Numbers don’t matter, Justin Fields stated after Sunday’s 20-12 street loss to the New York Giants, explaining that the Chicago Bears’ 2-2 report is the one determine that counts.
That’s exhausting to dispute, and because the pattern measurement grows it’s turning into more and more troublesome to say something is working nicely on offense exterior of the working recreation.
For the longest time, coaches divided seasons into quarters, evaluating the smaller parts. The addition of a seventeenth regular-season recreation a yr in the past modifications that math.
Fields has the bottom passer ranking within the NFL at 58.7. The subsequent lowest is Mitch Trubisky at 73.7, and he misplaced his beginning job with the Pittsburgh Steelers this week. Fields is thirty first out of 32 in QBR, the ESPN-created system that comes with quarterbacks working the ball. Fields is at 26.2. The Carolina Panthers’ Baker Mayfield is beneath him at 15.3.
“Who said the passing game wasn’t working?” Fields stated Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy disputed the notion it has been a bumpy first 4 weeks for Fields, who’s finishing 50.7% of his move makes an attempt, thirty second within the NFL.
“I don’t think he’s had a rough month,” Getsy stated. “He’s gotten better each week. He’s growing tremendously. We’re playing good football teams. It’s not easy to become the level of quarterback that he wants to become and I know that he can become. The important thing is that we stay focused, keep our eyes on that progress or process and we make sure we get better each week, and I believe that we’re in that phase.”
Coach Matt Eberflus has stated a number of instances just lately that the passing recreation is starting to look higher in practices, one thing that ought to carry over into video games, however the thought the Bears have had lots of good moments throwing the ball is disingenuous.
It’s simple to level to points in all places — quarterback, offensive line, skill-position gamers — however let’s zero in on a recurring theme. The offense is in the identical spot it was within the final two years when former coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor commonly circled again to the frequent trigger they believed was stopping them from unlocking the offense. Lazor stated the Bears needed to put third down on “the top of the list” for issues to enhance in 2021. It by no means occurred.
- The Bears have been 34.6% on third down in 2020, thirty first within the NFL.
- They have been 34.7% in 2021, final within the NFL.
- They at the moment are at 34%, twenty sixth within the league.
As a lot as issues have modified — teaching, scheme, personnel — the ineffectiveness on third down stays remarkably constant. When they’re struggling to maintain drives and can’t generate sufficient explosive performs, it makes scoring touchdowns a giant problem. Combine that with the red-zone ineptitude the Bears encountered final week and it’s a recipe for constant failure.
The Bears have transformed 17 of fifty third downs. In equity, two have been Fields kneel downs, however that doesn’t help the thought the offense has been something near OK. Of the 15 third downs the crew has transformed, seven have been on scrambles or runs by Fields. That merely can’t be the reply for the Bears — it’s not sustainable and can make it troublesome to maintain the quarterback wholesome.
Wide receiver Darnell Mooney has caught one move for a primary down on third down, an 18-yard play on third-and-9 on Sunday. He has been focused solely two different instances on third down and each throws have been intercepted. That doesn’t do something to help the concept Mooney can emerge as a No. 1 receiver.
Tight finish Cole Kmet had massive positive factors of 24 and 16 yards on third down in Week 3 in opposition to the Houston Texans. Otherwise, he has been invisible. The offense lacks a artful slot receiver who can discover area beneath to make massive performs on third-and-6 or much less.
Fields is 15-of-22 passing for 216 yards on third down with two landing passes. Those numbers are fairly good. The drawback is Fields has dropped again to move 35 instances on third down leading to seven passing first downs — two on screens that have been nicely blocked. Fields has 13 speeding makes an attempt on third down — 10 scrambles and three designed runs — which have resulted in 77 yards and the seven first downs.
There is not any simple resolution to bettering the third-down woes, and the struggles are simply traced to ineffectiveness on first and second down. Getsy stated there isn’t a typical them to third-down points. It’s notable that of the Bears’ 50 third downs, 36 have been third-and-6 or extra. The Bears are getting behind in down and distance and too usually can not catch up.
It could be an enormous assist if the offense may very well be extra aggressive and productive on first down. The 56-yard move to Mooney within the first quarter in opposition to the Giants got here on first down. It flipped the sphere and led to a area objective. That lengthy play accounts for 32% of Fields’ passing yards on first down.
Fields is nineteen of 45 (42%) for 255 yards on first and second down on a complete of 65 drop-backs. If that isn’t a part of a “rough month,” what’s? He has been sacked 11 instances on first and second down, placing the offense behind the chains. If he can get to 55% passing on these downs — which nonetheless isn’t good — the offense could be in a greater place. His poor passer ranking is due partly to the actual fact he’s lacking lots of simple throws close to the road of scrimmage or just not making an attempt them.
The Bears face a Minnesota Vikings protection Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium that’s tied for eleventh within the league on third down, permitting opponents to transform on 35.4% of alternatives. Improvement on third down received’t come till first and second downs are higher. Perhaps Getsy, who stated the benchmark for third down is 48% — that normally is the highest determine on the finish of each season — might be extra aggressive on early downs to supply extra chunk performs.
Pressed into how he doesn’t see the primary 4 video games as a tough patch for Fields, Getsy stored his deal with the method — even when it hasn’t affected outcomes.
“I know what I know and I believe what I believe,” he stated. “And what we do in this building is what we pay attention to, and the questions that you ask, that’s your right to ask whatever you want. As long as we stay focused on what we know and what we believe in, we know in the end we’re going to get where we want to get.”
They’re not going to get far by routinely dealing with third-and-unmanageable, however in the event you’ve been following the crew for greater than a minute, that.