NFL PREVIEW: CINCINNATI BENGALS (1-0) AT CHICAGO BEARS (0-1)
SUNDAY, SEPT. 19, 2021 // 1:00 PM ET // SOLDIER FIELD // REFEREE: LAND CLARK
LEADER: Bengals lead all-time series, 6-5
STREAKS: Bears have won past 2
LAST GAME: 12/10/17: Bears 33 at Bengals 7
LAST GAME AT SITE: 9/8/13: Bears 24, Bengals 21
QB JOE BURROW completed 20 of 27 passes (74.1 pct.) for 261 yards & 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs for career-high 128.8 rating last week. Had 8 TDs (7 pass, 1 rush) vs. 2 INTs in 6 road starts last season. Has 5 TDs vs. 0 INTs & 106.7 rating in 3 career starts vs. NFC. • RB JOE MIXON had 150 scrimmage yards (127 rush, 23 rec.) & rush TD in Week 1, most among AFC RBs & his 8th-career game with 150+ scrimmage yards, tied 6th-most in NFL since 2017. Has 100+ scrimmage yards in 2 of 3 career games vs. NFC North. • WR JA’MARR CHASE had 5 catches for 101 yards & TD in NFL debut last week, most rec. yards by any rookie & most by player in 1st-career game in Cin. history. WR TEE HIGGINS had 58 rec. yards & rec. TD in Week 1. Had 558 rec. yards (69.8 per game) in 8 road games last season. WR TYLER BOYD aims for his 3rd in row on road with 70+ rec. yards. • S VONN BELL had 7 tackles & TFL last week. Had FF, FR & PD in his last game vs. Chi. (10/20/19 w/ NO). Since 2020, ranks 3rd among all DBs with 121 tackles. S JESSIE BATES led team with 9 tackles in Week 1. DT B.J. HILL had 2 sacks in Cin. debut last week. Had career-high 3 sacks vs. Chi. on 12/2/18 (w/ NYG). Has 4 sacks in 3 career games vs. Chi. DT LARRY OGUNJOBI had sack in Cin. debut in Week 1. Had 2 TFL & sack in only career game vs. Chi. (12/24/17 w/ Cle.). Aims for 3rd in row vs. NFC North with sack. DE TREY HENDRICKSON aims for his 3rd in row vs. Chi. with sack. LB GERMAINE PRATT had 1st-career FF & FR last week.
QB ANDY DALTON passed for 206 yards in Week 1. Spent 9 seasons with Cin. (2011-19) & is Bengals all-time leader in completions (2,757) & pass TDs (204) & ranks 2nd in franchise history is pass yards (32,838). • RB DAVID MONTGOMERY totaled 118 scrimmage yards (108 rush, 10 rec.) & rush TD in Week 1. Aims for his 8th in row with 100+ scrimmage yards. Had 746 scrimmage yards (106.6 per game) & 6 TDs (5 rush, 1 rec.) in 7 home games last season. Has 5 rush TDs in 8 career games vs. AFC. • WR ALLEN ROBINSON had 6 catches last week. Has 6+ receptions in 6 of his past 7 at home. Has 4 rec. TDs in his past 4 vs. AFC North. WR MARQUISE GOODWIN led team with 45 rec. yards last week. Had 77 rec. yards & TD catch in his last game vs. Cin. (9/15/19 w/ SF). TE COLE KMET had 3rd-career game with 5+ catches (5) last week. TE JIMMY GRAHAM has 700 career receptions & became 6th TE in NFL history with 700+ catches. • LB KHALIL MACK aims for his 3rd in row at home with sack. Has 3 sacks & FF in his past 4 vs. AFC North. LB ROQUAN SMITH led team with 11 tackles last week, his 18th-career game with 10+ tackles. Had 7+ tackles in 7 of 8 home games last season. LB ROBERT QUINN had 0.5 sacks last week. DT AKIEM HICKS had 0.5 sacks in Week 1. DB EDDIE JACKSON had 5 tackles last week. Had FF, FR & INT in last meeting. CB JAYLON JOHNSON had PD last week. Had 6 PD in 7 home games last season.
ON THE AIRWAVES TV: FOX (1:00 PM ET): Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin (field reporter) SIRIUS: 138 (Cin.), 83 (Chi.) | XM: 380 (Cin.), 225 (Chi.) | SXM App: 806 (Cin.), 805 (Chi.)
- The Bears and Bengals have not matched up since 2017, when the Bears won in Cincinnati 33-7. The Bears racked up 38:09 in time of possession, the most since Week 11 of 2014 vs. Minnestoa (38:38). The Bears have not gone over 38:00 TOP since then.
- The Bengals are coming off a Week 1 victory against Minnesota in OT, 27-24. The win snapped a streak of five overtime games without a win (three losses, two ties). The Bengals have played in 11 overtime games since 2013, tied for most in the NFL with the Chargers.
