Tag Archives: Allen Robinson

Game Preview: Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons

If you thought Chicago Bears fans were all in on the team’s 2-0 start, think again. While many are not complaining that the Bears are undefeated after their first two games, it seems nobody is planning the championship parade route just yet.

Bears @ Falcons Preview – September 27, 2020 – Noon CT

Records: Chicago Bears (2-0); Atlanta Falcons (0-2)

Last Meeting: September 10, 2017, at Chicago – Falcons 23 – Bears 17

Week 2 Results: Giants 13 @ Bears 17; Falcons 39 @ Cowboys 40

Several factors are leading to the skepticism in Bears nation:

  • The quality of the Bears last two opponents: the Lions and the Giants are a combined 0-4
  • The continued inconsistency of Mitchell Trubisky: one good fourth quarter in the opener against the Lions, and one good first half against the Giants
  • Doubts about whether the Bears’ defense will ever return to top ten form

That the Bears will be taking on another winless team in the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday will probably not do much to change the perceptions by the fans if they happen to win and move to 3-0.

For Atlanta, they are coming off one of their most humiliating defeats in team history; save for their 25-point come from ahead defeat to the Patriots in Super Bowl 51. The video of the Falcons special team players in last Sunday’s game against Dallas inexplicably letting the Cowboys on-side kick attempt roll past 10 yards without falling on the ball has been played on repeat this past week.

Will the Falcons be ill-tempered at kickoff on Sunday, with a chip on their shoulders? Or is this an opportunity where the Bears can kick a team while they are down (and injured)?

When the Bears Have the Ball

As mentioned, the inconsistency of Trubisky remains a problem. Three good quarters of football out of eight remain problematic for the Bears, despite the 2-0 start. His 59 percent completion percentage ranks 26th, and his passer rating of 92.7 percent puts him in the middle of the pack at 18th.

Yes, there are some drops and near misses in those numbers, but that is true for all quarterbacks across the league. Trubisky will have a chance to improve on those numbers against a Falcons defense that has surrendered nearly 40 points per game in the early going. Both Atlanta starting defensive ends Takkarist McKinley and Dante Fowler Jr. are listed as questionable for the game.

So far Chicago has committed to be more balanced on offense in 2020, and this bears out in the number of passing attempts (64) versus rushing attempts (60) through two games. Look for the Bears to continue the trend in running the football, utilizing the trio of David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, and Cordarrelle Patterson to pace the league’s 12th ranked rushing offense in total yards.

If ever there was a game for Allen Robinson to get untracked for the season, this would be the ideal scenario. Teams are completing an astounding 77 percent of their passes against the Falcons for a total of 744 yards through two games. The Falcons also do not have an interception to date. The Falcons secondary is also decimated, with rookie starting cornerback A.J. Terrell placed on the reserve-COVID-19 list, and starting safety Ricardo Allen out with an elbow injury.

When the Falcons Have the Ball

Where the Falcons defense giveth, the Falcons offense taketh. Atlanta comes into the game with the second-ranked passing offense with 351 yards per game, including six touchdowns in the air against only one interception. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan continues to play at a high level, currently ranked ninth in quarterback rating at 110.

The Bears secondary will be thoroughly tested Sunday afternoon, provided Atlanta All-Pro wideout Julio Jones can play. He is currently questionable with a hamstring injury. Even if he doesn’t play, the Falcons boast the league’s top receiver in Calvin Ridley, who has 239 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Look for the Falcons to test Bears rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson, who has impressed in the early going, albeit against lesser caliber receivers than the Falcons present.

The Falcons rushing offense has been less than dynamic, ranked 28th in the league. Todd Gurley II is averaging only 3.34 yards-per-carry and roughly 60 yards rushing per game. The Bears rushing defense improved to 10th in the league with 213 total yards allowed. Part of that improvement was a result of the season-ending knee injury to Giants running back Saquon Barkley early in the first half. Still, this is a game where Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols, and Roy Robertson-Harris need to prove they can contain the Falcons running game nonetheless.

