LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Chicago Bears can’t ignore the passing game forever.
A team won’t be able to consistently string together wins with a 54-17 run-pass ratio on offense, like the Bears had in their 27-24 overtime win at Baltimore.
Through six weeks, the Bears rank third in rushing offense (136.0) but 28th in passing offense (170.8).
The team has just eight pass plays of 20-plus yards in 2017 – and two of those were by non-quarterbacks (Tarik Cohen and O’Donnell).
But for now, the Bears know they have to stick with what works.
“I know sports are an entertainment business, but we still have to win games,” Bears right guard Kyle Long said. “Right now the best opportunity we have to give ourselves a chance to win is to pound the rock. We understand with our personnel and our running backs we can put ourselves in pretty good position to keep our defense off the field and have them fresh and ready to get the ball back in our hands.”
There are multiple reasons why the Bears defense thrived in Week 6.
First off, the Ravens are a complete mess on offense; beginning with quarterback Joe Flacco, who isn’t moving well because of a bad back and – similar to Bears rookie Mitchell Trubisky – has limited options to work with at wide receiver. Additionally, the Ravens are all banged up on their offensive line.
But the Bears also won the time of possession battle 38:51 – 31:09 – again, because the offense controlled the clock by rushing for 231 yards on 54 carries.
It’s a given that Trubisky will be asked to attempt more and more throws each passing week, but the Bears can’t stray too far from their established game plan.
The only real shot they have on Sunday – even though Carolina’s run defense ranks fifth in the NFL – is with a strong rushing attack to take pressure off Trubisky.
“You guys know me -- I like to throw the football,” Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “I’m a quarterback guy. But it’s the understanding of whatever it takes to win and it all goes to the guys up front.
"When you average 4.5 yards a carry, you can do that. It’s easy to do that there. It’s when you’re averaging 2 and 3 and then all of sudden, you’re putting your quarterback in third-and-extra-long the whole time -- you can’t play that type game. And that type game isn’t fun if you don’t win the game. The reward is you win and the guys up front did a great job. The run-game guys did a great job designing a good plan and our guys executed well.”