The Bears have two games they had no business losing. They lost them both. They have no business losing to the Miami Dolphins at home Sunday. So…
Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?
I always like the Chicago Bears.
A NOTE ON CAMERON WAKE
Cameron Wake can ruin this game for the Chicago Bears. He is a premier pass rusher, most comfortable on the left side, and if the Bears rely on Jordan Mills to handle him solo for any extended period of time they will find themselves in a situation where Jimmy Clausen is warming up on the sideline. Of the 2014 projected starters on offense, Mills has been the only weak link and he is coming off his weakest performance of the season in Atlanta.
Wake has attacked in spurts this season, disappearing for large chunks of games, but he played his best sixty minutes Sunday. If Aaron Rodgers didn’t get the ball out of his hands quickly all afternoon he would have ended up on a cart to the locker room midway through the third quarter. Bears must use Martellus Bennett. They must use Eben Britton. They must not be afraid to take Mills out of the game and replace him with Michael Ola if Bushrod returns.
It is the most important match-up of the game. If the Bears win it their offense should consistently win all afternoon.
I LIKED THE QUESTIONS FORMAT, SO…
Here are three more worth asking for this coming Sunday:
(1) Charles Clay is the type of tight end who can exploit the holes in many defenses but especially a defense with deficiencies at the positions responsible for covering him: (a) nickel corner (b) linebacker (c) safety. Can the Bears protect the middle of the field – Clay’s purview of choice – and take away one of Ryan Tannehill’s most reliable targets?
(2) Tannehill has made explosive plays for the Dolphins with the zone read run game, utilizing his wide receiver speed to burst through the second and third levels of defenses. (Watching him fly by the Packers secondary was impressive Sunday.) Will the Bears handle an offensive approach they haven’t legitimately seen in a month? (Cam was unable to move, let alone use zone read.) More importantly, can the hungry-for-sacks defensive ends play disciplined in a way Clay Matthews was completely unable to do a week ago?
(3) Can Matt Forte be explosive in the run game? Miami’s run defense has been sound through the early part of the season but the Bears must be able to, in the parlance of the day, stay on schedule. The best way to keep Wake and the pass rushers from having a negative impact on proceedings is to stay away from obvious passing scenarios.
A MOMENT OF DOLPHINS TRAGEDY
BASED ON DOLPHINS V. PACKERS TAPE
- Sunday’s breakout performance from Jarvis Landry did not look like an anomaly to me. He reminded of a craftier version of Jeremy Kerley – a player who gave the Bears trouble in the Meadowlands operating out of the league’s most dysfunctional offense. From the slot, Landry he could give the Bears fits.
- When Joe Philbin & Bill Lazor want to get their offense rolling they dump the ball to their tailbacks – specifically Lamar Miller – and ask them to make plays to spread the defense thin. Bears need to be just as alert to the screen game this week as they were a week ago.
- Mike Wallace is a different player in Miami than he was in Pittsburgh. He’s no longer Gerry Go Route. He seems to operate on three planes: (1) YACman. He’s got nearly a third of his yards after the catch. (2) Late mover. When Tannehill extends plays with his legs its Wallace who often finds space in the secondary for the quarterback to deliver the ball. With his speed it is nearly impossible to cover him for longer than five seconds. (3) Red zone hands. Wallace has demonstrated a physical presence in the end zone and caught the types of passes he was never asked to catch in Pittsburgh.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Cutler is better.
This will be the most boring game of the Bears season. The Dolphins just seem to be that kind of team. They love to dink and dunk on offense and their pressure up front forces the opponent to do the same.
Only way Bears lose Sunday is if they turn the ball over. They don’t. Tannehill does.
Chicago Bears 26, Miami Dolphins 16