Hoyer would rather win than roll another 300-yard game
CHICAGO — For three consecutive games, Chicago Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer has passed for 300-plus yards without throwing an interception.
But Hoyer does not want to hear about his personal streak heading into Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“It hasn't translated to points or victories,” Hoyer told reporters this week at the Bears' practice facility. “I think passing yards is kind of an overrated stat when it comes down to it. We've got to translate that into scores.
“That's just the bottom line. That's part of this business: It's win or loss.”
The Bears (1-4) have little to boast about in that category. They will try to reverse a season that quickly is slipping away as they host the Jaguars (1-3) at Soldier Field for the first time since 2008.
Hoyer is expected to make his fourth start in place of Jay Cutler, who remains sidelined because of a thumb injury. Hoyer is 1-2 in his starts but has performed admirably as he has completed 71.1 percent of his passes (91 of 128) for 1,016 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions in his starts.
Still, as Hoyer said, a strong passing game has not produced enough scoring. Chicago is third-to-last in the league with an average of 17.0 points per game. Injuries to starters such as running back Jeremy Langford (ankle) and wide receiver Kevin White (ankle, shin) have not helped.
Chicago has beaten the Detroit Lions this season while losing to the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts. The Bears are 1-1 at Soldier Field.
Jacksonville has fared slightly better than the Bears with 21.0 points per game, which is good for No. 19 in the league. Quarterback Blake Bortles has completed 61.3 percent of his passes, the best mark of his career, for 1,050 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions in four games.
The Jaguars are coming off a bye after beating the Colts two weeks ago in London. Two of Jacksonville's losses (against the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens) have been by four points or fewer.
Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley's team will welcome back cornerback Aaron Colvin from a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Colvin started 15 games last season and finished with 73 tackles, four sacks, seven pass breakups and a forced fumble.
“I know that I can bring another element to this secondary that's already playing at a high level,” Colvin told reporters this week. “I'm just excited to get back with these guys and do anything and everything I can to help them.”
Colvin joins a high-caliber defense that has allowed 304.5 yards per game, seventh fewest in the NFL.
“You look at these guys on paper, they've been adding talent year after year,” Hoyer said. “Defensively, you've got some beasts up front (and) a lot of high draft picks or big free agents in the back end. (Middle linebacker) Paul Posluszny is like the quarterback back there. He's been in that system for a while. … It's another defense that's going to be a real challenge for us.”
Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith has six-plus tackles in 20 consecutive games. Yet Smith knows that he and his teammates cannot take anything for granted against the Bears, who have a playmaking wide receiver in Alshon Jeffery and an upstart running back in rookie Jordan Howard.
What is Smith's take on the Bears' offensive scheme?
“It's simple, but they can beat you being simple,” Smith told the Florida Times-Union. “If you look at the Colts game when they put up 500 yards, it's a lot of simple scheme.
“If you don't play well, you'll get embarrassed. You'll get a lot of yards put up on you if you make the situation harder than it has to be.”
The Bears also hope to avoid embarrassment on defense. The team has allowed 346.0 yards per game, which is ranked in the middle of the pack at No. 14. Chicago has four takeaways in five games.
Look for linebacker Danny Trevathan to make a bigger impact this weekend. Trevathan returned last week after missing a couple of games because of a thumb injury. He was one of Chicago's top free-agent signings during the offseason after he won a Super Bowl title with the Denver Broncos.
“He was rusty from a mental standpoint out there,” Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio told reporters. “You could see where he was off two or three weeks. I think he'll be better this week.”