- The Bears lost to the Rams in Week 1, 34-14, their largest loss (-20) since they lost to Kansas City, 26-3, in Week 16 of 2019. Their longest play of 19 yards ranks them second worst in the NFL in Week 1 (Falcons, 18).
- Joe Burrow’s 27 passing attempts were the lowest of his career (previous was 30, Week 5 2020 vs. Bal). However, he set career highs in yards per attempt (9.67) and TD% (7.4). His 128.8 passer rating was also the highest in his 11 career games.
- Ja’Marr Chase was targeted seven times and caught five passes in his first career game. His 101 receiving yards are the most of any Bengals rookie WR in their first game all-time.
- Justin Fields went 2-for-2 passing with a rushing TD in his first game with the Bears. The last Bears rookie QB to rush for a touchdown in his first career game was Johnny Lujack, who rushed for a TD against Green Bay in Week 2 of 1948.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) With quarterback Joe Burrow healed, the Cincinnati Bengals came into the season believing they were in position to improve on a dismal 2020.
They’re off to a good start. The Chicago Bears can’t say the same.
Burrow and the Bengals will try to build on a season-opening win while the Bears hope to bounce back from a loss when the two teams meet at Soldier Field on Sunday.
“We’re excited for another opportunity to go out there and prove to the world what we’re about,” Cincinnati safety Jessie Bates III said. “Not just being good on Week 1, we’ve got to be good throughout the whole season.”
The Bengals beat Minnesota 27-24 in overtime last week, a promising opener for a team that finished last in the AFC North at 4-11-1.
Burrow threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns. The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 draft pick in 2020 completed 20 of 27 passes while setting career highs in passer rating (128.8) and yards per attempt (9.67). Not a bad opener for a quarterback who suffered a major injury to his left knee in Week 11 last year.
As for the Bears?
A 34-14 thumping by the Rams in Los Angeles was not a good start. Andy Dalton did little in his Chicago debut to silence the calls for Justin Fields, and the defense couldn’t contain Matthew Stafford.
Dalton got intercepted on the game’s opening drive. He threw for 206 yards, but did not have a completion for more than 19 yards against a defense that led the league in 2020.
“We weren’t able to take very many chances downfield,” Dalton said. “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.”
Now, Dalton goes against his former team for the second time.
The three-time Pro Bowler led Dallas to a win at Cincinnati last season after spending his first nine years with the Bengals. They released him after drafting Burrow.
MORE FIELD(S) TIME?
Fields impressed in a brief debut.
Drafted 11th overall, he was in on only five plays. But the former Ohio State star made the most of them. He completed both of his passes for 10 yards and scored from the 3 on his lone run.
“He was very composed,” receiver Allen Robinson said. “But again, he’s kind of been like that.”
The Bears insist their defense remains a strength. The Monsters of the Midway didn’t show it last week.
They got shredded by Stafford, who threw for 321 yards, three touchdowns and a 156.1 rating and was sacked just once. Safeties Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson committed a big gaffe on Van Jefferson’s 67-yard touchdown reception, failing to put a hand on the receiver when he hit the ground near the 15 after hauling in the long pass. Instead, Jefferson got up and ran to the end zone. Chicago also gave up a 56-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Cooper Kupp.
GOING FOR IT
The Bengals kept the offense on the field on fourth down three times last week against Minnesota and converted two of them. The big one came in overtime when Burrow checked out of a called quarterback sneak on fourth-and-inches from the Cincinnati 48 and completed a 32-yard pass to tight end C.J. Uzomah to set up the game-winning field goal.
Coach Zac Taylor said that’s expected to happen a lot more, especially since he trusts Burrow completely and has more confidence in his defense this season.
“If we want to do great things here, we’ve got to go get them,” he said.
The Bears were more banged up at left tackle after starter Jason Peters (quadriceps) and rookie backup Larry Borom (ankle) exited in the third quarter last week.
That’s in addition to losing second-round draft pick Teven Jenkins prior to the season. He suffered a back injury that required surgery, leading to the Bears signing the 39-year-old Peters – a two-time All-Pro – in mid-August.
The Bears went with Elijah Wilkinson after Peters and Borom left the opener.
After missing most of last year with a foot injury, Bengals running back Joe Mixon opened his fifth season by rushing 29 times for 127 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings.
“It was fun to watch,” Taylor said. “And it’s just a great weapon to have. There (were) a lot of well-blocked plays. It’s good to get him back, his energy. He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
Bears running back David Montgomery is off to good start following a strong finish last season.
The third-year pro ran for 108 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts. Montgomery had 598 yards over the final six games in 2020 and finished the season with 1,070.