Close connections create complications for Colts, Bears
The Chicago Bears could face their toughest test yet this season when they host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon.
Chicago (3-0) enters Week 4 as one of seven unbeaten teams to start the 2020 campaign. It has been an unorthodox path to perfection for the Bears, who have won all three games by four-point margins. Furious three-TD rallies at Detroit Week 1 and in Atlanta last week with Nick Foles at the controls off the bench helped carve a most unpredictable path.
“It has truly taken everybody,” Bears tight end Jimmy Graham, who has three receiving touchdowns to lead the team. “It’s truly taken every player, every coach — offense, defense and special teams — to pull out these wins. And when you’re able to do things like this … that’s when you know you’re building something special.”
Foles heads into the Colts game as the Bears’ clear-cut No. 1 signal-caller after replacing teammate Mitchell Trubisky in the third quarter last week. Foles engineered a fourth-quarter rally to knock off the Atlanta Falcons and seize the starting job going forward.
For Foles and the Bears, the challenge figures to be tougher this week against the Colts (2-1). The Colts are guided by Frank Reich. The second-year head coach was with the Philadelphia Eagles as quarterback coach — and Foles’ bible study partner, meeting room mentor and friend — when Foles replaced Carson Wentz and won Super Bowl MVP.
“He was the one who really figured me out as a player,” Foles said of Reich’s tutelage in 2017.
Indianapolis is coming off back-to-back wins over the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets.
The Colts rolled to a 36-7 victory over New York last week thanks in large part to an aggressive defense that registered two sacks and three interceptions against Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.
The Colts have allowed only 225.3 yards per game, which is the best mark in the NFL. They’ll have plans to get Foles out of a rhythm.
“Nick is about as unflappable of a person as I’ve ever been around,” Foles said. “”He’s a very unique player in that regard. Extremely talented. He’s a big-time passer; this guy, he just has this knack for making big plays like few I’ve ever seen, and then he has this knack for coming up big in big moments. In the biggest moments, that’s usually when he’s at his best. … He’s a stud, man.”
Colts veteran quarterback Philip Rivers has skillfully managed the offense, completing 17 of 21 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown in his latest game. Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor added 59 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Taylor credited Rivers with setting the tone for the calm-and-steady Colts.
“Seventeen years, there’s not one defensive scheme that you can put in his face that he doesn’t have an answer to,” Taylor said. “When you have a guy who has experience like that, you know that you’re in good hands.”
The line of scrimmage could decide this showdown, and a special matchup is likely to take place on the interior as Colts offensive lineman Quenton Nelson goes up against Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks.
Chicago’s defense as a whole will look for a better performance in Week 4. The Bears are No. 15 in the league with 364.0 yards allowed per game, and they have not yet shown the elite performance they hoped to achieve.
This is the first time the Bears and Colts have met since 2016, when Indianapolis held on for a 29-23 win at home. The Colts lead the all-time series 24-19 but have lost two of the last three matchups.
The Bears will be without dynamic running back Tarik Cohen, who tore his ACL last week against Atlanta and will miss the rest of the season. Cohen’s absence could mean a heavier workload for David Montgomery, and former Oregon State running back Artavis Pierce could make his NFL debut after the team promoted him from the practice squad this week.
–Field Level Media