The Texans travel to the Windy City for the second time in as many seasons. In 2020, the Texans traveled to take on the Bears without a soul in the stands and the Texans play seemed to be just as empty that day. RB David Montgomery ran roughshod over a depleted defense, piling up 113 yards on the ground, while WR Allen Robinson had his last great game for the Bears with nine catches for 123 yards and a touchdown from QB Mitch Trubisky.
Two of those guys will be playing in different locations come Sunday but Montgomery remains, and he's a major problem, which I'll address a little later in this article. While we were in Chicago, I jumped on the Bears pregame show and the hosts were convinced that Trubisky wasn't long for Chicago and that the Bears needed a franchise QB. They drafted one in 2021 and Justin Fields is now this franchise's unquestioned leader at the top. He hasn't thrown for much this year in two weeks, but he has dual threat skills that can change any game in a heartbeat.
The Bears defense is led by an athletic and experienced secondary and one of the best linebackers in the game - Roquan Smith. But, the 49ers and Packers piled up some significant rushing yardage over the first two weeks - 379 yards in total. But, that secondary is giving up LESS per game through the air after facing Trey Lance (49ers) and future HOFer Aaron Rodgers (Packers) than what they are on the ground.
It's going to be a rough and tumble afternoon for the good guys in Chi-Town. As such, let's get to know our week three foe - the 2022 Chicago Bears.
The Bears 2022 Schedule (1-1)Bears OFFENSE (in 2022 Regular Season)Expected Broncos starting offense for Week 3Key offensive non-starters
ALL CAPS = New to team in 2022
Keys to winning v. the Bears offense
1. Do NOT slide into this DM
The use of the letters DM has grown exponentially as it refers to direct messages, but the DM that MATTERS this week is Bears RB David Montgomery. The 5-10, 224 lb. Montgomery has been as consistent as any RB in this league since the day he arrived. He's never really run for much more than 4.0 yards per carry in his career even as his OL has struggled to open holes for him consistently. Yet, he can make his own hole and runs through feeble arm tackles. His jump cut is sick. His feet never stop and he has tremendous vision. He's going to be a huge problem if the Texans don't get off blocks and attack with multiple defenders.
2. Normally he's number one
Okay, so Justin Fields does wear number one but with Montgomery toting the rock, he's not the bona fide number one priority for the Texans this week. But, even though he's only throwing for 76.5 yards per game, he's as dangerous as Montgomery is because Texans defenders must account for him on every play, even if he's just handing off. He's one heck of a runner with speed out on the edges and has a deep ball arm. Off schedule, off platform and out of the pocket are all in play with Fields and that's downright scary in combination with Montgomery in tow.
3. This isn't Them
The Bears OL has been a work in progress for years and this year is no exception. But, this group does have some road graders, especially after Teven Jenkins moved into guard. It's not the Colts OL. It's not the Broncos OL. But, it can open some holes in the run game and it's physical at the point of attack. However, the Texans must exploit the youth and inexperience when Fields goes back to pass and do it often.
Bears DEFENSE (in 2022 Regular Season)Expected Broncos starting defense for Week 3Key defensive non-starters
ALL CAPS = New to team in 2022
Keys to winning v. the Bears defense
1. Find Roquan
When Bears LB Roquan Smith made his request for a trade earlier in training camp, I thought about this exact game. As a result, I was more than okay with new GM Ryan Poles deciding to appease his Pro Bowl linebacker prior to our arrival in Chicago this weekend. But, it didn't happen and Smith returned to his spot prior to week one as the Alpha on this defense, which made me distraught. I love watching him play...all weekends but this one. He's as good as it gets from that position because he combines a high football IQ with insane speed and desire to hit someone in a different colored jersey. It's imperative that the Texans get a hat on 58 on every run play or it's going to be a long day trying to slow him down.
2. JJ is dynamite
Marc Vandermeer and I talked with GM Nick Caserio this week and one name that he immediately pointed out when discussing this matchup was CB Jaylon Johnson. The former Utah star has prototype NFL height, weight and speed to excel as a perimeter CB. He's long, competitive and feisty in coverage. Nick wasn't breaking news about Johnson to me, but he might be an unknown to those that don't watch the Bears regularly. He IS that good and I'm curious how Bears HBC (former Colts DC) Matt Eberflus and Bears DC Alan Williams will deploy Johnson against the Texans pass catchers. Will he travel with Brandin Cooks in man coverage? Will he travel with Nico Collins? How much help will the Bears give him? Either way, 33 in Bears blue and orange is a problem.
3. Quick Quiz, Hot Shot
So, what player led the league in sacks in 2021? Oh, it's Bears week so it's got to be Robert Quinn, right? Okay, I tricked ya because it was actually Steelers star T.J. Watt with 22.5, but, BUT Quinn was second in the league with 18.5 and is arguably the best pass rusher in the NFC at the ripe old age of 32. He can take over a game from the edge with a cadre of moves and a blazing quick first step. The Texans tackles did a solid job for the most part against the Broncos rushers, but the speed of Randy Gregory became an issue in the fourth quarter. That duo can't let Quinn take advantage the same way in any quarter.
The (0-1-1) Texans will face the (1-1) Chicago Bears in Week 3. Sunday's kickoff from Soldier Field is set for 12:00 p.m. CT on CBS and SportsRadio 610.
Browse tickets for Texans vs. Chargers on October 2nd at NRG Stadium.