The Bears are 1-0 for the first time since 2013. No matter that it took a 17-point fourth-quarter comeback and a Detroit dropped pass in the final seconds to do it.
The quest for 2-0 runs through the New York Giants on Sunday at Soldier Field. Here’s five things to know about the Bears’ home opener.
The Bears are back on the lake shore. The fans are not.
The team returns to Soldier Field for what will be a subdued home opener with no fans in the stands. This will be unlike any Bears home game played in the organization’s 100-year history.
According to the team’s official attendance numbers (which typically measures the number of tickets sold, not actual butts in seats), the fewest fans the Bears have played in front of during a home game since moving to Soldier Field in 1971 was 29,157 during a Dec. 16, 1973, contest against the Green Bay Packers.
Not surprisingly, all of the Bears’ least attended home games since 1971 have come in December, usually during losing seasons.
Bears pass rush
The Giants offensive line was not impressive in Monday night’s loss to the Steelers. The Steelers sacked quarterback Daniel Jones three times and had eight total QB hurries.
“X’s and O's are just X's and O's, but it all depends on beating the guy and outplaying the guy that's in front of you,” defensive tackle John Jenkins said.
David Montgomery and the Bears’ run game
Pittsburgh backup running back Benny Snell piled up 113 yards on 19 carries against the Giants after starting running back James Conner went down with an injury.
Enter David Montgomery and the Bears, who ran pretty efficiently against the Lions last week. The Bears are seventh in the league in rushing through Week 1, which is a small sample size. With quarterback Mitch Trubisky under center more, the Bears found a groove running the ball in the first half.
They should find ways to do so against New York.
It’s fair to assume Saquon Barkley will not have another 15-carry, six-yard rushing performance, maybe ever. Even with a porous Giants offensive line, it’s hard for any defense to contain a playmaker like Barkley.
A year ago, the Bears held Barkley to a modest 59 yards on 17 carries in a Week 12 win at Soldier Field. That is what success would look like this week, although the Bears would love to make it six yards or fewer.
“The guy can be running full speed, jump over the top of a guy, land on one foot, spin, put his hand down, keep his balance, keep running north and south, gaining more yards,” defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said. “This guy’s a special, special talent.”
The first quarter
Not surprisingly, the Bears want to play better early in the game. They struggled all of 2019 in the first quarter, and that theme continued into Week 1 of 2020.
Third-down efficiency is paramount. The Bears converted only 2-of-11 third downs against the Lions.
The Bears played with a good tempo to start the game, but didn’t find that same rhythm again until the fourth quarter.
“[Trubisky] played at another level in that fourth quarter,” head coach Matt Nagy said this week. “Man, if we could get four quarters of that, you can see what could happen. So every game's a little different. He figured things out: ‘OK, where could I get better?’ Well third down and a couple places in the red zone, Mitch would tell you, ‘Well, we could get better there.’”