TAMPA, Fla. — After the Bears were forced to punt on their first possession in the second half, the entire offense gathered for a huddle. Veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis could be seen in the middle talking to the entire offense.
The unit started the game with an opening drive touchdown, but after Justin Fields scored on the 1-yard touchdown run, the offense only scored a field goal on their next four drives. Then the offense huddled.
The outcome on the next drive following what was likely and supposed to be a motivating pep talk?
The Bears failed to find their rhythm and timing consistently in Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the Buccaneers, dropping Chicago to 0-2 to start the season.
Fields did find Chase Claypool for a touchdown on a post route to make it a 20-17 game, but one Bears offensive possession later and Fields was picked off. Shaq Barrett scored on the pick-six. Then Fields was intercepted again three plays later on the next possession.
The Bears opened the game with a 6-play, 75-yard touchdown drive and later marched down the field on an 8-play, 90-yard touchdown drive, but everything else was more or less a disaster. Bears coach Matt Eberflus identified a reason for the inconsistency.
“It’s all about execution,” Eberflus said. “It’s about how we execute and to me, when you go back and watch the tape, it’s about that. It’s about guys executing the scheme and making plays inside the scheme. That’s when good things happen, that’s when you move the ball. When you get the ball to special players, sometimes they make guys miss. We should have scored on the one that was thrown over to DJ. He barely stepped out on the one, but man, he was trying to score. That’s just an example.”
Ironically, despite the lack of execution, Eberflus did see the team “executing at a better clip” in the loss to the Buccaneers. For a team that ended with 236 total yards — which was 201 yards less than Tampa Bay, it appears the bar has been set low for how overall execution should look.
Fields finished the game 16 of 29 for 211 yards, a pair of touchdowns (one running and one passing and two interceptions. He still held the ball too long at times and missed open receivers. But after feeling conservative against the Packers a week ago, he felt like he made some progress against the Buccaneers.
“I felt a little better,” Fields said. “Threw the ball down the field more. DJ had a nice few catches down there. Chase had a nice touchdown. Definitely felt better this week. For sure.”
Still, it wasn’t good enough from Fields and the offense. The running game was nonexistent. The team finished with 67 rushing yards, and Khalil Herbert led with 35.
And the playcalling that was a major issue against Green Bay, appeared again in the closing minutes of the game.
Prior to the pick-six on a Herbert screen play, the Bears called a screen for Herbert. The play gained nine yards but was called back for a Claypool offensive pass interference.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy ran it back and his team paid the price with a one-handed interception.
“It’s great when it works,” Eberflus said. “It’s great when it works and when it doesn’t everybody’s gonna criticize. So it is what it is. We’re gonna look at it. We’ll look at it back there in that part of the field, and we’ll see where it is.”
The Bears will have a lot to look at after another disappointing loss, and the team will have to try to find answers before going to Arrowhead to face Patrick Mahomes.
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