and Kmet.
Download MyTeams today!