Thu Sep 19 6:25pm ET
By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Sports Writer
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13) looses control of the ball as Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (24) looks on in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum (8) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Paul Richardson in the second half of an NFL football game against Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) throws against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) breaks away from Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (24) to run downfield in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. Also on the field is Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13). (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Mitchell Trubisky wants the Bears to believe this will be the week their struggling offense gets going.
It might actually be that week because Chicago is facing a Washington Redskins defense that hasn't been able to stop much of anything.
The Bears (1-1) go into Monday night's matchup with the third-worst offense in the NFL through the first two weeks of the season. Fortunately for them, the Redskins (0-2) rank third-worst on defense and are dealing with some key injuries contributing to that disappointing start.
''They got some openings where we could have some success on offense this week,'' Trubisky said Thursday. ''We've got to believe that this offense can explode at any minute because of the playmakers and the special guys we have in the locker room.''
Chicago's offense has produced just one touchdown through two games - a 1-yard-run by David Montgomery last week - and Trubisky is a combined 42 of 72 for 348 yards and an interception. The 2017 second overall pick is near the bottom of the league at 4.8 yards a completion.
''Right now, it's just about getting into that rhythm and then understanding the execution of the plays,'' coach Matt Nagy said. ''And us as coaches, too, making sure that we're putting them in optimum position to make the plays with whatever play call is made. We're not running different plays. We're not running anything different than we did last year. It's a long season.''
That's the mantra inside the Redskins' locker room where injuries to defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and cornerbacks Fabian Moreau and Quinton Dunbar have contributed to them getting worn down as games go on. Coach Jay Gruden said it's not time to panic yet, but the defense underachieving is alarming.
Washington has allowed a combined 569 yards in the second half in losses to Philadelphia and Dallas .
''We're struggling a little bit, but it takes time,'' defensive tackle Tim Settle said. ''The more we work together as a team, the more we progress as a team, the better we're going to get. We're going to get things rolling. It's going to be pretty.''
Not much is pretty about the Redskins' defense or the Bears' offense so far. Settle mentioned communication as an issue, and first-year Washington middle linebacker Jon Bostic pointed to a lack of cohesiveness on the defensive side of the ball.
''Everybody's got to be on the same page,'' Bostic said. ''If you got 10 guys on the same page and one guy that's off it, it's going to lead to an explosive play. Explosive plays win ballgames for you.''
A big kick by Eddy Pineiro won the Bears their game last week at Denver, and they're still looking for the big plays that have eluded them.
''That comes down to everybody being locked in, making sure that everybody's on being on the same page - no miscues on any part of the offense,'' Chicago receiver Allen Robinson said. ''It just comes down to everybody being on the same page and executing.''
Some things to watch when the Bears visit the Redskins on Monday night:
MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY
Unlike the Redskins, the Bears' defense is doing just fine. It's ranked fourth in the league and sixth against the run under new coordinator Chuck Pagano after Vic Fangio left to take the Broncos' head coaching job.
''They're physical in the middle and they have speed at linebacker,'' Gruden said. ''They have good edge play. They have a safety that's a ball hawk. Their corners are pretty good and experienced. They don't really have a weakness in their defense.''
Chicago has seven sacks through two games, two off the league lead.
KEENUM IN RHYTHM
Case Keenum won Washington's starting QB job essentially by default because longtime backup Colt McCoy is still injured and first-round pick Dwayne Haskins isn't ready. But Keenum is far from a problem for the Redskins, throwing for 601 yards and five touchdown passes with no interceptions.
''I'm well aware of Case Keenum and what he can do,'' Nagy said. ''He's obviously having a good year right now. Statically he's protecting the football. He's very, very football smart. So his football IQ is high. He gets the ball out.''
The Bears brought in a long line of kickers during the offseason after letting the embattled Cody Parker go following his double-doink miss in the playoff loss to Philadelphia at Soldier Field. They ultimately went with Pineiro, and he just might be winning them over.
