ENGLEWOOD, CO — The Denver Broncos were back on the practice field for their second practice of the week in anticipation of Sunday’s road contest against the ailing Chicago Bears. How does Denver’s offense matchup against the Bears defense?

Denver Broncos vs. Chicago Bears Tale of the Tape

If the Denver Broncos hope to salvage the early part of their season, Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears needs to serve as a get-right game. What does the tale of the tape tell us?

Broncos offense has to capitalize against struggling Bears defense

The Broncos’ offense isn’t why the team is 0-3 this season. Russell Wilson has played very well this season under Sean Payton’s offense, but they must be better in some areas to create sustainability.

Coming into Sunday’s matchup, the Broncos are averaging 340.7 yards per game (15th) and an 8th-ranked 5.7 yards per play. The Bears defense is surrendering 407.3 yards per game (29th) while allowing 6.0 yards per play (28th) this season through three games.

The Broncos enter with the 20th-ranked rushing attack (95.0 yards per game), but context is important. Denver abandoned the run game against the Washington Commanders despite having a 21-3 lead and had to abandon it against the Miami Dolphins due to trailing by more than three scores.

Javonte Williams has run solid this season, and Samaje Perine has been a nice change of pace behind him, but Denver’s overall volume and sample size rushing the ball is small. Chicago’s defense comes in as the 20th-ranked rushing defense, allowing 121.7 yards per game.

“I think it’s key for us to run the ball efficiently, and like you said, man, I’ve been really impressed with how hard he runs, his contact balance,” Broncos offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said to Mile High Sports on Thursday regarding Javonte Williams. “He gets yards when he gets the football. Hopefully we can establish that more and more consistently and later into the game.”

Right now, Chicago’s secondary is banged up with players like Eddie Jackson and Jaylon Johnson dealing with injuries. This is the perfect opportunity for Payton to unleash rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims against a banged-up secondary that has allowed teams to amass an average of 285.7 yards per game (30th) through the air.

Denver’s offense has struggled in two key departments early this season: third down and red zone opportunities. Chicago’s defense is bottom-ranked in allowing teams to convert in these areas of the field.

Broncos offense:

Ranks 24th (34.3%) on third down and 25th in the red zone, converting on only 45.5% (25th) of their attempts.

Bears defense:

Ranks 32nd (60.0%) on third down and allows opposing teams to convert on 75.0% (29th) of their red zone attempts.

Contextually speaking, Denver’s rankings would be drastically better if the two touchdowns the Broncos scored on last Sunday didn’t get called back due to penalties.

Denver Broncos defense has to get after Justin Fields and not lose contain

While the Denver Broncos defense has struggled drastically the past two weeks, the Chicago Bears offense has taken a massive step backward after showing promising growth last season.

Justin Fields is struggling under Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, but numbers paint a grim picture. After the Broncos rough defensive outing against the Dolphins, the statistical rankings provide more questions than clarity on how they might fare in Sunday’s game.

Fields has relied on D.J. Moore (170 yards) and tight end Cole Kmet (104 yards) as his top two receivers, with running back Khalil Herbert (64 yards) as a security blanket option out of the backfield. Despite the lack of overall production, the Bears also have Chase Claypool as their other top receiving option.

Chicago’s offense has struggled to move the ball (250 ypg, 29th) and score points (15.7 ppg, 27th) through three games that saw them get outscored 106-47. They’re trying to get their footing under them.

“He’s a special athlete and can make every throw,” Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said of Fields. “As a passer, he can make every throw—outside, vertical, and inside the numbers. As a runner, he’s dynamic. He can break tackles, he’s not sliding, and he can make you miss. He’s a challenge to rush four and hope you can contain him or rush five and he can make every throw. It’s a cat and mouse game, but he’s obviously a gifted player. It’ll be a challenge to get him stopped.”

The Broncos, on the other hand, are allowing teams to move the ball (458.3 ypg, 32nd) and score points (40.7ppg, 32nd) at an astronomical rate in the last two weeks.

Poor angles in pursuit, bad tackling, lack of producing turnovers, and several coverage lapses have put Denver in the situation they are in. With Justin Simmons set to return after missing Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, that could help Denver on the backend.

Fields hasn’t had much success as a consistent passer this season, but he’s still the most dangerous man on the field with his ability to create plays with his legs off schedule. Edge contain from players like Randy Gregory, and Jonathon Cooper will be crucial this week, but Denver’s interior defensive line has to make their first appearance of the season against the Bears’ struggling offensive line.

Fields has been sacked 13 times through three weeks of play, and the Bears offense has given the football away six times this season. If that trend continues, Denver’s defense, which has only generated one takeaway this year, could find its footing in Week 4.

Broncos injury report from Thursday’s practice

Following Thursday’s practice, the Broncos released their official injury report.

Did Not Participate:

Outside linebacker Frank Clark (hip) – DNP.

Defensive tackle Mike Purcell (ribs) – DNP.

Inside linebacker Josey Jewell (hip) – DNP.


Safety Justin Simmons (hip) – limited.

Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (knee) – limited.

What’s next?
The Broncos will hold one final practice on Friday before traveling to Chicago for Sunday’s game against the Bears.