How in the world do the Chicago Bears beat the New Orleans Saints. It feels like a more daunting task by the day. Especially with that high-powered Saints offense finally getting healthy. Michael Thomas is back practicing and should play. If the timeline is right, Alvin Kamara should come back off the COVID-19 list as well. There is just no way the Bears can keep up with them. So what can they do? Some believe the solution is David Montgomery.
There is a surprising amount of optimism around the Bears running back going into this game. Remember he had just 353 yards rushing through the first seven games of 2020. He was on pace to finish even worse than his rookie season in 2019. Then he finished the final eight games on a tear, posting 717 yards to crack 1,000 for the season. A hell of a second-half surge that has people excited about his future.
Peter King for one believes the 23-year old can carry Chicago to a win.
Rich Eisen too said recently he thinks Montgomery is the real deal. There is no denying the guy is living up to his draft status when the Bears traded up to get him in the 3rd round. Is it possible he can guide the Bears offense to any sort of success in New Orleans. Don’t forget the Saints finished the regular season with the #4 run defense in the NFL.
That said, there is a reason for hope. A lot of their success stopping the run hasn’t come lately. New Orleans has allowed a hefty 147.25 yards per game on the ground over their past four games. There is a common theme in every loss the Saints have suffered this year. In those instances, their opponent ran the ball 35, 26, 36, and 41 times respectively.
In other words, feeding David Montgomery should be the plan
New Orleans has a method to its approach. They use their offense to build a big lead and then they unleash their strong pass rush to keep the opponent at bay. It’s a tactic the best teams usually employ because it works so well. There are two ways to counter this. Either have an equally good offense to match them on the scoreboard or do everything possible to keep them off the field. For the Bears, their only option is the latter.
David Montgomery has already seen the Saints once this year. He had a solid evening, running for 89 yards on 21 carries. So this offers evidence that the Bears can run the ball against them. Their reconfigured offensive line is equipped for it. Their interior trio of Cody Whitehair, Sam Mustipher, and Alex Bars should be able to pound it against New Orleans if they play at the level they have for the past month.
Having Mitch Trubisky at QB may also help.
The Saints have struggled to handle quarterbacks who can run this year. Trubisky’s mobility will keep them honest about possible designed runs on RPOs. This should keep the box relatively light for Montgomery to find some room. Of course, all of this depends on Matt Nagy and the coaching staff. They haven’t always shown a commitment to the running game in the past. Will they be willing to slow the game down and feed him?