There are no words for the Bears Week 3 performance. They got absolutely lambasted, eviscerated, embarrassed, shamed, wrecked, destroyed, and annihilated. Okay, so there are a few words for what happened to the Bears last week. After getting pasted Week 1 by a Rams team that looks scary good, and squeaking by the not-expected-to-contend Bengals, Matt Nagy’s Bears forgot they get paid to play football in Week 3. Nagy is in a tough position. He’s largely been successful as the Bears’ head coach, posting a 29-21 career record and leading the Bears to the playoffs in two out of three seasons. It’s easy to forget he won coach of the year in 2018. It’s easy to forget because he’s never won a playoff game (0-2) and made the playoffs last year with an 8-8 record. The NFL is a what have you done for me lately league, and Nagy hasn’t done much lately. Now he is tasked with deciding who to start at QB between Justin Fields, Andy Dalton, and Nick Foles (yes, he’s still around).
Nagy hasn’t always been the sharpest coach in the NFL, but he’s also not a total clown, and he can figure out that no matter which QB starts this week, his best chance is to win on the ground. Expect the Bears to try and pound David Montgomery for as long as they can to overpower the Lions in the trenches. If the run game fails, the manner and style of which the Bears take to the air will depend on who’s throwing the passes, but this is a situation Nagy will try to avoid. Expect a conservative game plan and a “hide the QB” approach for as long as the scoreboard allows.
It’s hard not to root for the Lions. They have one of the least talented rosters in recent memory and started the year against three teams expected to contend (49ers/Packers/Ravens). All three of those games should have been blowouts. Instead, the Lions roared back against the 49ers, shell shocked the Packers, and pushed Ravens to an NFL record 66-yard FG off the bar as time expired. If the Ravens have the second-best kicker in the league, the Lions are 1-2.
Dan Campbell gave us a glimpse of how he’d like to attack in a game where his team isn’t trying to catch up. The Lions ran an almost perfectly balanced attack, throwing 31 times versus 27 team carries; this despite being down 13 midway through the third quarter, which shows the Lions are willing to stay balanced even when losing if the game is close. The Lions are still trying to figure out their identity as a team. So far they have been willing to throw over 50 passes when trailing early, and willing to stay balanced throughout the game when the score is within reach. Since the Bears are unlikely to push the Lions, expect them to remain balanced throughout this game, skewing slightly towards the pass. The relative weakness of the Bears defense on paper is their cornerbacks but last week’s game showed their front seven is vulnerable to a good run game, as the Brows lit them up for 215 yards on the ground. The Lions running game isn’t nearly as strong as the Browns, but if the game remains tight expect the Lions to stick with it until the end.
This game opened with a minuscule 42.5 total, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see it get bet down. This is a matchup between two bad teams and points will be at a premium for both sides in what is likely to be an uneventful affair. The Bears are a modest three point home favorites, indicating this is an even game on a neutral field. The most likely way this plays out is a mistake filled game (especially if Justin Fields is at the helm for the Bears), with the Bears running game being able to do just enough to secure a sloppy victory.
There are possible tributaries, but none of them deserve their own writeup. One scenario is the scrappy Lions, that just brawled against three contending teams, come into Chicago and lay one on the Bears who are the weakest competition they have faced this season. It’s hard to say the Lions and “lay one on” in the same sentence, but it is possible in this spot.