CINCINNATI — The Bengals head to Chicago for their first business trip of the season on Sunday to play the Bears. They’ll also face their former quarterback Andy Dalton.
There are a few things the Bengals must do to earn a win in Chicago. Here are three keys to victory.
Protect the Franchise
I need to see the Bengals' offensive line keep Joe Burrow clean, not just for success on Sunday but for the remainder of the season. You may have noticed the aggression coming from the Bengals offense early in the game and then after Danielle Hunter brought down Burrow and he gingerly left the field, the play calling regressed to a more conservative look.
Luckily, Cincinnati was smart enough to hire Frank Pollack this offseason, who will undoubtedly address the mistakes that were made against the Vikings that led to Burrow being sacked five times.
Mistakes were not addressed last year and certain players were allowed to skate by without their blunders being a focus in film or practice, which ultimately lead to Burrow being sacked 32 times through 10 games before being carted off and rules out for the rest of the year. That will not fly this season with teaching being a main focal point. In Pollack they trust.
My father used a phrase often when I was a kid that you may recognize which still applies to many things today. He would recommend the K.I.S.S. method, which stands for "Keep It Simple Stupid."
The Bengals will find success with a consistent rushing attack. Keep the run game aggressive, and continue to feed Joe Mixon early and often. It won't be an easy task with Chicago allowing the Rams just 70 rushing yards in week one, but sticking with Mixon’s skill set will certainly keep their offense from looking one-dimensional like we saw throughout the 2020 season.
Slowing Down the Cincinnati Native
The Bengals' defense must remain steadfast in their goal of stopping the run. Containing David Montgomery will be important after he racked 108 yards in 16 carries to go along with a touchdown. If they can stop the run and Marion Hobby’s defensive line can fluster Dalton by collapsing the pocket like they did last week, then the Bengals should be in an excellent position to start the year with a 2-0 record.
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