Chicago Bears QB rewind: After Justin Fields’ self-proclaimed ‘trash’ performance, the passing attack is still on a treasure hunt

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Trash.

That’s the phrase Justin Fields selected throughout a self-assessment of his efficiency Sunday. He needed to be even harsher.

“Straight up I simply performed like — I wish to say the A-word however I’m not going to (say) that,” Fields stated. “I simply performed like trash. I performed horrible.”

Immediately requested for specifics of the place he faltered, Fields shook his head.

“Lots of issues,” he stated. “Lots of issues. Lots of issues. So, yeah.”

The Chicago Bears gained Sunday, sneaking previous the Houston Texans 23-20 due to a late Roquan Smith interception and a walk-off subject aim by Cairo Santos. But for these centered primarily on Fields’ growth as the truest indicator of the crew’s 2022 development, Sunday created important anxiousness.

Fields regarded unsettled and out of sync for many of the afternoon. Absolutely nothing got here straightforward. The passing sport was again broken.

The Bears wanted well timed playmaking from the protection and their finest dashing outing since the first time period of the Reagan administration to edge certainly one of the worst groups in the NFL on the remaining play of the day.

For Fields, it felt like certainly one of the shoddiest begins of his profession and perhaps even certified as a step backward. He went with out a landing move and threw two ugly interceptions. He was sacked 5 instances and had solely eight completions.

On 11 of 12 possessions, the Bears failed to finish a number of passes. Fields’ 27.7 passer ranking was his fifth in 13 profession begins beneath 75.

His frustration remained apparent after the sport, significantly with the interceptions.

“That’s certainly one of our keys to victory on offense — 100% ball safety,” Fields stated.

Another key to victory shall be to determine a passing attack that’s a constant risk to defenses. Through three video games, that hasn’t been the case.

Here’s your complete Week 3 QB rewind.

Defining second

The first of Fields’ two interceptions was ugly, a shot over the center to tight finish Cole Kmet that sailed on to Texans security Jalen Pitre.

“I simply missed it,” Fields stated. “Cole was huge open. Missed it.”

That was a first-read throw to an open receiver from a clear pocket and still was a turnover. The unforced inaccuracy was startling. That type of misfire is solely inexcusable.

If the Bears coaches already felt hesitant to present Fields extra freedom and alternative, that first-half choose appeared to spook them a bit — not less than briefly.

Fields didn’t throw one other move 5 yards past the line of scrimmage for the subsequent 14 snaps.

On third-and-6 from deep of their territory in the second quarter, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy dialed up a run up the center by rookie Trestan Ebner. That play gained 2 yards and the Bears punted.

On 14 third downs in the sport, the Bears handed solely 4 instances. Fields additionally was sacked twice on third down and scrambled on passing performs two different instances.

Fortunately for the Bears, their operating sport is actually buzzing. Sunday’s 281-yard effort, which featured 7 yards per rush, offered a trusty flotation machine. But at no level did the passing attack discover a rhythm. The quest for even a small groove in that space rolls into October.

On the vivid aspect

Fields was requested in the postgame information convention if there was something from his efficiency he might cling to and draw encouragement from. Even the most optimistic followers and analysts have been struggling to reply that one.

“Just the means I fought,” Fields stated. “Of course there have been some dangerous performs. There have been positively extra dangerous performs than good performs, from my standpoint not less than. But, yeah, the solely constructive I can take for me is that we acquired the win. Again, I’m going to proceed to get higher.”

Winning is all the time good. A useful deodorant, as former Bears coach Matt Nagy used to say. And it’s a tribute to the whole crew effort that the Bears had sufficient to grind out a win with their quarterback struggling as a lot as Fields did.

Fields revealed final week that he altered his preparation routine, waking up earlier than 6 a.m. all through Week 3 to get in as a lot movie examine as doable. The speedy payoff for these further hours wasn’t there Sunday.

Even worse, the Bears’ sloppiness was evident from the first play, a mishandled center-quarterback alternate between Sam Mustipher and Fields.

The Bears squeezed a 47-yard Santos subject aim out of their opening possession, thanks principally to the longest run of Fields’ profession, a 29-yard scramble that carried the Bears from their 36 to the Texans 35. But a lot of that drive was rickety. After the fumble on the opening play, Fields’ first completion to a wide-open Byron Pringle got here on a move that was startlingly inaccurate.

A fast-hitter on the subsequent snap to Darnell Mooney was batted down behind the line of scrimmage by cornerback Desmond King.

Late in the sequence, Fields stumbled when his toes tangled with David Montgomery’s throughout his drop-back. That play ended with a dangerous misfire to an open Equanimeous St. Brown.

That foreshadowed most of the afternoon because it associated to Fields’ play. At some level quickly, the correction course of after these video games has to turn out to be a lot much less demanding.

Wait, isn’t this section labeled “On the vivid aspect”?

Uh-oh

Even the straightforward performs aren’t straightforward proper now for Fields and the Bears.

That quick-game first-down display screen to Mooney in the slot to the left? Batted down.

A brief swing move to Ebner in the proper flat? Way outdoors. Wild pitch. Incomplete.

