There have been many questions and concerns following the Chicago Bears’ 27-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. Quarterback Justin Fields and Chicago’s offense is receiving the most criticism for the loss as they had only 70 passing yards on 11 attempts. Through the first two weeks of the 2022 NFL season, The Bears’ offense ranks dead last in passing yards with 191 total yards through to games as offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has struggled significantly with play designs.
Getsy Is Doing The Opposite Of What Was Working For The Offense During The Preseason
Through the Bears’ first two games of the season, the offense has had issues with their passing game as Fields appears to not have open wide receivers to throw to downfield. The lack of open targets is surprising, as during the preseason, Chicago’s second-year quarterback completed several passes to wide-open targets. In Fields’ first two games this season, he only has three pass completions of 20 yards or longer, with only one completion coming from the passing pocket.
At some point, Luke Getsy is going to have to allow Justin Fields to actually play QB. With 2 minutes left in the first half, he has 5 pass attempts. That’s not going to cut it. #Bears
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) September 19, 2022
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When Getsy was hired as the Bears’ offensive coordinator by head coach Matt Eberflus, the goal was to build an offense to highlight Fields’ strengths as a quarterback. Chicago’s new play-caller goal was to design an offense that featured play-action and rollout pass plays to highlight his quarterback’s deep ball accuracy and mobility. During this year’s preseason, Fields and Chicago’s offense was moving the ball through the air, with several passes coming on play-action and boot-leg designs.
Wide receiver Darnell Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet were expected to be the two most vital passing targets for Fields heading into the start of the season, given their success during the preseason. In the Bears’ three preseason games, both Kmet and Mooney caught passes of 25 yards or longer, as Fields looked highly confident and decisive with his decision-making. Against the Packers on Sunday night, Chicago’s quarterback looked highly unsure and often held onto the football too long.
1. People keep talking about who Justin Fields' #2 target will be after Darnell Mooney.
Stop narrowing the vision to the WR group.
It's going to be Cole Kmet.
— Erik Lambert (@ErikLambert1) August 21, 2022
Through the first two games, Getsy has failed to call passing plays that have targeted and allowed either Kmet or Mooney to get wide open for Fields to throw to. Chicago’s top wide receiver and starting tight end have combined for only two receptions for eight yards. Additionally, The Bears’ offense has rarely featured the bootleg and play-action passing plays that were utilized significantly during the preseason. Against the Packers, most of Fields’ passing attempts came from a shotgun formation.
Getsy’s desire with Fields and the passing offense is to get the ball out of his quarterback’s hands and make the offense as simple as possible to execute. NFL analysts and local media spoke highly of Chicago’s new offensive coordinator during the offseason and preseason as the Bears’ offense was scheming passing targets open and getting the football out of the quarterbacks’ hands as soon as possible. On Sunday against the Packers, there was only one time in which Fields got the ball out quickly to a wide receiver for a completion, while his six other completions took time before he threw.
Some things to contextualize while watching back Bears-Packers
-Justin Fields has longest average time before pass in the NFL at 3.26 seconds
-His off-target percentage (30%) is the 2nd highest in NFL
-Per Next Gen, avg. separation on Fields’ targets is 3.93 yards (4th highest)
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) September 19, 2022
Getsy Isn’t Scheming Plays To Highlight His Players Strength
One of the more concerning moments of the Bears’ loss to the Packers was the failed fourth and short play-call in which Fields failed to score a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Needing less than a yard to score a touchdown, Chicago’s offense chose to call a quarterback dive from the shotgun formation. The play-call was highly controversial as a quarterback sneak from under center, roll out to the edge, or even a handoff to running back David Montgomery, who was over 100 yards rushing at that point in the game, could have had more success in potentially working.
#Bears have ball inside 1. On fourth-and-goal, Justin Fields takes shotgun snap, runs up the middle and is stopped inches short. Could have cut lead to 24-17, but Bears are turned away with 8:07 remaining. Bears challenge call.
— Larry Mayer (@LarryMayer) September 19, 2022
Although Montgomery and fellow running back Khalil Herbert were productive against the Packers, as both had rushing attempts for 27 yards or more, no other Bears players on offense provided consistent production. The only wide receiver Getsy has been able to get open consistently on passing plays has been Equanimeous St. Brown, who has caught a pass in each of Chicago’s games. Kmet and Mooney haven’t just failed to be productive on offense but have yet to have a target downfield in which they were wide open.
Last season, Both Kmet and Mooney combined for over 140 receptions and 1,650 receiving yards in a Bears’ offense that was designed by former head coach Matt Nagy. Despite the lack of creative passing plays, both Bears’ players still managed to find spaces in opposing defenses to make receptions. Through the first two games of the 2022 season, there has only been one pass attempt where either Mooney or Kmet was targeted by Fields, which was an incompletion on a deep pass.
Matt Eberflus on opening the Bears' passing game and getting Darnell Mooney more involved: "We need to highlight our skill. We know that. … Let’s feed the guys that have skill."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) September 19, 2022
The Bears’ next game will be against the Houston Texans, as all eyes will be on Fields and Getsy with the hopes that Chicago’s offense can finally be productive when passing the ball. It will start by getting the Bears’ quarterback easy passing targets while getting Kmet and Mooney schemed open and targeted. Getsy and Fields need to go back and see what was working for Chicago’s offense during the preseason and incorporate it into the passing offense starting against the Texans.