Bears vs. Lions — What to Watch 4
The Lions’ defensive front doesn’t present the same threat that the Browns’ Myles Garrett did last week, but the Bears’ offensive line will be on the spot after Justin Fields was sacked nine times.
The Lions’ pass-rushing unit isn’t particularly threatening. Outside linebacker Romeo Okwara had 10 sacks at defensive end last season — double his four-year career total. Michael Brockers and former Bear Nick Williams have modest career totals in sacks. Trey Flowers (shoulder/knee) is out. Backup linebacker Charles Harris, who
started in place of Flowers last week and had a sack of the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, leads the Lions with two sacks.
But everyone is a threat against a Bears offensive line that allowed nine sacks against the Browns last Sunday. Though every starting lineman had a hand in the debacle, tackles Germain Ifedi and Jason Peters are on the spot after getting exposed against the Browns.
‘‘It was just one of those days,’’ Ifedi said. ‘‘Everything that could go wrong went a little bit wrong. But it’s one to learn from. There were some small things that looked like they were just total breakdowns, and we know we can clean them up. . . . There are things that won’t be an issue and that we’re going to adjust on quicker.’’
In the fourth year of coach Matt Nagy’s offense, the Bears are 32nd (last) in the NFL in total yards, yards per play, passing yards and sacks allowed per attempt and 31st in scoring. They had 47 yards and allowed nine sacks against the Browns.
Under first-year coach Dan Campbell, the winless Lions are 22nd in total defense, 29th in yards allowed per play and tied for 31st in points allowed. But they are coming off an excellent performance in a 19-17 loss to the Ravens, holding them to their fourth-lowest point total in Jackson’s 40 starts.
Player to watch
With Andy Dalton downgraded to doubtful with a bone bruise, rookie Justin Fields will make his second consecutive start at quarterback, the Bears announced Saturday.
The Lions could offer a good opportunity for Fields to rebound from last week’s debacle against the Browns, when he had a 41.2 passer rating, with nine sacks and 68 passing yards. In six games against the Lions in Nagy’s offense, Bears starting quarterbacks have an average passer rating of 118.4 (15 touchdowns, one interception) — with a rating of 100 or better in each game.
The Bears’ offensive and pass-protection issues were exposed in embarrassing fashion against the Browns, a debacle that usually leads to an all-out effort for correction.
When Nagy was chastised for having only seven rushes against the Saints in 2019, he responded with 38 carries (for 162 yards) against the Chargers the next week.
When Jay Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half in an embarrassing 17-3 loss to the Giants in 2010, the Bears responded with a dominant 26-3 victory against the Panthers — with Todd Collins starting for an injured Cutler. The Bears had 222 all-purpose yards in taking a 17-3 lead in the first 10 minutes of that game.
The Bears are set up for a positive response against a winless Lions team at home. If it doesn’t happen, the Soldier Field dogs will be howling.