A lot went wrong in the Bears’ 19-13 loss to the Vikings on Sunday, big and small. Justin Fields’ hand injury easily ranks tops among all the unfortunate developments, but there were plenty of other factors in the loss, like failing to capitalize on takeaway opportunities.
On Monday, former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt joined NBC Chicago’s morning news to go over the loss and shared one thing in particular that bothered him more than anything else: the lack of explosive plays.
“It’s so tough to score points in this league just going three yards and a cloud of dust,” Wannstedt said, alluding to the plodding running-style of offense that dominated the league for years before big-play quarterbacks took over. “You’ve got to come up with the big pass play. That’s what gives you the quick score, and yesterday, run and pass combined, we were like three yards per play. It should be five, six yards a play.”
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The Bears managed to run the ball effectively on Sunday, despite missing their top two backs, Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson. Led by D’Onta Foreman and Darrynton Evans, with some QB scrambles and a couple of Velus Jones carries mixed in, the Bears carried the ball 36 times for 162 yards. That 4.5 YPC average is great, and good enough to keep an offense balanced and ahead of the sticks. But the Bears only managed two plays that gained 20 or more yards. Those two plays both came in the middle of scoring drives and led to 10 of the team’s 13 points. Over the Bears’ 10 remaining drives that did not have a 20-yard play, the Bears only made it to the red zone once. That led to the team’s other three points.
“We did all the foundational things,” Wannstedt said. “You start to sound like a broken record when you start to say we can’t have the penalties and we can’t have the turnovers. If you don’t do those two things, you don’t have a chance, but the one thing that’s been lacking for the last couple of years is the big plays.”