Prediction

Atlanta is hungry for a win and will play fast and will play with an edge. Jones will play despite the hamstring injury, and Ryan and the Atlanta offense will prove too much for the Bears defense to contain. Trubisky and the Bears offense will not be able to keep pace.

Falcons 35 – Bears 24

The Chicago Bears and Draft Day

We’re only a few hours away from the 2020 NFL Draft which was supposed to take place in Las Vegas but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented change had to be made.  The NFL will have it’s first virtual draft from the home of Commissioner Roger Goodell.  It’s like the ultimate “real life” fantasy draft, just think about it.  Don’t worry about it, us fantasy players get it!  The evening’s historic festivities begin with the Cincinnati Bengals picking first.

The first four selections seem to be locked according to several mock drafts starting with Heisman winning QB Joe Burrow of LSU.  Two through four have EDGE Chase Young, cornerback Jeff Okudah (both from Ohio State), and Isaiah Simmons, a linebacker from Clemson going to the Washington RedskinsDetroit Lions, and New York Giants respectively.  Simmons may slip from that fourth slot but the rest of the first round is murky and up in the air. With teams bound to make trades, wheeling and dealing, we’ll just have to see where the chips fall.

Bears and Draft Day

What will Chicago Do

The Chicago Bears and general manager Ryan Pace have an extra day to prepare as they have no first day selections.  Remember the Khalil Mack trade in 2018 with the Oakland Raiders, (now Las Vegas)?  If not, a quick refresher: Chicago’s first-round pick this year (19) was part of the deal; which was well worth Mack.  Bears have seven picks in total this year with the first coming in the second round at 43rd and then 50th, they don’t pick again until the fifth round.  So with that said Pace and the organization really need to make those first two picks difference makers.

What direction will the Bears decide to go?  What direction should they go?  The answer should be simple. Offensive line first, secondly wide receiver and a distant last, safety.  Good thing the draft will be loaded at the most needed positions.  Looking at the offensive line in 2019, besides quarterback, was the most inconsistent part of an offensive unit that failed to score a touchdown in the first half in 11 of 16 games. Chicago ranked in the bottom half of the league in all major offensive categories. 27th in rushing, 25th in passing, 29th in both total yards and scoring, 31st in yards per play and 32nd in yards per pass attempt.

Chicago’s line struggles can be attributed to injuries, pro bowl guard Kyle Long was lost to a hip injury after just 4 games, who has also since retired.  Long was then replaced by Rashaad Coward who was a converted defensive lineman.  Right tackle Bobby Massie suffered an ankle injury that put him on the shelf for the last five games of the season.  Need we say anything more, to compete offensively in the NFL your foundation starts up front.

In regards to wide receiver, it appears that Taylor Gabriel didn’t quite fit the role the team was expecting him to.  As evidenced by Pace releasing the six-year veteran. In two seasons in Chicago Gabriel had 96 receptions, 1041 yards, and six touchdowns.  The Bears now need to add a speedy downfield threat to fill in that slot position.  That would be a welcomed addition for Anthony Miller and Allen Robinson, who led the team with a career-best 98 receptions, 1147 yards, and seven touchdowns.

What Prospects Will the Bears Select?

At this point, it would be easy to say the best offensive lineman available but with the teams first pick not coming until Friday at selection 43, get the best value at positions in need.  Unless there’s a player they’ve targeted that they believe will be there later, then they can work out a trade to move down and possibly get another pick, say, in the 3rd round.  With that being said here are some players the Bears should have an eye on:

  • Justin Jefferson WR LSU – Great hands, physical receiver, 4.4 speed
  • Grant Delpit S LSU – Second-ranked safety prospect, value pick, good size, and coverage skills
  • Cesar Ruiz OL Michigan – True Center would allow Cody Whitehair to move back to his natural guard position
  • KJ Hamler WR Penn State – Second-fastest WR in the draft, strong for his size, 5’9 176lbs, downfield threat

Now time to see if any of these players will be the next Chicago Bear.