Chicago Bears 2021 leading receiver has 4 yards in two games

Darnell Mooney hasn’t done much for the Chicago Bears this season

Darnell Mooney’s name hasn’t been said much on Chicago Bears broadcasts this season. The third-year wide receiver wanted to get his respect as the Bears’ number one receiver this season. The problem for Mooney, he has four total receiving yards this season.

Mooney had -4 yards receiving in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers. That’s an abysmal night for an NFL’s number one wide receiver in 2022. A casual fan might think Mooney had an off night against the Packers. Maybe, but Mooney caught one pass in Week 1 for eight yards. Mooney has two catches for four yards through two games this season.

Mooney’s numbers are indicative of the Chicago Bears’ design on offense

Mooney’s numbers were low, but it wasn’t like the Bears had many attempts passing in Week 2. Quarterback Justin Fields threw the ball 11 times against the Packers. Mooney was only targeted twice. He was targeted three times against the San Francisco 49ers.

Mooney’s numbers stand in contrast to the 2021 season. Mooney led the Bears in receiving with 1,055 yards. He was targeted 140 times last season. Mooney is currently on pace to have 43 targets this season. That largely seems like that’s the design on the offense.

Some of Mooney’s routes are odd if you watch the tape. The Bears’ opening drive of the third quarter had Mooney cross inside before reverse. The action was slow, and Mooney, who ran a route shallow of the first down, didn’t create enough separation to get open before Fields was pressured.

On the next play, a third down, we see Mooney help left tackle Braxton Jones block before he takes off to the left on another route shallow of the first down. Notice how many skilled players protect the pass on this play against a four-man pass rush.

Week 1 might not be an anomaly for the Chicago Bears

Week 1’s numbers appeared to be a little skewed because people thought they watched a modern NFL offense needing to overcome a heavy rainstorm. Nope. The offense is designed to run the ball and not to put the ball into the hands of their wide receivers. The running game was the only positive offense the Bears had against the Packers.

The Bears need to find a way to scheme a passing offense this year. While the Bears attempted to come back on the heels of running back David Montgomery, the run game chewed up the clock and gave the Bears fewer chances to come back from being down 17 points.

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