"We know we have to start getting some wins," left tackle Donald Stephenson said. "We didn’t expect to be 1-3 at the beginning of the season, so we got to work our butt off to get that ship turned around. There’s a lot of sense of urgency. Guys are picking each other up, helping each other out, talking about what needs to be done to get this fixed."
Houston had 22 sacks last season, only a half-sack shy of the NFL record. Hali had just 6 sacks last season, but he had 55 over the previous five seasons. The ability to run away, quickly, could be important. "I'm still not exactly where I want to be," Cutler said, "but we have a lot of guys banged up out here, so (you) just make do."
"I think there’s a couple things I’m pretty familiar with, as far as jersey numbers and what their abilities are, with 50 (Justin Houston) and 91 (Tamba Hali)," Lewis explained. "They look like they’re creating havoc, as well as [Dontari] Poe, their nose tackle, he’s a pretty dominant guy inside. [Derrick] Johnson, whatever, inside linebacker, whatever name they put on him, so I see the talented group we better be ready for."
The Chicago Bears rank 10th in average points allowed to wide receivers. QB Alex Smith has perfected his connection with Maclin over the last two games, completing 19 of his 25 targets to him for 289 yards.
Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery’s ailing hamstring continues to limit him, and this Sunday he could miss his fourth consecutive game. Jeffery did not fully participate in Thursday’s practice, as the Bears continue to prepare for their trip to Kansas City to play the Chiefs. The team’s No. 1 receiver has fully participated in only two practices since the regular season began.
The winning formula for opposing offenses against Kansas City’s defense has been using three- and four-receiver personnel groupings in spread sets. The Chiefs’ secondary has poor depth, so teams have forced them into nickel and dime sub packages and attacked them from the slot.
Two years after becoming a Coach of the Year frontrunner for resurrecting the Chiefs and pushing them back into the playoffs, the honeymoon is over for Andy Reid and the outside criticism is amplifying. With widespread expectations that the Chiefs could win at least 10 games and contend for the AFC West title this season, a three-game losing streak has the natives restless. Reid and his team can ill afford a home stumble against a flawed Bears team if they hope to quell the angst. Reid’s conservative reputation has come under fire and his team will need to understand the must-win scope of a home game against an inferior team.
The last time these two teams met was back in 2011 when the Chiefs left Soldier Field with a 10-3 win, partially in thanks to then-rookie linebacker Justin Houston, who picked up the first 3 sacks and the first forced fumble of his career in that victory. He’s been consistently bringing down quarterbacks ever since.
"These guys can get the quarterback. It’s a tremendous front seven," Long said. "The guys on the inside are arguably really underrated. And you look at the way they rush the passer on the outside — it’s a tough thing to go against. But we have confidence in our group. We have a great game plan. And it’s obviously nice having Jay back there."