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Three Keys Against the Colts: Offense

Wait... is that... is that a... <em>smile?!</em>
Wait... is that... is that a... smile?!

1. Start Out Big, Get the Lead

The Bears' offense can do the whole team a huge favor if they get out in front of the Colts early, especially going to Brandon Marshall. The thing about Marshall's NFL-record 21 receptions the last time he played against Indianapolis - a lot of that came in checkdown situations and a lot of that came as a result of Indy jumping out to a 14-0 lead, but he still had 200 yards and two touchdowns. I'd never say that a player getting lots of receptions is a bad thing, but it's not a stretch to say he's not going to get close to 21 receptions in this game.

And by getting a lead early, much like the Bears did against the Lions last year in the second game, it puts the onus on the other quarterback to make lots of plays to get back in the game. Luck may not be playing with a broken finger (or with the wind turned on), but an early lead could force the Colts to make the rookie beat them. I wouldn't say scoring on the third play of the game is a requirement, but points on the first couple drives would go a long way.

2. Know where Freeney and Mathis are at all times

While the Colts are transitioning to a 3-4, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis still know how to get after the quarterback, and pass protection hasn't been the Bears' strong suit. We can hope that changes, but for now, it's important to know where those two are at all times. If the new offensive plan involves rollouts, we can probably expect to see plenty, especially early on.

3. Use the run game

With the one-two punch of Matt Forte and Michael Bush, the Bears have a very good, highly-paid pair of running backs that can do some damage - so let them do so. Whether it be draws, screens, or just straight-ahead smashmouth football, Forte and Bush have the potential for some serious big plays and play-action rollouts for Cutler to complete passes to Marshall. For what it's worth, last year's edition of the Colts faced the most rushing attempts in the NFL and allowed the 4th-most rushing yards and 3rd-most rushing touchdowns. I'd expect some improvement there this year, but make their new 3-4 stop the run game.