The Chicago Bears' offense has figured some things out over the last three weeks of the season.
After struggling the first month and a half of the season with just a 15.5 points per game average, the Bears have unlocked their offense, mainly because they've unleashed second-year quarterback Justin Fields.
"I would say, it feels like a hybrid between – I feel like you're watching a little bit of (Browns QB) DeShaun Watson in Houston, you're watching (Ravens QB) Lamar Jackson. There's a little bit of (Eagles QB) Jalen Hurts, just very quarterback driven," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said this week of preparing to play Fields. "Quarterback driven runs, guard tackle pulls, read the end, hand it off."
The Bears have scored 94 points in their last three contests. Fields is coming off a stellar performance last week in which he ran for an NFL regular season record 176 yards and a touchdown. He also threw three touchdown passes. He was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week, despite the Bears' ultimately losing to the Dolphins, 35-32.
Fields has a 104.7 passer rating and is averaging 257.7 total yards of offense in his last three contests.
What makes Sunday's matchup between the Bears and Lions at Soldier Field so intriguing is that the Lions' defense is coming off their best performance of the year, holding Green Bay to just nine points and forcing three takeaways off Aaron Rodgers in a win.
The Lions have had their struggles with dual-threat quarterbacks this season.
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts had a season-high 90 rushing yards and a touchdown against Detroit Week 1. Seahawks QB Geno Smith posted a season-high 49 yards and a touchdown against the Lions in Week 4. Even Rodgers, not known as a consistent rushing threat at this point in his career, totaled 40 rushing yards and converted two long third-down situations in last week's contest.
Lions new secondary coach Brian Duker was a defensive assistant for the Baltimore Ravens from 2018-20. He saw Jackson every day in practice and knows better than most how difficult it is to stop a dual-threat quarterback unless everyone is locked in, keyed in and plays disciplined football on defense.
"Just trying to emphasize, the importance to these guys of everybody getting to the ball," Duker said this week. "It's a group effort to get him down."
It's all starts upfront for the Lions, where the hope is they've learned from prior mistakes against Hurts and Smith in particular.
"Once you get a chance to try beat someone on the edge, man, you're going continue to go, but I've talked to our guys about this (Thursday) morning," Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said. "We have to play the type of game we need to play to win, and that changes. So, in saying that, we have to make sure that we condense the pocket, make sure we push the pocket, and that we equate to getting sacks for the most part.
"I think Green Bay (in a 27-10 win over Chicago Week 2) did a pretty good job of doing that. Even though they weren't speed rushing around the edge, they really condense the pocket, and they kept (Fields) in this cage, and they were able to make plays and get sacks."
But this is a different looking Bears' offense of late.
Chicago has rushed for 225 yards in four straight contests. Fields has been a big catalyst for that, so containing him and making him beat Detroit with his arm, must be priority No. 1 Sunday in Chicago.