Across The Field: Bears Defense Has a Chip On Their Collective Shoulder
The Chicago Bears are coming off one of their most memorable opening day victories in recent years, but their defense is hoping to forget about it.
Yes, Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky ultimately led a 21-point comeback in the fourth quarter to deliver a 27-23 victory.
However, Chicago's defense gave up 426 total yards, including 138 rushing yards, and nearly surrendered the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds.
A dropped touchdown pass by Lions rookie running back DeAndre Swift saved Chicago's defense from blowing Trubisky's comeback, but it hardly felt like a victory for them.
After the game, the Bears didn't send a single defensive player to the post-game virtual podium to speak with reporters.
Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that there wasn't a player or coach who was pleased with how the defense played against Detroit and expects a much more significant jump in Week 2.
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano has taken accountability for getting the team prepared for a stronger showing against the new-look Giants offense.
“We weren’t good,” Pagano said. “I have to do a better job preparing these guys. I have to do a better job of coaching. And then we have to execute better. That’s just how it is. We didn’t do our job.”
On Sunday, the Giants will be on a receiving end of a snarling Bears defense with a chip on its shoulder and a lot of talent. In particular, Chicago's front seven could prove to be just as formidable if not more even more dangerous than the Steelers' unit the Giants faced in Week 1, and they'll be plenty motivated.
Edge rushers Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan, and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks highlights the stout front seven that the Giants will be up against at Soldier Field.
If last week was any indication, the Giants offensive line has not yet proven to be capable of matching up with that type of stacked defensive front.
The Giants were outmuscled against Pittsburgh at the line of scrimmage, only accumulating 29 total rushing yards. Meanwhile, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was sacked three times and endured 11 pressures.
If anything, the Giants' offensive line has just as much as if not more to prove than the Bears' defense. However, Giants' head coach Joe Judge has expressed a more confident tone in his offensive line than Nagy's dissatisfied outlook of his defense.
"I have a tremendous amount of confidence in our offensive line," Judge said after Monday night's game. "Look, we’re going to watch the tape and clean up what we have to, it’s going to be a different opponent next week with a little bit of a different challenge, but it’s obviously something we have to improve on in the run game."
Like the Bears' defensive front seven, the Giants offensive skill players also boast top-tier talent and motivation after playing well beneath their potential in Week 1.
Running back Saquon Barkley will undoubtedly bring a chip on his shoulder into the game himself after his poor rushing performance in Week 1. The same goes for tight end Evan Engram, who only had two catches for nine yards in his first game back from injury.
If the Giants' offensive line can uphold Judge's expectation and improve in Week 2, then the Giants' arsenal of skill players could find opportunities to add to the frustrations of Nagy, Pagano, and the entire Bears' defense.
Giants-Bears Regular Season Series History
The Bears lead the all-time series between the two teams 34-24-2, but since the turn of the century, the Giants lead it 5-4.
Sunday will mark the third meeting between the two teams in as many years, as the Giants and Bears have split the last two meetings.
They most recently played in Week 11 of last season, as Chicago held on to a 19-13 victory at Soldier Field. The Week 12 matchup in 2018 went the Giants way in a 30-27 overtime upset of the eventual NFC North champion Bears.
The two teams have met in four games dating back to 2013, splitting the series 2-2 with all four matchups decided by one possession.