Are the Chargers good? That’s been a hard question to answer for most of this millennium and it still is.
At 2-4, they’re just a hair ahead of the 2-5 Bears. But they have the two things every team wants: a quarterback and a pass rush. And that alone presents quite a challenge for the Bears.
As they try to win back-to-back games for the first time since late in the 2021 season, here’s how the Bears can have a chance against Justin Herbert, Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa:
Follow a similar offensive formula to last week’s
In their win over the Raiders, the Bears pounded the run, asked rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent to operate a conservative passing attack and got a pick-six from cornerback Jaylon Johnson. It’ll take something like that again, but better. They need a 200-yard rushing game, something they did seven times last season — albeit with Justin Fields at quarterback. They need Bagent to throw for 200 yards. And they need help with at least two instant scoring opportunities (or outright touchdowns) created by the defense.
Shut down the Chargers’ running game
The Chargers are a middling rushing team at 4.1 yards per carry and 111.8 yards per game. The Bears are holding opponents to an NFL-low 3.4 yards per carry. If they minimize the Chargers’ ground game, it’ll force Justin Herbert to spend the whole game throwing. But that creates its own problem…
Most teams would love to force opposing quarterbacks to throw 50 times. But Herbert can turn that into 400 yards and three touchdowns. The defenses that have managed him well this season, including the Chiefs holding him to 259 yards and a 68.6 passer rating with two interceptions, have mostly been able to get pressure with their pass rush. The Chiefs pressured Herbert on 22.2% of his drop backs and sacked him five times. The Raiders pressured him 26.7% of the time in a game in which they held the Chargers to 24 points but still lost. The Bears are getting pressure on 16.5% of opponent pass plays, which ranks 29th.