The Bears (1-1) will spend the week on the practice field preparing for Sunday's game against the Cardinals (0-2) in Arizona, hoping to build on their impressive 24-17 win over the Seahawks Monday night at Soldier Field. A victory Sunday would give the Bears a winning record for the first time since they were 2-1 in 2014 in Marc Trestman's second and final season as coach.
The Bears defense will look to continue their strong start. Through the first two weeks of the season, the unit leads the NFL with 10 sacks and is tied for first with five forced fumbles.
The defense was energized by the Sept. 1 acquisition of outside linebacker Khalil Mack in a blockbuster trade with the Oakland Raiders. The three-time Pro Bowler and 2016 NFL defensive player of the year has a strip/sack in each of his first two games with the Bears and returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown in the Bears' season opener in Green Bay.
The Bears offense is seeking more consistency after scoring a touchdown on its opening drive and then struggling on several subsequent possessions in each of the first two games of the season. Second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the offense are suffering through some growing pains in their first year in a new system, though they showed some signs of progress with a second touchdown in the second half of Monday night's win over the Seahawks.
After Jordan Howard (14-35) and Tarik Cohen (4-8) combined to rush for just 43 yards on 18 carries, the Bears no doubt will focus on their running game this week in practice. "One thing that can help a quarterback out is a run game and we just didn't average enough yards in the run game," said coach Matt Nagy. "I think we can be better there, and our guys understand that to have the runs we have and then to have a couple quarterback scrambles in there, it maybe disguises what the true numbers were. We can certainly be better in the run game."
The Cardinals have struggled in losing their first two games by a combined score of 58-6. Their only score so far came on David Johnson's 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of a season-opening 24-6 loss to the Redskins in Arizona. Last Sunday the Cardinals were blanked by the Rams 34-0 in Los Angeles. They rank last in the NFL in points (6), total yards (175.0 per game) and passing yards (114.0) and their minus-52-point differential is the worst in the league.
Quarterback Sam Bradford has completed 37 of 61 passes for 243 yards with two interceptions and a 55.6 passer rating. Future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald has caught a team-leading 10 passes for 104 yards, but he's nursing a hamstring injury that may impact his playing status.
The Bears lead the all-time series 58-28-6 and have won four of the last six matchups. The two founding franchises have the oldest series in the NFL, having first met in the league's first year of existence in 1920, one year before the Bears played the Packers for the first time.
The Bears lost their last meeting with the Cardinals 48-23 on Sept. 20, 2015 at Soldier Field. The Bears allowed touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams and lost quarterback Jay Cutler to a hamstring injury he sustained on Tony Jefferson's 26-yard interception return TD. Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer passed for four touchdowns, three to Fitzgerald.
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