The 3-2 Chicago Bears will face off against the 5-1 New Orleans Saints in Week 7. They are fresh off of a bye week, which appeared to be much needed after the 24-21 loss they suffered in London against the Oakland Raiders, especially for the defense. While quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was out with a shoulder injury, the Bears were still favored in the matchup because of their strong defense. Chicago had just taken down the Minnesota Vikings, 16-6, in what was a defensive matchup in Week 4. Khalil Mack and the Bears held Kirk Cousins and the Vikings' offense to just 222 total yards, and they appeared ready to compete with anyone in the league, even with Chase Daniel under center. What happened in London took everyone by surprise.
The Raiders held a 17-0 lead at halftime, as the opening half was full of wimpy arm tackling that was very unlike the Bears. The unit did a much better job in the second half, as the Raiders had only one drive that lasted more than six plays. Unfortunately, that was the game-winning drive.
In all, the Bears allowed 398 yards of total offense and allowed Oakland to convert 50% of their third-down attempts. Rookie running back Josh Jacobs had the best game of his young career, rushing 26 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns. It marked the first time the Bears had allowed a 100-yard rusher since Saquon Barkley put up 125 yards against Chicago last year.
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano called his defense's performance a "wake-up call" and is eager to prove to the NFL that the Bears defense is the best in the league.
"It's a wake-up call," Pagano said about that Sunday in London, via the Chicago Sun-Times. "I wasn't any good. We didn't play well. We didn't execute. ... We got away from all the things that we did in the weeks prior, as far as playing great fundamentals, great technique, setting the edge. All the things are a hallmark of a great defense, we just didn't do. ... They were better than us. We've got another chance, thank God."
Bears safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix agrees with his defensive coordinator and says that the bye week only added fuel to the fire when it comes to re-establishing themselves.
"That loss we had to Oakland was not us," Clinton-Dix said. "We've had a chip on our shoulder this entire bye week just thinking about it."
Bridgewater has also shown that he can come through in matchups dominated by defense. Just last week, the Saints out-dueled the Jacksonville Jaguars in a close, 13-6 matchup. We could be in store for another close game in Week 7, which is fine by the Bears. They just want to make sure they get a win.