3 Keys to the Game: Buccaneers vs. Bears

Offensive Line
Yes, this key to the game is just “offensive line”. The entire o-line was downright terrible against the Green Bay Packers. They allowed 25 pressures and 23 hurries according to PFF, which is the worst in either category since week 14 in 2021, when they played, you guessed it, the Packers. They were atrocious across the board and if they want to win, they need to step it up against the Buc’s strong defensive line. Not only does the pass blocking need to improve, the run blocking does as well. Only one Bears offensive lineman had above a 60 PFF grade in run blocking. That is not acceptable for a team that had the best rushing offense last season. Overall, if the Bears want to win, the Offensive line needs to improve on all levels.

Stop the Run
The Buccaneers have lost a lot of important players over the past couple seasons, the biggest of which being Scotty Miller, obviously. In all seriousness, losing Tom Brady, arguably the greatest QB of all time, and replacing him with Baker Mayfield will take a toll on the offense. They have already leaned more heavily on the run, rushing the ball 30 times in their win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. They have 30 or more rushing attempts in a single game only 10 times in the past three seasons. When they do run the ball, they have success but when they don’t, they find themselves in tough situations. In all nine of their losses last season, they rushed for under 100 yards. If the Bears can limit their run game, they have a much better chance at a win. The Bears run defense held the Packers to only 91 rushing yards, with lead back Aaron Jones having only 41. If they can replicate that performance against the Buc’s, they will greatly improve their chances at winning.

Air it Out
The Bears had an embarrassing showing on Sunday in all aspects of the game, but none worse than the passing game. While Justin Fields did struggle, he wasn’t the main problem. Luke Getsy and the game plan he called was unbelievably incompetent. There were only two passes of 20+ yards and both were completed, with one being a touchdown. 30 of his passes were either behind the line of scrimmage or within nine yards. With receivers like D.J. Moore and Darnell Mooney, it is absurd that there weren’t more passes deep downfield. If the Bears want to beat the Buccaneers, they need to trust Justin Fields and air the ball out, letting him throw it down the field. Throughout his football career, he has proven that he is an elite deep passer and if he is given the chance, he can continue to be one. If the Bears can effectively pass the ball down field, they have a great chance at getting their first win of the season.

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