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Houston Texans Key To Beating the Bears: Stopping David Montgomery

Houston’s run defense woes will come to a head against the Bears on Sunday.

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David Montgomery dined and dashed against the Houston Texans last time the two faced each other other in 2020. Montgomery was fresh off the best rushing game of his career, racking up 146 yards and two TDs against the Vikings. Against the Texans, he scored on his very fist snap, taking it 80 yards to set the tone of a 36-7 drubbing.

This year, the Chicago Bears and Texans find themselves at an inflection point for both teams. The winner is right back to jockeying for position in their division, while the loser reflects on the game as beneficial to their NFL Draft status in April.

Houston has allowed 326 rushing yards over two games. Only the Tennessee Titans and this week’s opponents, the Bears, have allowed more. The amalgamation of youth and veterans on the defensive line have yet to congeal and stop opposing teams from teeing off against them on early downs.

Montgomery was the focal point in the Bears’ second half offense against the Green Bay Packers in the Sunday Night Football matchup. He recorded multiple 10+ yard carries as illustrated in the Next Gen Stats chart below.

The Texans have leaned on Roy Lopez, Jonathan Greenard, Jerry Hughes, and Rasheem Green to man the front. Their efforts have not materialized to much and their exhaustion was evident in the fourth quarter while getting trampled by Jonathan Taylor. The Texans gambled when they traded Ross Blacklock and opted for undrafted rookie Kurt Hinish. So far the rookie is rotating in 13 of plays and primary as a run stopper. Even so, this entire front will need to step up to beat the Bears.

Montgomery isn’t a one-trick pony. He is second on the team in targets and third in receiving yards. While the Bears passing offense is still in hibernation, Montgomery is a threat in the passing game that must be quelled.

Jalen Pitre should be the Texans solution. The safety who is a quasi-linebacker in formations should key on Montgomery. He runs 2-3 screen plays per game and frequently is let out on routes over the short-middle or in the flats. Pitre’s length, tackling acumen, and speed pair nicely against the running back.

The Bears lack of receiving talent afford the Texans the opportunity to utilize Pitre in the box in what basketball fans would call a box-and-one. Essentially, everyone else play zone, Pitre’s on Montgomery for the rest of the game. Someone else try to beat us.