Good morning. Week 4 puts the Chicago Bears at something of a pivotal point.
On the one hand, the Bears are 2-1, having rushed for 461 yards combined over their last two games. They took the ball away twice against Davis Mills and the Houston Texans. Roquan Smith displayed a dominant performance and finished it off by reeling in a tipped pass to set the Bears up for their game-winning field goal.
On the other hand, the 281 yards the Bears rushed for last week eclipses the team’s total net passing yards over the first three games. Justin Fields and his motley crew of receivers have been less than inspiring. The good signs flashing through preseason and week one have started to fade a little, and while there’s still time to pick it up, week four has to start with some signs of life. Throwing for 100 yards in the air again (for the first time since the rain game) would be a start.
Today though, the Bears get to look in the mirror and see another 2-1 team whose top-4 rushing attack exceeds their passing with a similar net-yards-per-passing-attempt to their own in the New York Giants, who dropped their Monday Night Football game against the Cowboys to fall to 2-1 on the season. Like David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert, Saquon Barkley has been the primary weapon of effectiveness for Brian Daboll’s crew, and if there’s one receiver in this game who has crossed the 100-yard threshold for the season, it’ll be Giants primary punt returner Ritchie James (also Sterling Shepard, who was placed on IR after the Cowboys game).
The good news is, if last week’s edition of Football Returned to the Forties excited you, this week’s may as well, as just like last week’s game, the Giants aren’t great at stopping the run either (5.3 rushing yards per attempt allowed, 28th in NFL). And in other stats that should make the Navy and Orange happy, the Giants have collected 3 sacks on the year while allowing 13, and thus far, no picks.
Onward to 3-1. Bear Down, my friends.
... Wait, wrong song. That’s 4-1. Although it is proof that a team from the state of Illinois wearing Navy and Orange can go into the state of Wisconsin and win a football game after a long track record of not doing so. Let me fix the jukebox here...
Today’s WCG Sunday Livestream runs solo one more time, but nonetheless has several important things to talk about today - about Justin Fields, about the passing game surrounding Justin Fields, about the development of Justin Fields, and I guess we have last week’s game to talk about. Oh, and the debut of Velus Jones, Jr.
Of course, we welcome comments and questions, and you can throw them at us in all the usual fashions:
- The comments. Look down, they’re still there.
- Over on the Twitch site.
- Over on the Twitters. I’m at @SJS_illini. Sam’s at @SamHouseholder. The main site is over at @WCGridiron.
We’ll see you at the usual 9:30 AM CT. See you then.