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Justin Fields Needs All the Help He Can Get

It's a difficult enough task being a rookie quarterback starting for the first time but doing it in Cleveland makes it all the tougher, so the Bears will need to hit all the high points to help out Justin Fields in Sunday's game.

This isn't to suggest the Cleveland Browns aren't capable or won't get there, but they've been a one-sided team so far while going 1-1 and the Bears have to take advantage of this in Sunday's matchup.

The problem for the Bears is the side where they have the biggest question is also where the Browns have been weakest—when Cleveland is on defense and Justin Fields is on the field at quarterback.

Baker Mayfield and Cleveland's potent running attack have been lights out. Now the explosive passing attack has Odell Beckham Jr. back at receiver, although they have lost wide receiver Jarvis Landry for at least three weeks.

The Browns on defense possess the potential for devastation with Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney coming off the edge, but the pass coverage and linebacker play have been at a level where Houston was able to stay in the game and Kansas City piled up its usual big numbers.

Fields is going to hold back the offense in some ways because of his inexperience. Then again, his speed and big-play ability might make it possible to produce big gains that Andy Dalton never could make.

It's going to look different than it did with Andy Dalton at quarterback, for better or worse.

"This will be a challenge," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "In Cleveland, loud crowd, great football team, really good defense, on the road. It's gonna be a great challenge for all of us."

Put Fields highest on the list of those who will be challenged considering it's his first start.

Here are three keys for a Bears win against Cleveland.

3. Multiple players to the football

They need to gang-tackle running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

"Their O-line is aggressive and physical, their running backs run angrily," Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai said. "They're physical backs, downhill backs and they make you miss in space."

Chubb is more dangerous in this regard as he is tied for third in the NFL in yards after contact with 96 and is second in yards after contact per attempt with 3.7. Chub is second in the league in broken tackle percentage at a broken tackle on 26.9% of his runs.

Hunt is more likely to catch passes or dazzle in an open field than Chubb but Chubb will catch a pass, as well.

2. End stupid penalties

The false start by Cole Kmet against the Rams, two false starts on Fields for moving back before catching a snap, taunting on Tashaun Gipson, Robert Quinn's out-of-bounds hit on Joe Burrow, the list goes on and on. The Bears have almost done as much in the first two games to beat themselves as their two opponents have done.

Considering how poorly rookie quarterbacks have performed in their first starts over the past five years—a passer rating of 71.1 with 8 wins in 30 starts—Fields is going to need every possible edge he can get. The Bears will need to stay ahead of the chains There is no margin for undisciplined play and penalties on the part of teammates, especially in a road game against a team perceived as a playoff contender.

1. Touchdowns in the red zone

The Bears harped on this aspect of the game constantly during offseason work and yet here they are at 50% touchdowns so far after two weeks and tied with four other teams for 19th-23rd in the league.

"We were, I think, 1-for-3 in the red zone (last week)," Lazor said. "We were 2-for-3 the week before. So to not score touchdowns when we got in those spots was the most disappointing."

Last week it didn't prevent victory but made what should have been a complete blowout into a nail-biter. The Bears defense had done enough on four straight possessions to send everyone home early. The offense kept them around to see the ending.

"I felt like the momentum, you could feel it in the stadium," Lazor said. "It was great to have the crowd. It really was. And even in the booth, you could feel it when the defense started playing like they were playing.

"So even though it will be in Cleveland this week, if we get that momentum on the field again, our job is to take advantage of it and keep it going."

The Browns on defense have given up five touchdowns within the red zone, which ties them for 22nd in the league. They have trouble stopping TDs in the red zone

With Baker Mayfield completing passes at an 80% clip, it's not likely the Bears defense alone can win this game. They'll need to have scoring support.

It's going to require the offense taking advantage of a Browns problem area and Fields' quickness and arm strength could be a huge asset in doing this.

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