Thu, 30 Nov 2023

Bears visit Chiefs with plenty of problems to fix

Field Level Media
21 Sep 2023, 09:25 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports)

Lacking the offensive explosiveness that has become their calling card, the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs might be finding salve in the form of their schedule.

Kansas City will face the visiting Chicago Bears on Sunday in a matchup of the league's top and bottom teams from a season ago.

What's more, the Bears (0-2) are currently in turmoil following the midweek resignation of defensive coordinator Alan Williams and renewed unrest under center.

The Chiefs (1-1) hope to come untracked against Chicago after managing just 20 and 17 points in their first two games. The Bears have lost 12 games in a row dating back to last season while surrendering at least 25 points in each setback.

Kansas City defeated host Jacksonville 17-9 in Week 2 as the offense navigated around three early turnovers. Patrick Mahomes threw for two scores, with one going to tight end Travis Kelce, who missed the season opener with a knee injury.

"You play bad and win, it's a lot better than playing bad and losing," Mahomes said. "So I was glad we were able to find a way to get a win at the end of the day, but a lot of stuff that we have to be better at."

Chicago drove for a touchdown on its opening possession last Sunday but was otherwise less than spectacular on offense during a 27-17 road loss to Tampa Bay.

Justin Fields, who is attempting to hone his pocket-passing ability this season, has been inconsistent. He has passed for 427 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, two of which have been returned for scores.

"I need to play better," Fields said. "That's it, point blank."

Fields has also lost a fumble and been sacked 10 times. He'll be behind a shuffling offensive line once more in Week 3, as the Bears placed left tackle Braxton Jones (neck) on injured reserve on Wednesday.

While the Bears' offensive struggles remain well-documented, the defense is trying to find its footing, too.

Chicago enters Sunday with just one sack while allowing opponents to convert 54.8 percent of their third downs, the second-highest rate in the league.

There's also the matter of Williams, who was away from the team in Week 2 due to personal reasons. Head coach Matt Eberflus called defensive plays against Tampa Bay and said before the franchise announced Williams' resignation that he would be in line to do so again versus Kansas City.

Williams said in a statement that he was stepping aside to "take care of my health and my family." A team spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that there had been no police activity related to Williams at the team's practice facility.

Bears cornerback Josh Blackwell (hamstring) was limited at practice on Wednesday, while safety Eddie Jackson (foot) did not participate.

The Chiefs are hopeful their health can improve, too. Linebackers Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. didn't practice on Wednesday as they are dealing with ankle and quad injuries, respectively. Running back Isiah Pacheco (hamstring) and receivers Kadarius Toney (toe) and Richie James (knee) were also non-participants.

Cornerback L'Jarius Sneed was limited due to a knee injury.

Kansas City coach Andy Reid said each player is day-to-day apart from James, who "might be a little longer."

--Field Level Media

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