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For Bears, ‘Offense’ Continues To Be A Four-Letter Word

With a 20-12 loss to the Giants, the Bears showed their offense still has a long way to go.

Much has been made about the Bears’ offensive woes to start the season. Coming into Week Four, Chicago ranked dead last in the NFL in total yards, passing yards, passing attempts, and completions, just to name a few categories.

Sunday’s game against the Giants was a chance to reset the narrative, as New York was coming off of a 23-16 Monday Night loss to Dallas. Instead, the Bears failed to score a touchdown in the Meadowlands and lost 20-12.

Field Goals Instead Of Touchdowns

The biggest disappointment on Sunday was the lack of success in the red zone. Chicago had three trips inside the New York 20-yard line but finished with no touchdowns. Instead, newly acquired place kicker Mike Badgley got to score all of the Bears points, going four-for-four on field goals.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Bears struggled in these spots. After all, the red zone is where everything tends to speed up as defenses have less space they need to cover and decisions must be made quickly and authoritatively. But it’s still frustrating.

One month into the season and the Bears offense, especially the passing attack, is in need of an identity – either a play or player upon which the offense can hang it’s hat. That staple can help Justin Fields speed up his decision making, which will help to make the entire offense run faster and can turn more of those red zone trips into end zone trips.

Those “hidden” points add up quickly, especially for a team like the Bears, which has little margin for error. Both New York and Chicago scored four different times on Sunday, but because the Giants found the end zone twice while the Bears never did, the Giants were the ones to come away with the victory.


Three Plays And A Punt

Six of Chicago’s 12 drives on Sunday ended as three-and-outs. That includes three straight drives in the second half. With the lead never more than one possession away, the Bears managed just 12 yards on nine plays during the most crucial time of the game.

This is just a further example of the need for an identity. While the running game was missing starting running back David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert was certainly serviceable in Montgomery’s absence, getting 77 yards on the ground and averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Yet the offense as a whole doesn’t seem capable of building off of this.

The Giants were able to fool the Bears defense throughout the first half with play action fakes and bootlegs, taking advantage of Daniel Jones athletic ability. Justin Fields has a similar skill set. It’s up to offensive coordinator Luke Getsy to build something into this offense to take advantage of the running game and Fields athletic prowess to aid the passing attack and the offense as a whole.

Justin Fields Is Beginning To Panic

On the one hand, Justin Fields had one of his better days of the young season. He set season highs with attempts (22), completions (11), and yards (174). He was also able to re-establish a connection with Darnell Mooney, who finished with four catches on five targets for 94 yards, all season highs.

But on the other hand, the amount of pressure Fields has been under when dropping back may be setting in. As the game progressed Sunday, Fields began to abandon the play and try to scramble sooner and sooner with every drop back to the point where it seemed he was no longer reading the field but rather simply expecting to scramble.

On some plays the protection actually held up and the offensive line created a pocket, but Fields would instead keep going wide, stretching the play before ultimately running out of time and space. This is feeling more and more like a regression.

This season is ultimately about discovering if Justin Fields is indeed the quarterback of the future. While it’s still too early to have a definitive answer to that question, this was only Fields’ 14th career start, it’s very difficult to argue that he’s made much progress through the first four games of this season. Without some obvious improvement in the coming weeks, it’s going to feel as if, rather than having an answer at football’s most important position, new General Manager Ryan Poles will simply have one more hole to try and fill next off-season.

Defense Wasn’t Blameless But Was Good Enough

Football is the ultimate team sport, and as such it’s irresponsible to lay the blame for this loss entirely on the offense. The defense yet again got torched for 262 yards on the ground, including 146 yards from Saquon Barkley.

Rookie Kylar Gordan also had a rough game, getting targeted several times in the passing game and he was called for a deep Defensive Pass Interference penalty that kept a New York drive alive.

But, once again, the defense never let the game get out of hand and kept the opponent out of the end zone in the second half. In the modern NFL, keeping your opponent to only 20 points will be good enough to win most days. It’s long past time for the Bears offense to get to the point where 21 points doesn’t feel like a milestone.

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