By Jeff Joniak–
(CBS) The Bears (2-6) are on the road to face the Buccaneers (3-5) on Sunday at noon. Here are my observations leading into the game.
Given the need to score more points after sluggish touchdown efficiency in the first eight games, Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains did some homework. During the bye week, Loggains reviewed nearly 400 touchdown snaps around the league from the 12-yard line in to see what he could find.
“There’s a lot of off-schedule plays made,” Loggains said on the Bears coaches show Monday night on WBBM. “It becomes difficult to run the football, because the defense has no vertical threat, so they sit on the end line and just play the run. So, all of a sudden the free safety in all the run schemes. Space and timing is what really what changes in that part of the field.”
The key is to try and get creative with putting players in space to score, Loggains said. Throwing the ball becomes a one-window opportunity.
Red zone difficulty represents the biggest issue with the Bears offense right now. They’ve been able to move the ball between the 20s with Brian Hoyer and Jay Cutler, but they’ve broke down for a variety of reasons inside the 20. The Bears score touchdowns at 47.8 percent clip, which is 23rd in the league. With 104 red-zone points, the Bears are 26th. The Chargers are tops the league with 195 points in the red zone.
Getting to the goal line this season has been good for the Bears; they just haven’t been there enough. They have only nine goal-to-go drives and have scored eight touchdowns in such scenarios. Still, that number of trips matches the second-fewest in the league.
There’s good news with the Bears on the scoreboard. They’ve only permitted 19 points after the offense has given it away only nine times. Tampa Bay’s offensive miscues have led to 64 points for opponents. In fact, the Bucs are allowing 29 points per game, nearly a full seven points more than the Bears permit.
Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.