On Justin Fields’ biggest play in Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans, he was hoping for something even bigger. On the Chicago Bears’ fifth snap on their first drive — third and 9 of their 36 — Fields was confident receiver Darnell Mooney could break free for a potential big win on a deep corner road. But as much as Fields wanted that big play, Mooney was headed inside by cornerback Steven Nelson, and the two tangled for a while.
The deepest shot ever opened.
On the same side, Equanimeous St. Brown won the split on a shorter corner route.
“But my feet just weren’t ready for it,” Fields explained.
Under St. Brown, Dante Pettis had plenty of cushion as he sat in his route near the numbers 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
Yet even with the cleanest pocket he had all day and enough time to throw, Fields never set the right rhythm to throw and instead took off through the pocket and then to the left sideline, propelling into the open field for what would become the longest run. of his career – a 29-yard burst that triggered a Bears touchdown.
Fields was asked on Wednesday how he handled that play and whether during the video review he recognized any opportunities to pull the trigger to open receivers.
“I really wanted Moon,” he said. “I thought it was a good game, but the corner ended up playing out of leverage.”
A day later, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was asked to comment on that streak.
“What you would like to see him do is go down (from Mooney deep) to Pettis over there on the check,” Getsy said. “But that’s who he is. When he has that moment to be able to create space and time (with his legs), we certainly don’t want to take that away from him. So I wouldn’t say he necessarily hung on (Mooney’s route) too long. It’s just, OK, once that collision happens (between Mooney and Nelson), find your checkdown. And then if it wasn’t there, now it’s time to get out.
It’s the little moments, between failed plays and big wins, in which the training process at Halas Hall continues to be instrumental. Fields is off to a miserably slow start in three games, ranked 32nd in the league in completions (23), passing yards (297) and passer rating (50.0) and driving a spray offense which ranks last in total yardage.
Still, amid the frustration and accompanying push to turn things around, the Bears find a handful of reasons to remain encouraged. Getsy spoke to reporters for 15 minutes Thursday afternoon in Lake Forest. Here are three things we learned.
Fields took issue with that suggestion on Wednesday, which came immediately after detailing his process on the 29-scramble.
“You just have to listen to your feet and get the ball in time,” he said.
Getsy echoed that sentiment on Thursday, dismissing the premise that the coaching staff showed distrust of his young quarterback with conservative play calls.
“It’s not like we were intimidated to call a (passing) play by any means,” Getsy said. “We call the game which we believe is the best to attack with our clashes. …Sometimes we’re not able to go five wide and spread people out because of the matchups we have to deal with.
The Bears chose to throw the ball more than once against the Texans in third-and-middle or third-and-long situations. But Getsy stressed that much of that was situationally driven.
“It’s not the sexiest thing in the world to run the ball in third and sixth,” he said. “But when we feel like we have advantageous things in our hands, we’re going to do whatever it takes. Whether it’s a run, a pass, a screen, whatever it is. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to find these matchups on our own and that’s part of it.
Fields’ pick in the first quarter on a pass to tight end Cole Kmet in the seam was one of his ugliest moments in a shaky performance. But Getsy was impressed with Fields’ ability to adapt in-game to how quickly Kmet opened up.
Texans slot cornerback Desmond King reacted so quickly to a potential screen pass to Mooney to the left that Kmet cleared away almost immediately.
“It happened a lot quicker than expected,” Getsy said. “Cole just jumped.”
This forced Fields to speed up his fall in order to prepare to throw.
“He actually did a great job closing his feet,” Getsy said.
Fields’ pass, however, was nowhere near Kmet, caught instead by Texas safety Jalen Pitre. The Bears quarterback noted Wednesday that the ball slipped out of his hand a bit while he was throwing. Which, truth be told, shouldn’t buy him much forgiveness. Getsy also noted a few mechanical glitches on the throw.
“He got a little long with his delivery, long with his stride,” Getsy said. “So every time it came out of his hand, you could tell it was funny.”
Getsy called Fields’ in-game decision-making and adjustment “brilliant”.
“He just missed a pitch,” Getsy said. “We just have to make sure he doesn’t miss those shots.”
The Bears are averaging an NFC-best rushing 186.7 yards while averaging 5.4 yards per carry. For three games they rushed and asserted themselves to establish control in that area, with the offensive line playing poorly, receivers contributing as outside blockers and Fields doing well in his forward responsibilities. breaking. For Getsy, it’s been an impressive payback for what the Bears have been working on all summer.
“Right from the start, when we walked into training camp, we focused on what we wanted to be and how we wanted to play the game,” Getsy said. “And they took that by the reins for sure. Our style of play reflects that. The way they shoot the ball, the way they finish, all that. It was the first thing we said we were going to do.
“We wanted our tape to look a certain way, and these guys definitely took on that challenge and did a really good job.”