The Chicago Bears will have their home opener of the 2018 season on Monday Night Football against the Seattle Seahawks. Head coach Matt Nagy will look to secure his first win as a head coach following a gut-wrenching loss against the Green Bay Packers in week one. Here are five things the Bears will need to do in order to beat the Seattle Seahawks.
Do not give Russell Wilson extra time
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and especially good when the pocket breaks down. He is able to extend plays with his mobility and is either able to go deep or run for a first down when a play begins to break down.
Seattle’s offensive line gave up six sacks against the Denver Broncos last week, and the Bears defense will need to get to Wilson early and often to make sure he can make the big play.
Stay aggressive and go deep
One of the biggest factors that attributed to the Bears’ loss last week in Green Bay was Nagy’s change in play calling. With the team up big in the third and early in fourth quarter, the offense was more conservative and utilized more short passes than long passes. At one point the team had five screen passes that netted minimal gains in the second half wherein the first half they had three pass plays 15 yards or longer.
Nagy’s goal should be to pass deep in both halves as Seattle’s defense gave up 329 passing yards last week.
Do not let Marshall matter
Seattle suffered a costly injury to their number one wide receiver in Doug Baldwin last week. Baldwin will miss Monday’s game with an MCL strain with former Bear Brandon Marshall replacing him in the lineup. The game will be important to Marshall as it will be the first time he has played the Bears since they traded him to the New York Jets following the 2014 season.
Although he is past his prime, Marshall can still make big plays if he has a good quarterback in which he does with Wilson. Last week, he recorded three receptions for 46 yards including a touchdown and had another called back due to an offensive pass interference call. Chicago’s secondary will need to shut down Marshall or risk him making the game matter late.
Mitchell Trubisky needs to do what he did in pre-season
Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was criticized for the loss against the Packers as on several occasions in the second half, he was all too quick to leave the pocket. Even when there seemed to be little pressure by the opposing defense, the Bears second-year quarterback looked to pick up yards via his feet than through the air. In the limited action Trubisky saw in the pre-season, what stood out was his ability to stay in the pocket and go through all his reads.
By going through all his reads, it allows him to stay with a possible pass play for a big game and make his leaving the pocketless predictable as he has looked off the defenders before choosing to run.
A full game for the defense
The biggest issue in week one for the Bears was that their defense did not put together a full game. In the first half against the Packers, the defense allowed no points while creating two turnovers and four sacks. In the second half, they allowed 24 points and did not have any sacks or turnovers.
They should be able to do better against a Seattle offensive line that struggled heavily against the Broncos defense. Rookie first-round pick Roquan Smith will get more playing time and linebacker Khalil Mack should be able to play a full game. The defense should look to get turnovers and sacks in both halves and finish the game strong in the fourth quarter.