It’s easy to sound like a broken record with this offense, but playing a clean game against the Saints is going to be key for this Bears offense to have a chance to pull off the upset.
As the Bears prepare for face the Saints, here’s what Chicago’s offense needs to do to get going against New Orlean’s defense in the wild-card round.
Trust Mitchell Trubisky, for better or worse
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It was evident in last week's regular-season finale that Matt Nagy didn't trust Trubisky to not make mistakes in what was, at the time, the biggest game of the season. It ultimately turned out to be a mistake, as Chicago's offense became conservative and was playing not to lose rather than playing to win. If the Bears are going to stand a chance against another high-powered offense in the Saints, Nagy is going to need to trust his quarterback -- for better or worse. Simply dinking and dunking the ball for short, intermediate completions might work for a little bit, it's not going to get the job done against a team that has some of the best playmakers in the game. The Bears are going to need to put up points -- and a lot of them. And that means they're going to need some of the explosive plays that teams like the Saints are known for.
Capitalize on red zone opportunities
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton
The Bears scored 30-plus points in four straight games against the Lions, Texans, Vikings and Jaguars. But none of those teams had a good defense or a winning record. While Chicago's offense has been much improved over the last six weeks, they struggled putting up points against teams -- or team in this case -- with a winning record. Last week against the Packers, the Bears had five trips to the red zone, but they only scored one touchdown after driving inside the Packers' 20-yard line. That's simply not good enough to beat the Packers -- or any playoff team for that matter. If Chicago is going to stand a chance against New Orleans, they can't leave points on the field. Field goals simply aren't going to cut it against the Saints.
Establish the run
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
The last time the Bears and Saints met, David Montgomery had 89 rushing yards on 21 carries, which was extremely good considering Chicago's makeshift offensive line back in Week 8 and the fact that the Bears couldn't run the football until six weeks ago. The Bears offense has found an identity, and it starts with running the football with Montgomery, and they need to do more of the same on Sunday. This is going to be a big challenge for Chicago's new and improved offensive line, which will face the fourth-ranked run defense in the league with New Orleans. But the Bears need to continue to play their game on offense -- which means leaning on the strength of the run, be it Montgomery, Cordarrelle Patterson or even getting Trubisky using his legs.