Matt Bowen: Bears need to be more aggressive with play-calling on 1st down


(670 The Score) ESPN analyst Matt Bowen has a simple idea for how to help spark the Bears’ struggling offense.

Be more aggressive on first down. It isn’t going to be a season-defining decision, but in his mind, it’s one factor the Bears can control as they search for improvement.

“It starts on first down and being more aggressive as an offense and as a play-caller on first down,” Bowen said on the Bernstein & Holmes Show on Thursday afternoon. “Because that’s why you’re struggling on third downs in my opinion. You’re getting into negative situations because of your lack of first- and second-down efficiency – really your first-down efficiency. So can they be more aggressive with the early down play-action movement and try to push the ball down the field a little bit more?”

Despite their offensive struggles, the Bears have been solid on first downs, averaging 5.7 yards gained on them, according to Pro Football Reference. The NFL average for yards gained on first down is just shy of 5.6. But the Bears have also been really predictable on first down, with 63 rushing attempts and just 27 passing attempts. Chicago is averaging 6.4 passing yards per attempt on first downs, much lower than the NFL average of 7.4.

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