Bears vs. Colts — What to Watch 4
Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (10-123, 1 touchdown) and Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes (2 interceptions, 1 touchdown) are coming off big games heading into Sunday’s showdown at Soldier Field.
Bears receiver Allen Robinson is coming off his best game of the season, with 10 receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons. Robinson had four catches for 54 yards and a 37-yard touchdown with Nick Foles at quarterback. His effort didn’t include a 21-yard touchdown catch that was ruled an interception by the Falcons’ Darqueze Dennard on a held-ball call that often goes to the offense.
Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes — familiar with the Bears from his seven seasons with the Vikings — also is coming off his best game of the season. The three-time Pro Bowl player (2016, 2017, 2019) had two interceptions, including an early 44-yard pick-six against Sam Darnold that set the tone, in a 36-7 rout of the Jets. It was Rhodes’ first interception in 31 games. His last pick against the Bears came against Matt Barkley in the 2016 season finale.
Through three games against the Jaguars, Vikings and Jets, the Colts’ defense ranks first in the NFL in yards allowed (225.3 per game) and points allowed (15 per game) after ranking 16th and 18th in those categories last season. They also lead the NFL with six interceptions, including two each by Rhodes and fellow cornerback T.J. Carrie.
Against the Jets last week, the Colts’ defense allowed only seven points and scored 16 on two pick-sixes and a safety — a net of minus-nine points allowed. The only touchdown the Colts allowed against the Vikings the previous week was a meaningless fourth-quarter score.
Player to watch
It’s not often much fun to watch a lineman do his thing, but Colts left guard Quenton Nelson plays at a level above most players. Nelson, the sixth overall pick of the 2018 draft, has been named to the AP All-Pro team as the top left guard in the NFL in each of his two seasons. He hasn’t allowed a sack in 33 consecutive games, according to Pro Football Focus.
Nelson is coming off a relatively subpar performance against the Jets, so he figures to play with particular verve Sunday. Unfortunately, nose tackle Eddie Goldman opting out this season eliminates a classic matchup against Nelson, who will be a handful for Bilal Nichols and Roy Robertson-Harris.
Foles will be making his first start after replacing Mitch Trubisky in the second half against the Falcons — and throwing three touchdown passes in the last 6:20 to lead the Bears to a 30-26 victory.
The quarterback change figures to give the Bears a boost. While Foles might not have Trubisky’s physical tools, he’s a much more polished, dependable quarterback with a Super Bowl MVP trophy to his credit.
Then again, the Colts have been able to prepare for Foles, whereas the Falcons were not. This is as much a test for Bears coach Matt Nagy as it is for Foles.