On Monday night, the Bears (3-8) take on the Minnesota Vikings (6-5) at U.S. Bank Stadium. The following three elements ought to improve their chances of winning the match:
(1) Managing the various and frequent blitzes in Minnesota.
The Vikings defence, which has blitzed on 54.8% of pass plays this season—the highest percentage by an NFL team since the 2019 Ravens—will take on the Bears on Monday night.
Luke Getsy, the offensive coordinator, stated, “The challenge is real.” Nobody does it as much, as frequently, or in as many different forms as these guys do. I believe that coach [Brian] Flores has done an excellent job of coordinating those guys and they have figured out how to exert a great deal of pressure on people.”
The Vikings recorded five sacks in their 19-13 victory over the Bears on October 15 at Soldier Field. Justin Fields was forced out of the game early in the second half due to a dislocated right thumb. Later, backup quarterback Tyson Bagent was sacked by Minnesota’s defence, which resulted in a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown.
“I felt like we made too many mental mistakes last time we played them,” Fields stated. “We are superior to that. We’re superior to the game we recorded on tape.”
In order to succeed, Fields stated that the Bears must be “on our Ps and Qs each and every play, locked in and getting the ball out fast when we need to when they do bring that pressure.”
Getsy doesn’t think the Vikings will stick to their defensive strategy from their meeting on October 15.
“They do a good job of changing things up each week,” Getsy stated. “They are so dynamic because of their personnel, who enable them to be so adaptable that players don’t have to line up in the same spot to perform the same action every time. They have several guys with a wide range of abilities.”
Fields has completed 58.8% of his passes this year, with four touchdowns, two interceptions, and an 88.8 passer rating against blitzes, according to Pro Football Focus.
Following a four-game absence due to a thumb injury, the third-year professional displayed impressive play during his comeback last Sunday in Detroit. Fields ran for 104 yards, the most by any NFL quarterback this season, and completed 16 of 23 passes for 169 yards with one touchdown and a 105.2 passer rating in a 31-26 loss to the Lions.
(2) Joshua Dobbs, quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.
With five sacks in their past two games, the Bears will need to produce a steady pass rush against Kirk Cousins’ replacement.
Seven of Minnesota’s eight touchdowns over the course of three games have come from Dobbs, who was acquired on October 31 in a trade with the Cardinals. Dobbs led the Vikings to a 31-28 comeback victory on Nov. 5 against the Falcons after Jaren Hall left the game with a concussion. Despite not participating in any practise reps the week before, Dobbs passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third.
Coach of the cornerbacks and coordinator of the passing game Jon Hoke called it “very impressive.” “Guy sustains injuries. After arriving on Wednesday, he goes about his business. He moves around a lot. We are all aware of his intelligence. It is truly amazing what he has been able to accomplish for their team thus far. The man deserves a great deal of credit, and their coaches should also receive a great deal of credit for preparing them.”
Dobbs, a dual threat who leads both Minnesota and Arizona with three rushing touchdowns this season, is different from Cousins, who is out for the season due to a torn Achilles tendon.
“It stresses your defence in different ways,” Hoke stated. “At this point, your rush lanes must be excellent. We always say, ‘four equals one,’ and using the rush lanes requires having that mindset. When playing man coverage, you have to be strategic because the defenders will now be running after players and will be focusing on him. In order to rush the passer while still being able to take responsibility for him, you need to have people in place. That certainly makes things more complicated.”
The Bears hope to generate more takeaways against Dobbs, who leads the NFL this season with 14 fumbles and seven lost fumbles. Last Sunday, the Bears produced a season-high four takeaways against the Lions, including three interceptions. He has fumbled six times and been sacked six times in his three games with Minnesota.
In the game at Soldier Field on October 15, the Bears defence aimed to repeat its performance, which included holding Minnesota’s offence to season lows in first downs (12), total yards (220), and touchdowns (1).
(3) Conclude forcefully.
On their home field last Sunday, the Bears outplayed the NFC North-leading Lions for three and a half quarters, eventually gaining a 26-14 lead late in the contest. However, in the last 2:59 of the game, Detroit rallied for a 31-26 victory thanks to mistakes on both sides of the ball, scoring 17 points in a row.
The Bears are committed to improving going forward and taking note of their mistakes. “The mindset is the foundation,” coach Matt Eberflus stated. That is the location of your foundational floor. What comes next is the execution part of it: What shall we do? How will we go about doing this? And how can we act in a timely and accurate manner? Our mentality is to finish, to make the right decisions both on offence and defence, and also for the guys to execute and the playmakers to step up and make those plays. That’s precisely where we are at.