Sun, 17 Oct 2021

Bengals' hot offense to meet Bears' struggling defense

Field Level Media
16 Sep 2021, 11:55 GMT+10

The Chicago Bears will try to bounce back from a lopsided loss in Week 1 when they host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon.

Chicago will play its home opener after falling short 34-14 on the road against the Los Angeles Rams in a nationally televised Sunday night matchup. The Bears allowed several big plays on defense and could not keep up offensively with Andy Dalton handling most snaps under center.

Dalton expects to get the bulk of the work at quarterback again in Week 2 against the team with whom he began his career. He was competent in his Chicago debut, completing 27 of 38 passes for 206 yards and an interception.

Dalton's backup, top rookie Justin Fields, completed 2 of 2 passes for 10 yards and ran for a touchdown during sporadic duty.

Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II is confident that the offense can improve.

"The No. 1 encouraging thing is just being able to move the ball, creating first downs," Robinson said. "We didn't convert on some fourth downs. But ... I think everybody, when the ball was in their hands, made some plays. We just have to kind of fine-tune some stuff and capitalize on some of the other opportunities we have."

Meanwhile, Cincinnati (1-0) is looking to start the season with back-to-back victories after holding off the Minnesota Vikings for a 27-24 overtime win in Week 1. The Bengals squandered a 21-7 second-half lead before recovering for the narrow victory.

Second-year quarterback Joe Burrow completed 20 of 27 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns in his season opener. His favorite receiving target was rookie Ja'Marr Chase, who caught five passes for 101 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown, in his NFL debut.

"I'm trying to break every record that I can," Chase said during an interview with NFL Network this week. "I'm pretty sure I can't break every record, but every record that's meant to be broken. So I'm going to make my way and somehow break a record here, break as many as I can, as many as possible."

It will be up to the Bears' secondary to slow down the confident rookie, as well as the Bengals' other receiving targets. They struggled in pass coverage last week, allowing the Rams' Matthew Stafford to rack up 321 yards and three touchdowns while completing 20 of 26 passes.

On the ground, Joe Mixon leads Cincinnati's attack. He rushed 29 times for 127 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, and he caught four passes for 23 yards out of the backfield.

The Bears also boast a top player at running back. David Montgomery had 16 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown in the season opener, and he caught one pass for 10 yards.

Dalton will face his former Bengals team for the second year in a row. He expects this meeting to be less emotional than last year's visit to Cincinnati as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

"I kind of got that out of the way last year, and now I'm just focused on doing what we can to win the game," Dalton said.

--Field Level Media

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