Bears vs. Chargers — What to Watch 4

After having issues against Cameron Jordan and the Saints last week, the offensive line faces another challenge against the Chargers’ Joey Bosa.

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Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (97, tackling Titans running back Derrick Henry last week) has five sacks in seven games this season.

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Key matchup

A week after the Bears’ offense was thwarted by two Cameron Jordan sacks, it faces a similar — if not greater — threat in Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, one of the best young pass rushers in the game. Bosa, 24, a Pro Bowl player in his only full season in the NFL in 2017 (12½ sacks), has five sacks and 10 quarterback hits in seven games, including two sacks and three hits last week against the Titans.

Right tackle Bobby Massie and right guard Rashaad Coward figure to see the most of Bosa on Sunday. But as much as winning one-on-one matchups, the onus is on the entire protection package — including quarterback Mitch Trubisky —to communicate and be in sync. The Bears haven’t done that well this season. Jordan, in fact, came in unblocked on both of his sacks.

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The Bears’ run defense appeared as good as it ever was under Vic Fangio after a command performance against Dalvin Cook (14-35) and the Vikings (16-40) in Week 4 — without Akiem Hicks and Roquan Smith. At that point, they were allowing 61.5 yards per game and 3.0 yards per carry.

Since then, the Bears have been gashed by the Raiders (39-169) and Saints (35-151) to drop from third to 12th in rushing defense and from second to fifth in yards allowed per carry.

There might have been extenuating circumstances in those games — the London trip seemed to throw the entire team off its game; the offensive malaise against the Saints led to a second-half defensive collapse last week. No excuses this time — the Bears are at home, with a standard NFL week and facing a Chargers offense that ranks 27th in rushing yards and 26th in yards per carry.

Player to watch

In his first game back from a shoulder injury, Trubisky was off his game in every facet against the Saints — 20-for-35 for 119 yards and a 63.9 rating as the Bears fell behind 36-10.

Last year, Trubisky was poor against the Rams in his first game back from a shoulder injury (110 yards, 33.3 rating), but he responded with arguably his best game of the season against the Packers the next week (20-for-28, 235 yards, two touchdown passes, no interceptions, 120.4 rating). This game might be a good measurement of how much was rust vs. regression.

X-factor

Coming off back-to-back losses as favorites, the Bears are at a low point in two seasons under Matt Nagy, with issues on offense, defense and special teams. After a players-only meeting this week, it’s on them to respond against a beatable opponent.

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