Another fundamental pitch-and-catch to Mooney late in the first half? Dropped. Second-and-long.

Yikes.

If the early interception meant for Kmet was Fields’ worst second, a runner-up candidate was his third-quarter throw to tight finish Jake Tonges on a play-action rollout to the proper. Tonges wasn’t the first learn, however he was open 13 yards past the line of scrimmage. Fields threw means behind him.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Fields threw his second interception on a deep ball over the center to Mooney. Fields acknowledged Cover-2 earlier than the snap and had Mooney matched up with center linebacker Christian Kirksey. It was a dream setup for a large play.

But stress got here up the center with defensive deal with Maliek Collins knifing between Larry Borom and Lucas Patrick to muddle the pocket. Fields, who might need had a possibility to let it fly a half-tick earlier, was hit as he threw.

“The ball simply sailed too excessive,” he stated.

Pitre simply had his second choose of the sport.

“Next time on that play, take a check-down,” Fields stated. “That’s one factor I’m going to work on this week. If I’m getting stress, increase, take a check-down.”

Eberflus was temporary together with his evaluation of that turnover a day later.

“He simply has to deal with the ball higher,” he stated. “He can’t put the ball in hurt’s means. He is aware of that. On that exact play, he did.”

It’s a little bit of a Bermuda Triangle for the Bears passing attack at the second. The offensive line isn’t defending all that properly; the Bears allowed 5 sacks Sunday. The receiving corps has been extremely underwhelming. The quarterback hasn’t performed properly. At all.

To that center level, Pringle left the sport with a proper leg damage, formally introduced as a calf challenge. He departed Soldier Field in a strolling boot.

Rookie Velus Jones Jr. has missed the first three video games with a nagging hamstring challenge that restricted him via a lot of coaching camp. Dante Pettis made a game-changing 51-yard touchdown reception on a damaged play in Week 1 however hasn’t caught a move since. Mooney has all of 4 catches on 11 targets for 27 yards.

A rising faction of Bears followers is feeling uneasy that the teaching employees isn’t displaying belief in Fields and the passing sport. But so far, what’s there to belief?

Odds and ends

  • Eberflus could have had his first important game-management blunder late in the first half. Trailing 14-13, the Bears took possession at their 10-yard line with 1 minute, 4 seconds remaining and all three timeouts left. A 9-yard run by Khalil Herbert on the fourth play of that sequence moved the chains and pushed the ball out to the 28 with 40 seconds remaining. But relatively than utilizing a timeout to reset and make a daring push at scoring earlier than halftime, the Bears let 27 seconds run off the clock, have been sluggish getting a play in and ran after which, with lower than 15 seconds to play, Fields was sacked. The time ran out. Boos rained down from the Soldier Field seats. Fans stared with palms up and bemused expressions questioning what in the world the philosophy was. After the sport, Eberflus defined that the Bears have been in a one-back, three-tight-end personnel grouping on the Herbert run and that after a Texans substitution, he wanted to do a higher job of getting again into a grouping with one again and one tight finish. “I ought to have known as timeout at 35 seconds and we might have been positive,” Eberflus stated. “I’ve to be higher in that scenario proper there.”
  • The Bears’ longest achieve of the season got here on their first play of the second half, a powerful 52-yard run by Herbert via a gap the dimension of the Eisenhower Expressway. Fullback Khari Blasingame cleared Pitre out of the gap. Cody Whitehair and Teven Jenkins acquired to the second stage for space-clearing blocks. All Herbert needed to do was make one decisive cutback inside and dodge a deal with try from Jonathan Owens. It was all open subject from there. Said Kmet: “We needed to get again to our huge zone scheme there to start out the half. And that offered rather well and Khalil hit the gap laborious. … Definitely acquired us going there.” Fields hit a straightforward 20-yard completion to Equanimeous St. Brown on the subsequent play, and Herbert took over from there, ultimately scoring on a 1-yard run to present the Bears a 20-17 lead.
  • Fields’ 29-yard run, certainly one of six tuck-and-run scrambles, was a showcase of his elusiveness and velocity, a nifty escape from the Texans move rush. But even that chunk play deserved scrutiny. Fields had all day to throw and loads of room inside the pocket. From overhead, it appeared he had Pettis open down the subject to his proper. St. Brown, in the meantime, might have been focused on a nook path to the identical aspect. Fields didn’t pull the set off and took off. The capability to make a play together with his legs was notable and a large contribution to a scoring drive. But as the Bears push their younger quarterback to turn out to be a persistently productive pocket passer, they may level to moments like that as situations the place he must be higher, even on performs that finish with a profitable consequence.
  • The Bears have been dominant in the operating sport via three video games with an NFC-high 560 yards and 5.4 yards per rush, which ranks fourth in the league. The consistency has sparked confidence up entrance. And it was rewarding for the offensive line to return to the locker room after the sport with a 281-yard dashing outing. “I don’t know if I’ve been a part of an offense that’s rushed for that a lot my total profession,” guard Lucas Patrick stated. “I felt like we have been taking the line of scrimmage, placing a hat on a hat and simply letting our runners be particular.”

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