Bears vs. Texans: What to Watch 4
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky has a chance for a big game against a Texans defense that ranks 30th in total yards and 24th in points allowed and will be without cornerback Bradley Roby.
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky does his best work against subpar defenses, and the Texans, especially with a shorthanded secondary, present a prime opportunity for one of those big days.
Except for the fateful strip-sack in the last two minutes that took the edge off his day, Trubisky was productive against the Lions in his second game back from an eight-game benching, completing 26 of 34 passes for 267 yards and a touchdown for a 108.3 rating.
The Texans rank 29th in the NFL in yards allowed per play, 31st in rushing yards per play and 26th in passing yards per attempt. Their secondary is vulnerable with starting cornerback Bradley Roby suspended for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. His replacement is former Chiefs cornerback Phillip Gaines, who has allowed a 136.9 passer rating on throws his way this season. The other starting cornerback, Gareon Conley, has been out all season with an ankle injury. His replacement, former Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, has allowed a 96.9 passer rating on throws his way.
The Bears’ defense has fallen off a cliff in the last two weeks, allowing 383 yards and 41 points to the Packers and 460 yards and 34 points to the Lions.
But with nose tackle Eddie Goldman out all season because of coronavirus concerns and Roy Robertson-Harris out since Week 8 with a shoulder injury, the front-line defense/pass rush has noticeably withered, and cracks have been showing.
The Bears, in fact, have allowed a 100-plus passer rating in their last six games (a 111.5 average) after not allowing even one 100-plus passer rating in their first six games (73.5 average). So Deshaun Watson’s appearance at Soldier Field is as ominous as it is haunting — he is tied for third in the NFL with a career-high 110.0 passer rating.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Bears running back David Montgomery is coming off back-to-back productive games after missing the Vikings game with a concussion — 11 carries for 103 yards against the Packers, 17 carries for 72 yards against the Lions.
Now he faces a Texans defense that ranks 31st in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game.
The Bears, in fact, have had eight rushes of 10 or more yards in the last two games — with Cordarrelle Patterson chipping in with runs of 13, 13 and 12 yards against the Lions. The Bears had three rushes of 10 or more yards in the previous seven games.
At 5-7, the Bears still have playoff hopes — a 93% chance to make the postseason if they win their last four games, according to the New York Times’ playoff simulator. But they’ve also lost six consecutive games — their longest losing streak since 2002. And the resilience that was so prominent in 2018 and to a lesser degree in 2019 is showing signs of wear. The Bears can still make a run, but they’re trending the other way.