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Film Study

Film Study: Scouting Matt Nagy's Chicago Bears


The Bears are coming off a 27-23 victory against the Lions, putting up 21 straight points in the fourth quarter to secure the win. Here is what you can expect to see from them in Chicago:

When the Bears Have The Ball…

* Mitch Trubisky made plays down the stretch of the game, completing 8 of 10 passes for 89 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with a 104.2 quarterback rating and completed 56% of his passes. According to Pro Football Focus advanced accuracy metrics, Trubisky was accurate on 38.7% of his passes. He did flash some high-end pinpoint accuracy, with an 11th-best "plus accuracy" rate (16.1%), which indicates a perfectly thrown pass. Trubisky was most productive targeting the intermediate area in the middle of the field (10-19 yards between the numbers), completing 6 of 8 passes for 111 yards. Trubisky ran for 26 yards and has the ability to create extra time in the pocket.

* The Bears hired Bill Lazor to be their offensive coordinator this year. He is using less pre-snap motion and shifts than the Bears used under previous offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich. According to PFF, in Week 1 they hovered around the league average in their use of shifts and motion. The Bears used two or three tight ends on 20 of their 65 offensive plays last week. The Bears were in shotgun for about half of their offensive plays, which is a drop from last season (75%).

* The Bears offensive line did well against the Lions last week, allowing only one sack and 17 total pressures, which was just about league average, according to PFF. They return veterans Charles Leno Jr. at left tackle and Bobby Massie at right tackle. In Week 1, Leno and Massie didn't allowed any quarterback hits or sacks. James Daniels, Cody Whitehair, and Germain Ifedi play inside from left to right.

* Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller are the Bears' two primary wide receivers. Robinson has a huge catch radius at 6-3 and 211 pounds. He took 34 snaps outside in Week 1, with 20 coming in the slot. Miller, at 5-11 and 190 pounds, played all but two of his snaps inside. The rest of the receiver snaps were split between veteran speedster Ted Ginn Jr., Darnell Mooney and Javon Wims.

* The Bears attacked downfield more than every NFL team but one in Week 1, with nine attempts targeted more than 20 yards down the field. Their three completions of 20 or more yards were tied for ninth most in the league. The Bears will run their slot receivers on go-routes down the field, which is how Anthony Miller caught the game-winning touchdown in Week 1. Overall, the Bears had 17 plays of 10 or more yards, which was tied for fifth-most in the NFL.

* The Bears struggled on third downs in Week 1, converting on only 18.2% of their opportunities (2-11).

* The Bears were a heavy rush team on first down, running 61.3% on first-and-10, which was tied for the eighth-highest rate in the league, and 58% their first down rushes gained four or more yards, which was the eighth-highest rate in the league. They did try to run a lot of play action off those early runs, with 12 over the course of the game (tied for 11th-most in the NFL).

* David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen split the team's running back reps, with Cordarrelle Patterson getting a spot rep here or there. Montgomery is the between the tackles grinder. He was limited in practice last week with a groin injury he suffered during training camp, but still played 29 snaps. He rushed 13 times for 64 yards. According to PFF, 46 of those yards came after contact.

* Tarik Cohen, just 5-6 and 181 pounds, rushed the ball only seven times for 41 yards and caught two passes for six yards. He lined up as a receiver seven times during the game, and returned five punts. He is elusive and dynamic in space.

* Jimmy Graham is the Bears' starting tight end (52 snaps, 3 catches for 25 yards), with rookie Cole Kmet (20 snaps) and Demetrius Harris (26 snaps) splitting the other reps.

When The Giants Have The Ball…

* The Lions gained 426 yards against the Bears last week, the fourth-most allowed in the NFL. The Bears ranked 22nd in yards allowed per play (5.92). Matthew Stafford threw for 297 yards and completed 57% of his passes. Detroit ran for 138 yards on 29 carries.

* The Bears mix up their coverages with a lot of different zone looks under defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. They ran Cover 1 or Cover Zero just 12 times in Week 1. Against Detroit, they aligned with two safeties deep on most plays before shifting after the snaps to fit the play's responsibilities. According to PFF, Detroit attempted only four passes of 20 or more yards through the air, but they did manage nine pass plays of 15 or more yards (tied for second-most in the league).  

* The Bears pass rush managed one sack against the Lions, and they pressured Matthew Stafford on 14 of his 51 drop-backs. Their 27.5% pressure rate was ranked 17th in the NFL in Week 1. They achieved that rate despite only blitzing 10 times. Their 19.6% blitz rate was the ninth-lowest in the NFL. They only ran nine stunts,, which was also the ninth-fewest in the NFL. When the Bears blitzed, Stafford had a quarterback rating of 147.32.

* The Bears have a pair of very productive edge rushers: Robert Quinn and Khalil Mack. Quinn missed Week 1 with an ankle injury but he returned to practice this week. He had 11.5 sacks for the Cowboys last year. According to PFF, Mack managed five hurries and one quarterback hit against the Lions last week. He led the team with a 18.6% pass rush win rate. Mack lined up 40% of the time over the left tackle, and 60% of the time over the right tackle. Historically, Quinn has played most of his snaps as a right end. If he plays, it is likely Mack lines up primarily against Cameron Fleming. Barkevious Mingo and James Vaughters are their other edge defenders.

* Akiem Hicks returns this year after missing 11 games in 2019. He had the Bears lone sack on Sunday, and added a quarterback hurry. He will play on the left side as a defensive end in the Bears base defense or as a three-technique defensive tackle in even man fronts. Rarely bringing an extra safety into the box to help against the run, the Bears allowed six runs of ten yards or more against Detroit, which was the third-most in the NFL. It will be interesting if they try a similar tact with Saquon Barkley this week.

* Veteran Danny Trevathan and former 2018 top-10 pick Roquan Smith are the team's three down inside linebackers. Both players played more than 70 snaps in Week 1 and combined for 14 tackles and one tackle for loss. Smith weighs only 230 pounds but he has the speed to run sideline to sideline. Trevathan was placed on injured reserve late last season with an elbow injury.

* Eddie Jackson is the Bears' ball hawk in the secondary that the Giants will have to be most aware of. It was his play on a Matthew Stafford pass in the fourth quarter last week that set up Trubisky's game-winning touchdown. He came down from his free safety position to cut off a receiver running an intermediate crossing route and knocked the football up in the air and right to cornerback Kyle Fuller for the interception. On most plays, Jackson is the Bears' free safety. He has excellent anticipation skills which has helped him compile 10 interceptions in his first three seasons. Tashaun Gipson is the Bears strong safety.

* Kyle Fuller is the team's top cornerback. He took 69 of his 79 snap last week as the team's left outside cornerback. According to PFF, he allowed just one catch on six targets for 7 yards. Second-round pick Jaylon Johnson had a strong debut as the team's starting right cornerback. According to PFF he forced two incompletions and allowed only two catches on six targets for 40 yards.

* According to PFF's tracking, the Lions did most of their damage against the Bears in the middle of the field. Nickel cornerback Buster Skrine, and linebackers Smith and Trevathan were responsible for 183 of the Lions passing yards.

Special Teams…

* The Bears have two dangerous returners with punt returner Tarik Cohen, and kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson. Both players are explosive and elusive with the ball in their hands.

* Kicker Cairo Santos made both of his field goals last week (35 and 27 yards) and all three of his extra points.

View photos of the Chicago Bears' starters ahead of the Week 2 matchup against the Giants.


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