It has become blatantly obvious to even the most casual of Bears fans that their first down production rate is unacceptable. The Bears show cased their inability to move the ball on first down last week in their 23-6 win over the St. Louis Rams.
Of the club’s 10 first-down plays in the first quarter, just four gained positive yardage. Three were incomplete passes, two were penalties and one gained no yardage at all.
The Bears improved in the second quarter with positive gains and a touchdown on 5 of 9 first-down plays, but on the other four plays the Bears lost a total of nine yards.
The constant stream of false starts, holding penalties, an inability to create separation at the line of scrimmage and frankly poor play calling on the part of OC Mike Tice, is killing any and all momentum on offense. The constant stream of long yardage situations on second and third down is not conducive to an efficient offense.
In a game of stating the obvious, star wide receiver Brandon Marshall to say on the current state of the Bears offense.
“You can’t win in this league when you’re in a lot of second-and-long, third-and-longs, we need to clean that up, but I really like what we’re doing (in the game plan this week).”
With Tice alluding to the fact that he may have to roll out some max protection plays on passing downs this week, in order to help a beleaguered line that has given up 11 sacks, six quarterback hits and 21 quarterback pressures, across three games, it is hard to see how the Bears will cure this problem against the top ranked defense in the NFL.
One way of course could be if the Bears finally start using Michael Bush and if he is fit Matt Forte in the correct manner. The Bears have had success in previous seasons running screens yet have seemed reluctant so far this year to use this ploy.
In truth the only way I can see the Bears offense besting the Cowboys defense, is if they make a real concerted effort to establish the running game early on.
So far the opening drives for the Bears this season have seen 2 sacks for a combined loss of 25 yards, and a Bush rushing attempt that gained 12 yards. As we can gather the Bears are setting the tone early o n in these games, starting off the back foot from the word go.
If this offense ever wants to be the championship worthy or even be considered as explosive, it has to figure out a way to move the ball efficiently on first down. Monday night against the Cowboys would be a good place to start.