CHICAGO — The final seconds of Sunday’s first half at Soldier Field tell you exactly how the Bears’ coaches feel about Justin Fields.
After converting on a third-and-1 from Chicago’s own 19-yard line, the Bears had over 40 seconds to potentially get one more score before halftime. The Bears were down 14-13 and still had all three timeouts. The Texans were also slated to get the ball to start the third quarter.
Instead of showing urgency and the desire to move the ball downfield, the clock ticked as valuable seconds soon vanished. Finally, the Bears called a pass play with just 19 seconds remaining in the half and Fields was sacked.
The Bears went into halftime seconds after and the boos started to flood Soldier Field.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus tried to explain his reasoning on the end-of-the-half decision making.
“Here is where we got to be better because we were in 13 personnel going in third-and-1 then we subbed,” Eberflus said. “Once I saw them sub there, I should’ve called timeout then at 35 seconds and we would’ve been fine. I got to be better there on that situation, going from 13 personnel back to 11 once we got the first.”
Maybe the first-year head coach just forgot how to coach, but it didn’t feel like that was the reasoning as everything was unfolding. Earlier in the game, the offense faced several obvious passing situations on third down.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy decided his unit’s best chance of converting was with the run game.
And, honestly, I can’t blame them for that. The offense ended with 281 rushing yards in the 23-20 win over the Texans. Khalil Herbert had a career game, carrying the ball 20 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Fields, however, struggled. He finished the game 8 of 17 for 108 yards and two interceptions and was sacked five times.
“I played straight up I just played like I want to say the A word, but I’m not going to do that,” Fields said. “But I just played like trash.”
Davis Mills didn’t have his best game, finishing with 245 yards on 20 of 32 passing attempts and one touchdown and two interceptions. But if you only watched this game and asked someone which quarterback was the No. 11 overall pick and which was the 67th overall pick in the 2021 Draft, the answer would be difficult.
Fields held the ball too long, missed open receivers and made bad decisions. The trifecta of bad quarterback play.
On his first interception late in the first quarter, Fields attempted to hit Cole Kmet over the middle of the field. The ball wasn’t close and safety Jalen Pitre capitalized on the mistake.
The second pick was just a bad decision by Fields and he acknowledged he just needs to take the check down next time, which is something he said he will work on this week in practice.
“One of our keys on offense is 100 percent ball security,” Fields said.
Right now, through three games, Fields hasn’t been meeting that key, having already thrown four interceptions. But Field isn’t making any excuses for his play.
“Of course it’s early right now, but I can guarantee all the guys in the locker room on the offense they’re not going to make that excuse,” Fields said. “It’s early, we don’t want to be as productive, this and that, so you can really just throw that out the window for me, because I want to be as productive as I can be.”
The Bears may have improved to 2-1, but this doesn’t feel like a victory. The second-year quarterback has struggled this season and Fields’ poor play is beginning to show in the faith the coaching isn’t putting in him.