He nailed a 53-yard winner as time expired last week after hitting from 40 and 52 earlier in the game and is 4 for 4 this season. The big boot against the Broncos came after Nagy chose to go for a first down on fourth-and-10 in the opener against Green Bay at home rather than try a 51-yarder.
''I'm trying to gain trust from them,'' Pineiro said. ''Now that he's seen me hit a couple 50-yarders, maybe he lets me try a few longer ones. So it's all a trust process. But we work for that moment behind the scenes at practice. Last-second kick, your team loses, we've been doing this for the past four months now.''
STILL NO REED
The Redskins hoped to get matchup nightmare tight end Jordan Reed back last week after being concussed Aug. 23. This is his fifth documented concussion in seven years, Reed didn't practice again Thursday and all possible caution being taken means he could miss the Bears game, too.
''This is all a part of the process of recovering from this ordeal,'' Gruden said. ''We're just taking it very slowly, making sure he goes through the right process to make sure it's right before he goes back on the field.''
Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel caught only one pass for two yards in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints. The score is misleading as the Bears trailed by 26 points late in the game. Gabriel returned to the lineup after missing the Raiders game but was non-existent the entire game. After catching three first-half touchdowns against the Redskins in Week 5, Gabriel's chemistry with quarterback Mitch Trubisky was nowhere to be found. The entire Bears offense will be a shaky fantasy play heading into Week 8.
Chicago Bears tight end Trey Burton caught two passes for 11 yards in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints at home. Burton has been a shell of the player that was a top-12 fantasy tight end in 2018 and was targeted only four times in the game. It seems that all of the Bears offensive creativity from last season has completely evaporated. With that has gone Burton's production and the tight end has fallen off the fantasy map. Burton has no fantasy viable heading into Week 8.
Minnesota Vikings kicker Dan Bailey missed a 45-yard field goal but went a perfect 6-for-6 on extra-point attempts in Week 7's win over the Detroit Lions. This was Bailey's second missed field goal this season, but he's still hitting 80% of his attempts and nailed his lone 50-yard attempt back in Week 3. Bailey is an attractive option in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins as the Vikings are currently projected to put up 27 points.
The Chicago Bears Defense fell apart in the team's disappointing 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. The vaunted unit was once again gashed on the ground, allowing 151 rushing yards. The Bears special teams was able to post a touchdown on a kickoff return but the defense registered only one sack and zero turnovers. The Bears defense is a highly talented unit but the offense can't sustain drives. The time of possession was so out of whack that the Bears defense ran out of gas in the second half. The Bears will try and bounce back next week.
Indianapolis Colts TE Eric Ebron had four grabs for 70 yards and a touchdown in Week 7 against the Houston Texans. His touchdown in the back of the end zone was initially ruled incomplete, but instant review confirmed his score.
Fantasy Spin: Ebron has alternated games with a touchdown in each of his six games. If you believe the pattern will continue, he'll get blanked next week against the Denver Broncos. He remains a solid TE1 in most fantasy leagues of 12 or more teams, although he has been quite inconsistent.
Indianapolis Colts CB Pierre Desir had seven total tackles with two passes defensed in Week 7 against the Houston Texans.
Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard registered 10 more tackles with a pass defensed in Week 7 against the Houston Texans.
Indianapolis Colts LB Justin Houston had three total stops with two sacks, two tackles for loss and four quarterback hits in Week 7 against the Houston Texans.
Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery totaled only six rushing yards in the Bears 36-25 drubbing by the Saints in Week 7. Montgomery added two receptions for 13 yards but saw only two carries in the game. The Bears offense was a mess from the jump and the team totaled only seven rushing attempts in the entire game. Montgomery has talent but has struggled to get anything going behind a slumping offensive line. The rookie needs to be downgraded in fantasy heading into Week 8 until the Bears offense can prove it can produce.
San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould provided all the scoring in a 9-0 shutout against the Washington Redskins in Week 7. Gould converted three of four field goal tries, all inside the 30-yard line. Kicking with a new crew in 2019, Gould hasnt been as automatic as past years and is now 12-for-19 on the season (63 percent). Gould is still a solid fantasy kicking option.
Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen caught nine passes for only 19 yards in the Bears 36-25 letdown loss against the Saints. Cohen also carried the ball three times for 10 yards in a game that featured a stagnant Bears offense. For three quarters, the Bears couldn't move the ball and Cohen's receptions led to nowhere. The nine catches salvages Cohen's fantasy day in PPR leagues but all of the Bears offensive weapons need to be downgraded heading into Week 8's action.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Olabisi Johnson caught 4-of-8 targets for 40 yards and a touchdown in Week 7 against the Detroit Lions. Johnson was able to take advantage of some increased volume due to an early exit from Adam Thielen (hamstring). The rookie scored his first career touchdown on a one-yard play-action pass in the first quarter and worked in as the Vikings' clear second option in the passing attack with Thielen sidelined. Johnson is worth a look as a bye-week streamer with an opportunity to produce against the burnable Washington Redskins in Week 8, depending on the playing status of Thielen.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller caught five passes for 64 yards in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. Miller saw nine targets in the game but rarely generated any kind of production until the final two garbage-time drives. The second-year receiver also lost a costly fumble in the first half in a game that was dominated by the Saints. Miller now has back-to-back games of 50-plus receiving yards but the Bears offense is a mess right now. Miller lacks fantasy appeal heading into Week 8.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton registered six catches for 74 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets in Week 7 against the Houston Texans.
Fantasy Spin: Hilton was outshined by Zach Pascal, who had six grabs, 106 yards and two scores, but the two co-existed in this one and did nice things for their fantasy owners. It's a tougher matchup in Week 8 against the Denver Broncos, but Hilton remains a must-start in most fantasy formats.
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed 34 of 54 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. Practically all of the third-year quarterback's stats came in the final moments after the Bears had fallen behind 36-10. The Bears offense was abysmal for three quarters and Trubisky showed plenty of rust. He was able to salvage his outing from a fantasy perspective but will not be a viable option until he can show sustained accuracy and efficiency.
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida handled eight totes for 44 yards and added a one-yard grab in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. Discouragingly, Breida was thoroughly out-touched 22-9 by backfield mate Tevin Coleman, who raced for 62 yards of his own. It was an all-around team effort for the Niners in sloppy conditions and they remain undefeated. Breidas become a clear second fiddle to Coleman since the latters return from injury and should be modestly downgraded for fantasy purposes. In a run-heavy offensive scheme, Breida still has the volume to be a weekly RB3/flex option. The Carolina Panthers weak rush defense awaits in Week 8.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson tallied 10 receptions for 87 yards and one touchdown in the Bears 36-25 loss to the Saints in Week 7. Robinson's final fantasy line looks a lot better thanks to two late-game garbage drives for scores. The Bears offense is really struggling right now but the veteran receiver continues to be the only consistent source of production. Despite the Bears offensive woes, Robinson will remain a solid WR2 heading into Week 8.
Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison carried seven times for 18 yards (2.6 yards per carry) in Week 7's 42-30 win over the Detroit Lions. Mattison took a clear back seat in this one as Dalvin Cook carried 25 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Mattison was also not targeted in the passing game. The rookie back out of Boise State has been productive this season (5.3 yards per carry) but remains more of a high-priority handcuff than a player to consider starting in re-draft formats. However, he could be worth a look as a sneaky RB3 option with higher expected volume in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins' porous run defense.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman converted 20 carries into 62 yards, also recording two catches for negative one yard in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins. Coleman wasnt efficient, but continued dominating touches over backfield mate Matt Breida by a 22-9 margin. Colemans been used as a workhorse since returning from an ankle injury, giving him a solid floor in a run-heavy offense. Hell be a high-end RB2 in Week 8 against a porous Carolina Panthers run defense.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown in the Bears disappointing 36-25 loss to the Saints. Patterson flashed what makes him so valuable in the first quarter, taking a kick from the end zone all the way to the house. Patterson was used at times on the offensive side of the ball, racking up 23 yards on one carry and two receptions. Patterson is a threat and makes an above average fantasy defense better with his ability to produce on special teams.