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Deeper Thinking for Bears Offense

The opportunity exists for bigger plays downfield in Week 2 according to Bears QB Andy Dalton and wide receiver Allen Robinson

For a game when the Bears scored two whole touchdowns, they sure came away feeling extremely positive about their offense.

Quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver Allen Robinson both acknowledged on Wednesday the truth wide receiver Marquise Goodwin spoke on Tuesday about the offensive game plan against the Rams being more suited for a phone booth than a football field.

The thought is, they not only can correct it but do it quickly and against Sunday's opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals.

"One thing when we look back at the game, we were limited in that area," Dalton said. "We weren't able to take very many chances downfield. I think if you look back it's something that we wish we could have done a little bit more in that game.

"I think we understand that, we understand how we want to play. That's kind of where we're at right now."

It was the old case of taking what the Rams would give them, which wasn't very much.

"I think it's just the way they play defense," Dalton said. 'They try to keep everything in front of you and with a good front and a guy like Aaron Donald and some of those guys that they have up there, that's just how they play."

Or was it a case of taking what they could get because they couldn't get much against the Rams?

By-Product of Bears Game-Planning

Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said even though the emphasis on better speed was there throughout camp and preseason, the importance of game-planning for particular opponents takes priority.

"Yeah you know I think that's, in camp you have, you're trying a lot of things and putting in the whole offense and then when you get to a game plan it's, 'OK this is what we're going to do this week,' then each week is different. You know you get the opportunity to put some stuff in for that next week you like because the defenses are different."

And on and on it goes.

"I think that's what you do is every year year, every week, every game, you look at your players, what's the best thing for them to do?" Lazor said. "How do we put them in the best situation to be successful? That's football. That's coaching."

Potential for More Downfield

So if game-planning could bring them the offense game plan built for use in a suitcase, then it could also bring them one with greater intentions. They could go downfield.

"I think that we have the players to be able to do it, and I think when you look at guys histories that are here who are able to make those plays, I mean, we have that," Robinson said. "So for me, that's Week 1, so putting that behind us, obviously making corrections and things like that, I think we have all the players and playmaking ability to be able to do that."

This would include receivers Goodwin, Damiere Byrd, Darnell Mooney and possibly even Breshad Perriman, who may know more of the offense to play this week.

Robinson views the Bengals' defense as more susceptible to deeper targeting.

"Yeah, I think it should be, just based off the simple fact of the kind of structure that Cincinnati plays," Robinson said. "They play a one-high (safety) defense, so you're typically in the NFL you're able to try to get some more down-the-field throws, if you will, against one-high safety.

"And it's a press-man team, so they don't play as soft and off as the Rams did."

A Feel-Good Story

With only one completion longer than 11 yards last week, and only the two touchdowns, the Bears still came away with a positive feeling about their offense. Part of it was they had 24 first downs, or 11.5 more than they averaged last season.

"I think that's the No. 1 encouraging thing, is just being able to move the ball," Dalton said. "I think creating first downs. Obviously we didn't convert on some fourth downs (0-for-4), but other than that, being higher on third-down percentage than we had been."

The Bears made a major point of improving on third down. It would be difficult not to improve since they were next to last in the league, but their 45% conversion rate Sunday (5-of-11) was much better than last year's 34.6%.

"Sometimes early in the season, being able to convert–obviously we didn't convert one of our red zone, one time we were in the red zone, but we did get touchdowns a couple other times being in the red zone," Dalton said. "Being able to take away from things like that on third down and being able to score some touchdowns in the red zone as well is something we can come away with, and also just moving the ball and getting first downs.

"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."

And throw the ball down the field.