Chargers formula vs. Bears: Time of possession and run defense
Step 4: Win the time of possession battle
Winning time of possession is crucial for any game, but it’s particularly important against the Bears. The New Orleans Saints’ dominating win last week in Chicago was partially due to the fact they were able to completely wear out the defense, holding an impressive 37.5 minutes of possession.
The defensive unit for the Bears, especially the defensive line, can suffocate teams if given the time of possession advantage.
The Chargers have lost games while winning the clock before this season, most recently vs. Denver and Houston. The Bears are 1-3 when they lose the possession battle. Also, that one win came in a controversial finish vs. Denver when Bradley Chubb was called for roughing the passer, extending the Bears’ drive. If the Chargers can finally figure out how to take advantage of the clock, they win. Another part of that is….
Step 5: Stopping the run
…stopping the run. The difference between rushing yards for the Bears in wins and losses is night and day. In their three wins, they’ve averaged 105 rush yards. In their three losses? They barely averaged just 35 rush yards.
This all comes with the caveat that the Chargers’ run defense isn’t all that good, ranking only 22nd in the league. But stopping the run is so crucial to every other step on here. Stopping the run wins the team time of possession and forces Trubisky to throw. Obviously, this is easier said than done.
The ravaging of the defensive line due to injuries and mono leaves the likes of Brandon Mebane, Justin Jones, and Cortez Broughton out of the picture for Week 8. It may not be optimal, but there’s some hope.
Jerry Tillery has been playing better in the last few weeks, and the team could do worse in reserves than T.Y. McGill and Damion Square. A struggling quarterback, lack of consistent running game, and different running back personnel every week could be a recipe for the Chargers actually stuffing the run.
The formula to beat the Bears is pretty similar to how to beat most teams, but taking advantage of their offensive limitations in comparison to other NFL teams is more important. Forcing Trubisky to carry the offensive load is something the Chargers have to do from the first snap to the last. The two other parts to that are trying to dominate time of possession and stopping whatever running back Chicago attempts to use.
On offense, Ekeler simply needs more snaps and plays. He’s showed that he’s deserved it multiple times this season with his explosive plays, most recently vs. Tennessee. Other than that, attempting to boost the offensive line in any way possible, especially with Okung, is the other crucial mission for the Chargers.