Four Downs: Keys to beating the Cardinals (09/20/15)

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A look at four keys for the Bears to beat the Arizona Cardinals.

1. Keep feeding Matt Forte the rock

The Bears had a clear game plan in place for last week’s game against the Packers, and it was to ride the horse that wears number 22. Forte tore apart the Packers’ run defense to the tune of 141 yards on 24 carries. As he usually does, Forte also factored into the passing game with 5 catches for 25 yards. Although he’s nearing 30 years old, the Bears can’t be afraid to keep getting the ball in his hands while rotating Jeremy Langford and Jacquizz Rodgers into the game to give him a breather. John Fox likes his offenses to chew up game clock and that’s what will help the Bears maintain control of this game.

2. Get to the quarterback and finish

I suspect that Aaron Rodgers didn’t need his uniform washed after last week’s game not only because the Bears didn’t sack him, but he probably didn’t even work up a sweat, either. In fact, the Bears probably didn’t even breathe on him. That’s gotta change this week with Carson Palmer rolling into town. Palmer, 35, has never been fleet of foot and moves like he has cinder blocks attached to his ankles. This is a prime opportunity for the Bears to generate a pass rush and they need to get Palmer on the ground, or at least put a few hits on him to rattle his timing with his receivers.

3. Keep Cardinals backfield in check

Starting running back Andre Ellington is out this week after a sprained PCL this past weekend, but the Cardinals still figure to bring a balance running attack to town on Sunday. Veteran Chris Johnson and rookie David Johnson could prove to be a formidable one-two punch in Ellington’s place. The Bears need to swarm the ball carrier and gang tackle and not let these two explosive players gain a full head of steam.

4. Protect the football

I’m not blaming last week’s loss to the Packers on Jay Cutler, but his untimely interception in the fourth quarter certainly cost them. The Bears can’t be turning over the ball if they want to win these close games. The ball carriers and receivers need to tuck away the ball and Cutler needs to play like he did for the first three and a half quarters against Green Bay.

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