Bears Insider

Schrock's Bears Report Card: Grading Justin Fields, offense, defense in loss vs. Bucs

The Bears fixed none of their issues after their season-opening loss, and you could argue things got worse in Sunday's 27-17 loss to the Bucs, with quarterback Justin Fields failing the day's test

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TAMPA, Fla. -- It was clear after their season-opening loss to the Packers that there would be no quick fixes to any of the Bears' issues. Better execution and attention to detail are a must, yes. But that won't cure what ails the 2023 Bears.

Their problems go much deeper than that, and the depth of their issues were laid bare during Sunday's 27-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.

The Bears' offense came out hot, marching 75 yards on six plays to take an early 7-3 lead.

But the offense stalled for much of the day after that opening drive, and the Bears' defense made Baker Mayfield look like Dan Marino, giving 317 yards through the air and another 120 on the ground.

The Bears needed a bounce-back win Sunday, especially with the Kansas City Chiefs on deck in Week 3. But they couldn't get off the field on third down, had too many mental lapses, and Fields was part of the problem, not the solution, in Florida.

Here's a report card fit for a trash can from the Bears' loss in Tampa:

Passing Offense

The Bears' opening script was a beauty. Fields hit DJ Moore for gains of 33 and 31 before capping the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.

But the Bears gained just 76 yards on their next six drives, and Fields' problems top the list of reasons why the passing game couldn't get going Sunday.

He held the ball too long, either didn't see open receivers or chose not to cut it loose, didn't throw with anticipation, and turned the ball over in the fourth quarter when the Bears had a chance to win.

It was an awful day for Fields.

If the blame pie for the Packers loss was tilted heavily toward offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and the Bears' offensive line, the one for Sunday tilts toward Fields.

The Bears did a better job of getting the ball to Moore on Sunday. Chase Claypool caught three passes, including his first touchdown as a Bear.

But Fields' issues were glaring Sunday. The Bears entered the season needing to see his arrow trend up as a passer.

That's not happening at the moment, and the Bears' passing game needs to go back to the drawing board.


Rushing Offense

We can keep this section short.

The only thing the 2022 Bears did well was run the football. They led the league in rushing by a wide margin.

They can't get anything going on the ground in 2023.

A week after non-Fields rushers gained just 63 yards on 20 carries, the Bears ran for 67 yards on 11 carries, with 29 coming on one run by Roschon Johnson.

The Bears don't trust their offensive line to pass protect but can't lean on the run game. That's a bad combination.

Khalil Herbert rushed for 35 yards on seven carries but remains a liability in pass protection. Johnson rushed for 32 yards on four carries but was ineffective outside of the one big run. Meanwhile, D'Onta Foreman was a healthy scratch.

It's all bad.


Pass Defense

In two games against Jordan Love and Baker Mayfield, the Bears have given up 562 total passing yards (281 per), four touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

On Sunday, Mayfield went 26-for-34 for 317 yards and one touchdown.

The Bears got some pressure on Mayfield but never sacked him. They also did not force a turnover.

In two games, the Bears are allowing teams to convert on 55 percent of third downs.

Rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson had a rough day against Mike Evans. The veteran receiver caught six passes for 171 yards and one touchdown.

No pass rush, no turnovers, no chance.


Run Defense

The Bears were happy with their run defense against the Packers. Green Bay's low total in Week 1 had a lot to do with Aaron Jones exiting midway through the third quarter, but the Bears did an excellent job of stopping A.J. Dillon.

The Bucs struggled to run the ball in Week 1 against the Vikings, so this should have been a good opportunity for the Bears' defense to prove that it really had improved against the run.

They didn't do that.

The Bucs ran for 120 yards on Sunday, with Rachaad White leading the way with 73 yards on 17 carries.

While the Bears held the Bucs to 3.5 yards per carry, they struggled to penetrate the backfield and were pushed around on third-and-goal from the 4 when White got a hole and barreled into the end zone.

If we're looking for a positive, the run defense wasn't the Bears' biggest issue Sunday. That's a change of pace from last season.


Special Teams

Cairo Santos remains automatic, and the Bears didn't commit any horrific errors on teams.


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