The Bears are going to be doing a lot of searching this week. Searching for healthy players in the secondary after Jaylon Johnson, Tyrique Stevenson and Josh Blackwell left the Chiefs game early and joined Eddie Jackson and Kyler Gordon as the walking wounded. Searching for continuity on the offensive line as Braxton Jones’ neck injury forced the team to trot out yet another different OL unit in the never-ending carousel of OL combos. And simply searching for answers on how to get their offense going.
For the third week in a row the offense was anemic. They only managed 10 points on Sunday, and their lone field goal and touchdown each came in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of hand, and many Chiefs starters were already on the sideline in baseball caps. The Bears have scored 47 points in three games, giving them a pitiful 15.7 points/game average. That’s worse than their 19.2 ppg average last season, and they’re supposed to be more talented with additions like DJ Moore, and more comfortable in year two of Luke Getsy’s system.
So what the heck is going on?
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“I don’t know,” said Justin Fields. “I’m not about to answer that question to be honest with you, but, yeah.”
After last week’s media mayhem based on his comments, can’t blame him for opting out of the question.
This was the week Fields vowed to play less robotic, say “eff it” and let it rip. To a degree, he did. Fields hesitated less and took off more, but it didn’t matter. He struggled to a 11-22 line for 99 yards, one interception and the aforementioned garbage-time TD pass. He rushed 11 times for 47 yards.
“We’re finding the flow for him,” said head coach Matt Eberflus. “We’ve just gotta keep doing it. Keep doing it and we’ve gotta find how to let him do his thing and explode. And it’s not just about Justin, it’s about everybody on the offense.”
Eberflus pointed to the defense he’s now leading as part of the problem too.
“If we stop ‘em and give (the offense) short fields and take the ball away, that’s the job of the defense, to make it easier on the offense,” Eberflus said.
Things look bad on both sides of the ball from a health, game plan and execution standpoint. There’s not much the team can hang their hat on as they go back to the drawing board. Yet they’re staying confident and will trust the work they put in at Halas Hall.
“It’s certainly not where we want it to be,” Eberflus said. “To get there we’re going to have to have focus. We’re going to have to have fight. We’re going to need to be resilient. We’re going to need to block outside noise. We’re going to need to do all of those things and have an optimistic attitude about it as a group. If we do that, guess what, it will crack. It will crack.”
“All we need is one win to get this thing going,” said Fields. “The Lions went 1-6 to start the season last year and they almost made the playoffs. Just keep that faith, keep going and big picture, it’s just the third game of the season. We’ve got 14 left. At least.”
Problem is the 2023 Bears aren’t the 2022 Lions. The Lions had one of the best offensive lines in the game. The Lions had things that were working, like their dominant run game. Most importantly, the Lions weren’t getting blown out regularly. Among their six losses to start the 2022 season, only two were multiple-score losses. They were in games for the most part. On the other hand, all three Bears losses have been by 10 or more points. In fact their average margin of loss after their drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs is now 19.6 points. The Lions were competing. The Bears aren’t.
Fields says the Bears have 14 games left– at least– and he’s right. In a vacuum that’s plenty of time for the team to turn things around. But we're not in a vacuum. It looks like the Bears have a lot to improve before they win another game. And if things keep going the way they are, their record might be the least of their worries.