The Chicago Bears will be back in primetime on Monday Night Football when they go on the road to face the Washington Redskins. It is an important game as the team especially the offense needs to have a big performance. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has received the majority of criticism directed at the offense, but with a quality game, can ease that criticism.
Here are five keys to victory for the Chicago Bears against the Washington Redskins:
1.Have a capital party on offense and invite everyone
The Bears passing game has been one of the league’s worse in the first two weeks of the season. Last week in Denver, Trubisky passed for just 120 yards with 25 of those yards coming on his last throw of the game to set up the game-winning field goal. Chicago has faced two good defenses in the Packers and Broncos, but the same does not apply for the Redskins defense. In their first two games, opposing quarterbacks are averaging 287 passing yards and three touchdowns against Washington’s defense. Furthermore, they have struggled with defending the deep ball as they have allowed three pass plays of 50 yards or longer.
Trubisky can turn his slow start around by taking advantage of the defense and incorporate all of his weapons. Second-year receiver Anthony Miller has just one reception so far this season. Last season he led all Bears receivers in touchdown receptions with six. Getting other player involved including Javon Wims, Trey Burton, and Cordarrelle Patterson in the passing game could allow Trubisky to have that much needed positive performance.
2.Hold Captain Kerrigan away ruining the party
The Redskins defense has struggled to defend the pass, but they still do have one of the league’s most reliable pass rushers in Ryan Kerrigan. The four-time Pro Bowl linebacker has had three consecutive double-digit sack seasons and picked up his first sack of 2019 last week against the Cowboys. He is also skilled at creating turnovers as he led the league in forced fumbles back in 2014 with five.
With the Redskins secondary already suffering injuries, Kerrigan could be motivated to be the difference-maker on defense Monday Night. The last thing the Bears can afford to see happen is Trubisky be under pressure from a Washington pass rush led by their captain. Keeping Kerrigan blocked will allow the Bears passing game to take advantage of a struggling secondary.
3. Give attention to Washington’s X-Factor on offense
One of the Redskins most underrated offensive weapons is running back Chris Thompson. Thompson, might not be the most effective running the ball but is one of the league’s most reliable pass-catching backs. Through the first two games of 2019, he already has 12 receptions and is averaging close to 10 yards per reception.
The defense must make Thompson a priority because of his ability to pick up short yardage through the passing game. The Redskins could find themselves better third-down situations if their pass-catching running back has a big game. Last week, the Bears defense allowed Denver to convert on 3rd and 15 after Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco hit running back Phillip Lindsay on a check-down pass that went for 19 yards.
4. Don’t let Washington’s ageless wonders make an impact on offense
Washington has two future Hall of Fame players on offense who are towards the end of their careers but still have the ability to have an impact. Running back Adrian Peterson and tight end Vernon Davis have supporting roles on offense and both have already scored touchdowns in 2019. Davis has seven catches for 88 yards through the first two games while Peterson rushed for 1000 yards and seven touchdowns last season for Washington.
Peterson has a long history with the Bears dating back to his time in Minnesota. In 10 seasons with the Vikings, He recorded eight 100 yard rushing games against the Bears. Playing on a big stage against a former rival may motivate Peterson a little bit more on Monday Night. For Washington, they might use their power back to wear down a Bears defense that was exhausted in the fourth quarter against Denver last week.
5. Time for turnovers
One reason why the Bears defense was so successful last season was due in part to their ability to sack the quarterback and create turnovers. Through the first two games of the season, the defense has just one turnover. In the first two games of 2018, the defense forced four turnovers which included two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Last week cornerback Kyle Fuller had a game-saving interception at the goal line to prevent a Broncos score. However, safety Eddie Jackson and linebacker Leonard Floyd both dropped sure-handed interceptions in the second half.
The Bears still have yet to force a fumble in 2019 which is something that they thrived at in 2018. All-Pro Khalil Mack had a sack-strip in the first four games of the season, and the Bears defense as a whole forced six sack-strips in the team’s first three games. Chicago’s defense is performing well right now, but they can’t take that next step until they start creating multiple turnovers each game.