A weekly look at what the Chicago Bears must fix:
Chicago’s offense significantly improved at counterpunching its opponent’s in-game adjustments in Sunday’s win over the Atlanta Falcons, and the Bears need to continue in that direction to capture their first home victory of the season when they host the Miami Dolphins.
In their previous two games, the Bears had been outscored 27-3 in the second half. But they scored 14 points in the second half Sunday and were able to respond when the Falcons scored the first 10 points of the third quarter. They did it by tossing in a mixture of vertical shots downfield with the short passing game. As a result, Jay Cutler finished 8-of-13 on throws of 10 yards or more downfield for a total of 239 yards, including completions of 74, 47, 26, 25 and 19 yards.
For Chicago to continue to achieve success with the vertical passing game, it needs to do a better job of protecting Cutler, especially at the tackle position. The Bears gave up three sacks and a few hits on Cutler as left tackle Michael Ola and right tackle Jordan Mills struggled. Mills put together arguably his worst performance of the season. Ola, meanwhile, isn’t expected to be in the lineup this week as starter Jermon Bushrod is expected to return from knee and ankle injuries.
“I know that nobody is more disappointed than Jordan,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said of Mills, who was also flagged for three presnap penalties. “Those are unacceptable. I think Jordan has played very well the last year and a half. Yesterday wasn’t one of his best games. But I don’t think that’s a lingering thing. I know he wants some of those plays back, certainly. He didn’t play as well as he’s played other weeks, but he certainly played well enough for us to win the game.”
Another performance like that by Mills or anyone else on the offensive line might not be sufficient against a Miami defense, which features talented pass-rushers Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake, who have combined for seven sacks on the season.