Fresh off scoring just 10 points in a loss to the Packers, Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy defended a game plan that resulted in the least productive passing game of the young NFL season.
Regardless of the opponent, regardless of having a young quarterback in Justin Fields and regardless of Getsy being just two games into his coordinating career, this is a time for adjustments rather than stubbornness.
Fields threw 11 passes against the Packers, including only one on the opening drive of the fourth quarter when the Bears still had a chance, and completed seven for 70 yards. He is the only NFL starter to throw fewer than 20 passes in a game this season and has done so twice.
Fields said he doesn’t care how many passes he throws as long as the Bears win, but there was neither prolific passing nor victory in Green Bay. The Bears ran for 203 yards, but all it gained them was a 24-7 deficit at halftime and a thudding loss to their archrival.
Getsy said he called 19 or 20 pass plays — three were lost to sacks, one was negated when Fields crossed the line of scrimmage before throwing and the rest morphed into scrambles — out of the Bears’ meager 41 snaps on offense.
“I know that it’s the NFL [and] everyone’s throwing it 30 or 40 times a game, but we only had 41 snaps,” Getsy said Thursday. “And when you run the ball the way that we did … That’s part of it.
“What gives us the best chance to succeed? Were our matchups favorable to us? Last week we felt like there were parts of the run game that we felt like we had a pretty good matchup, and we were able to get seven [gains of 10-plus yards]. That’s a lot of explosives in the run game.”
Sure, but again, where did it get the Bears? And where will that type of game plan get them going forward? Playing that way probably won’t beat even the lowly Texans on Sunday.
The reason “everyone’s throwing it 30 or 40 times a game” is because that’s how to win in the modern NFL. Over the past decade, teams that threw for fewer than 100 yards went 41-91-1.
Fields needs a legitimate opportunity to show he can drive the Bears’ offense, as opposed to letting defenses dictate that. The best quarterbacks can overcome any scheme, and the most important thing for the Bears this season is determining whether Fields has that capacity.
And getting only 41 plays isn’t some misfortune that inexplicably befell Getsy and the Bears. It’s directly tied to how bad their offense was. There’s no one else to blame for that.
That was the fewest offensive plays by any team this season and the fifth-fewest over the last five. They went three-and-out on four consecutive possessions beginning in the second quarter.
Despite their many missteps offensively, the Bears opened the fourth quarter with an opportunity to get back in the game, down 24-10. They drove 89 yards, powered mostly by running back David Montgomery, before facing fourth-and-goal from about a foot and a half out.
Getsy calleda run for Fields out of the shotgun, and he was stopped short by no more than a couple inches. He said he’d call it again if given a do-over.
“Yeah, we love that play,” Getsy said.
“That was our plan. We talked about it all week… That was exactly what we wanted; we just didn’t execute it well enough. We’ve got to get them coached up a little bit better so that they don’t make that mistake.”
Ultimately, even a touchdown would’ve left the Bears trailing by seven. After the Packers’ ensuing field-goal drive, they would’ve gotten the ball back down 10 with 2:28 left.
Too much went wrong and the outcome was too dismal to be this certain about that game plan.