Joniak: Keys To Bears-Colts

By Jeff Joniak–

(CBS) The Bears (1-3) are on the road to face the Colts (1-3) on Sunday in Indianapolis. Here are my keys to the game.

Offense: Ride the wave

An efficient offensive attack gathers momentum with proper technique and continuity. The Colts defense is second-worst in the league in runs gaining four yards or more, at 51.5 percent. Running the ball with the same success the Bears had against the Lions would again allow for effective play-action pass plays downfield. The Colts are the most penalized defensive team in the league, with six pass interference calls and three personal fouls. The Bears will look to use that against them. The Colts have only four takeaways leading to just three points this season, and protecting the ball on the road is always a significant key to victory.

Defense: Push your luck

Exploiting the deficiencies in the pass protection of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will be a significant key for the Bears defense. He’s been hit frequently and at times relentlessly. Pushing that pocket again could create multiple opportunities for a young and hungry Bears secondary. The Colts are 29th in pass protection efficiency, with a league-worst 15 sacks, the second-most hurries (35), the highest number of knockdowns (33) and 10 combined false starts and holding penalties. The Bears may not have all their outside linebackers healthy, but generating a rush that will complicate the day of the Colts offensive line is critical.

Special teams: Bounce back

Indianapolis had one of the best special teams units in the league in 2015, and its core is essentially the same this season. The Colts are solid and experienced. The Bears will need to clean up the details in all phases of special teams to come up with a gem in Indy.

Intangibles: Jet lag?

With no bye week after a trip and loss in London, the Colts could be feeling the effects by the fourth quarter. The Bears have to use that jet lag to their advantage. A big start, a big lead and pounding the nail to finish the ballgame would all make for a great trip for the Bears.

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.

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