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Red Zone Report: Abysmal red zone performances lead to Bears' demise in loss to Giants

Will DeWitt Avatar
October 3, 2022

Welcome to my weekly Chicago Bears Redzone Report where I take a deep dive into every red zone possession on both sides of the ball.

A team’s success or failure inside the red zone has a strong correlation to its overall performance. In many ways, it’s do or die inside the 20.

This week is a prime example of that as the Bears were atrocious in the red zone, and that inability to execute in this area of the field is what led to their downfall in New York.

This week, there were five total red zone trips. Three from the Bears’ offense and two on defense.

Let’s see how they fared …

Bears offense

Trip 1 (Score: Tied 0-0)

Quarter: 1 | Time Remaining: 10:00

How They Got There: On the first possession of the game, the Bears’ offense was able to move downfield with a couple of chunk plays, including an 18-yard completion to Darnell Mooney and a 16-yard scramble from Justin Fields. An unnecessary roughness call on the Giants is what put the Bears in the red zone as they set up shop at the 14.

The Result: The Bears failed to pick up a first down, let alone score, and ultimately settled for a field goal.

Analysis: The Bears only gained one yard on a shotgun run from Khalil Herbert to the right. Herbert then picked up two more yards on second down. The Giants defense was able to stuff both attempts with ease.

Facing third-and-7, the Bears allowed Fields to attempt his first red zone pass since his 18-yard touchdown throw to Equanimeous St. Brown in Week 1 against the 49ers. With some pressure, Fields ended up throwing it out of bounds towards Dante Pettis who was in the end zone with two defenders nearby.

Trip 2 (Score: Giants lead 7-3)

Quarter: 1 | Time Remaining: 3:37

How They Got There: After the Giants took the lead, the Bears wasted no time getting back into scoring position as Fields hit Mooney for a 56-yard bomb on the first play of the drive. Two plays later, another Giants penalty (roughing the passer), put the Bears in the red zone for the second time.

The Result: Just like the first trip, the Bears failed to pick up a first down or find pay dirt. They settled for another field goal in hopes they will return to the red zone again.

Analysis: The Bears went backward on their first play as Fields was sacked on the play-action boot that defenses have stopped for weeks now. Herbert gained nine on a shotgun run up the middle in what was the Bears’ best red-zone play of the game. On third-and-3 from the Giants’ five yard line, the Bears kept it on the ground, but Herbert was stopped two yards shy of the line to gain as the Giants stonewalled the attack at the line of scrimmage.

Trip 3 (Score: Giants lead 14-9)

Quarter: 3 | Time Remaining: 12:06

How They Got There: The Bears came out of halftime and found themselves stacking some big plays as they marched 57 yards in five snaps, including completions of 23 yards to Trevon Wesco and 18 yards to Mooney. Herbert’s 15-yard rush is what put the Bears inside the red zone for the final time.

The Result: Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Bears could not move the chains nor score a touchdown on this red zone trip.

Analysis: Herbert gained four yards on a first-down rush out of the gun, Fields’ throw to St. Brown on second down fell incomplete, and on third-and-6, Fields’ completion to Cole Kmet moved the offense backward as it was a three-yard loss.

The Bears weren’t gaining the yards on the ground in the red zone that they did last week against the Texans, and they couldn’t make anything positive happen when they attempted to move the ball through the air. The slip-screen to Kmet was poorly blocked and the incompletion to St. Brown was a low ball that didn’t have much of a chance.

Offensive Summary: 3 Red Zone Trips, 0 Touchdowns (0% conversion)

  • Khalil Herbert: 5 carries, 17 yards
  • Justin Fields: 1-of-3, -3 yards
  • Average yards gained on first down: 1
  • Average yards to go on third down: 5.33
  • Plays that gained two yards or less: 7-of-9 (78%)

Bears Defense

Trip 1 (Score: Giants lead 7-6)

Quarter: 2 | Time Remaining: 5:57

How They Got There: Saquon Barkley started the drive with a 29-yard rush into a huge hole left by the Bears’ defense. A few plays later, Barkley was on the receiving end of a third-and-9 conversion with an impressive 15-yard catch-and-run off a screen to put the Giants inside the red zone for the second time.

The Result: Daniel Jones was able to scamper into the end zone from eight yards out for his second rushing score of the day off a play-action bootleg that the Bears failed to notice until it was too late.

Analysis: It only took two plays inside the 20 for the Giants to extend their lead with another touchdown. The Bears’ defense provided little-to-no resistance as the Giants gained 12 yards on the ground on these two downs. Jones’ touchdown run is baffling as the Bears had no contain whatsoever. Taking into account the 21-yard touchdown run from Jones a couple of drives earlier, it’s easy to get disappointed with the Bears’ efforts to stop the run down in this critical area of the field.

Trip 2 (Score: Giants lead 20-12)

Quarter: 4 | Time Remaining: 1:50

How They Got There: The Bears pinned the Giants deep in their own territory late in the game in hopes of getting one more shot on offense to tie the game. The defense made the stop, and the Giants had to punt from their own end zone.

However, rookie Velus Jones Jr. muffed the punt and gave the Giants the ball in Bears’ territory. After gaining 18 yards on two-straight runs, the Giants were back into the red zone as they were trying to wind down the clock and keep their lead secure.

The Result: The Giants missed a 37-yard field goal attempt after the Bears stopped the Giants on the ground two times in a row.

Analysis: Too bad it took until these obvious rushing downs this late in the game to make stops like these. This forced them to settle for a field goal attempt, which would have made it an 11-point lead with 16 seconds left. Graham Gano missed the kick, kept it a one-score game and gave the Bears a nearly impossible chance to tie, but a chance nevertheless.

Defensive Summary: 2 Red Zone Trips, 1 Touchdown Surrendered (50% conversion)

  • Giants only ran four plays on offense in the red zone (all four were runs)

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