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Week 8 game preview: Bears-Chargers

The Bears head to Los Angeles for a Sunday Night Football showdown against the Chargers.

Los Angeles Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears are looking to win two games in a row for the first time in a long, long time.

The Los Angeles Chargers have a lot of firepower but have been underachieving this season.

Their record is almost the same as the Bears (they’ve had their bye week though). However, they are favored by over a touchdown.

Sure, some of that is Tyson Bagent, but it just shows the disparity between the two rosters.

Let’s get into it.

Los Angeles Chargers

SB Nation site: Bolts from the Blue

Record: 2-4, third in the AFC West

Last week: 31-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs

Game day, time, TV: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. CT, NBC

Spread: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bears are 8.5-point underdogs to the Chargers. The total is set at 46.5 points.

Bears all-time record against: 7-6

Historical meetings: Week 5, Oct. 18, 1970. The 0-3-1 Chargers came to Wrigley Field to play the 2-2 Bears.

The Bears opened the scoring with a Dick Gordon TD from QB Jack Concannon.

Chargers’ receiver Gary Garrison was unrecoverable for the Bears’ secondary that day. He roasted them to the tune of eight receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

Lance Alworth added six receptions for 96 yards.

The Chargers won 20-7.

Last meeting: During week 8 of the 2019 season, the Chargers visited Soldier Field.

The Bears took a 9-7 lead into halftime on three second quarter Eddie Pinero field goals.

In the third, David Montgomery added a rushing TD to make it 16-7.

The Chargers took the ball and drove down and got a field goal. The next two Bears possessions were turnovers. The Chargers missed a field goal after the first one but scored a TD following the second.

The Bears and Chargers each traded punts and the Bears got the ball back with 1:33 left.

Trubisky hit Taylor Gabriel for 22 yards and Allen Robinson for 9. Then after a couple of runs, the Bears lined up for a 41-yard field goal with four seconds on the clock.

Pinero missed and the Bears lost 17-16.

Injury report: The Chargers’ lengthy injury report Wednesday included nine players as limited or not participating.


  • S Alohi Gilman (heel)
  • CB Deane Leonard (hamstring)
  • OT Trey Pipkins (ankle)
  • OT Rashawn Slater (shoulder)
  • DT Otito Ogbonnia (knee - PUP)
  • WR Jalen Guyton (knee - PUP)

Did not participate

  • TE Gerald Everett (hip)
  • OLB Khalil Mack (Non-injury rest)
  • WR Josh Palmer (knee)

Offense: The Chargers’ offense comes into the game ranked 11th in points and eighth in yards.

Their passing offense ranks eighth and their rushing offense ranks 16th.

Justin Herbert (67 pct. cmp./1,592 yds./10 TD/4 INT) is playing well, but probably below where the expectations were at the start of the season.

His weapons are receivers Keenan Allen (46 rec./574 yds./4 TD), Josh Palmer (20/353/1), TE Gerald Everett (19/149/2) and rookie Quentin Johnson (7/64/0).

On the ground, Joshua Kelley (65 att./284 yds./2 TD) leads the way, but only because Austin Ekeler (44/189/1) missed a couple of games.

Ekeler is an all-around RB, adding nine receptions for 83 yards to his rushing numbers.

Defense: The Chargers defense ranks 25th in points against and 31st in yards allowed.

The Chargers rank dead last in passing yards allowed and 11th in rushing yards allowed.

Brandon Staley’s Vic Fangio roots haven’t really taken in Los Angeles yet.

But he has some pieces, with former Bear Khalil Mack (7 sk/2 FF/2 PBU/6 TFL/8 QB hits), Joey Bosa (3 sk/3 TFL/1 PBU/4 QB hits), S Derwin James (32 tkl/1 TFL/2 PBU) and Asante Samuel Jr. (29 tkl/2 INT/4 PBU/1 TFL).

Morgan Fox (5 sk/4 TFL/6 QB hits) and Kenneth Murray (43 tkl/2 sk/2 PBU/1 INT/6 TFL/2 QB hits) are also making an impact.

Key matchups: The Bears should again rely on their running game. Ideally, getting Roschon Johnson back to pair with D’Onta Foreman will give them a nice 1-2 punch this week.

Off that, work the play action to potentially take deeper shots than we saw last week. Tyson Bagent isn’t going to get away with the short game forever, but he does need to continue to do what works for him and just take what the defense gives. Expect Staley to dial up the blitzes and to try and confuse the rookie QB and the offensive line.

On defense, the secondary needs to pick up where it left off. The Bears have to get pressure and should use blitzes to do that, because getting pressure from the front four isn’t enough. Pressuring Justin Herbert is a big key.

Key stats

  • The Chargers are +5 in takeaway differential.
  • The Chargers and Bears oddly mirror each other in several areas. Ponts per game (Bears - 11th, Chargers 13th), points allowed per game (Bears - 28th, Chargers - 25th), pass yards allowed (Bears 29th, Chargers - 32nd).
  • Los Angeles ranks 26th in pressure percentage. They blitz 27.5 percent of the time, which ranks 15th in the league.
  • Opposing QBs have the second-highest QB rating against the Chargers defense.
  • Chargers are allowing the fourth-most yards to opposing wide receivers and are tied for the most receiving TDs allowed to opposing WRs (9).

Can the Bears win two in a row? What will it take for the Bears to take down the Chargers on Sunday Night Football?