NFL Playoffs: Why Bears' key to beating Saints could be David Montgomery

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Alex Shapiro
·2 min read
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2 keys for Bears to beat Saints on Sunday, per Peter King originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

No one said it was going to be easy. We all know how the Bears had to claw their way back into the playoff picture after a disastrous six-game losing streak. But now that they’re in, Pro Football Talk’s Peter King says the real challenge has just begun.

“Of the six match ups, the one that I think is going to be toughest for the underdog team and the road team is the Chicago Bears going into New Orleans,” King told NBC Sports. “Now, you might say, well, of course it's going to be tough. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara-- Alvin Kamara coming back, maybe even Michael Thomas coming back-- of course, it's going to be hard for the Bears.”

But as hard as it will be for the Bears to beat the Saints, King thinks there is a path for them to follow for the upset. Specifically, he says the team will have to follow two guidelines.

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“Number one, is feed David Montgomery,” King said. “He got hot near the end of the year, finished with 1,070 yards after, in midseason basically being a nonfactor. So I think they've got to feed David Montgomery consistently throughout this game. I think that's number one.

“Number two, put Mitchell Trubisky in manageable situations. And so what I mean is, if it's third-and-long, you know what, do a pitch out. You know, do a reverse. Do something like that. Don't force Mitchell Trubisky into situations that have given him trouble in the past.”

A lot of that seems to be determined by who is calling the plays. When Matt Nagy announced Bill Lazor would take over playcalling duties, the Bears started focusing more on the run, and running plays that suit Trubisky better. Things like bootlegs, and stretching the field horizontally.

But prior to the Packers game, Ian Rapoport reported that Nagy had “taken much more of a heavier hand in play-calling.” That game the Bears offense sputtered to a 16-point performance, after scoring 30+ points four weeks in a row.

While we don't know who called what play in which sequence, too many cooks in the kitchen could spoil the special sauce the Bears created over their three-game win streak.

“Look, Trubisky has had a good last four to five weeks of the season,” King said. “He was exposed against a good defense with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. And that's why I say it's so important to have David Montgomery have a very big game in this game.”