The Bears’ starters scored three touchdowns in five drives Saturday.
It won’t be that easy — or that basic — when they start the season Sept. 11.
“It gets a little bit deeper now,” offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said Monday. “And then how much you’re willing to do against, and show, now.
“The gloves are off now.”
Getsy needs to throw enough right hooks to give a Bears offense, which profiles as one of the worst in the NFL, a puncher’s chance. Saturday’s performance reflected as well on the Bears’ first-time play-caller as anyone on the field. Whether Getsy can do it in the opener against a championship-contending 49ers team is another question altogether.
The Bears’ preseason scheme, like everyone else’s, was intentionally vanilla.
“I know our playbook, so I know what we have in there – a lot of nice and crazy plays,” receiver Darnell Mooney said. “But during the [preseason] game, I’m like, ‘Yeah, we’re not even running anything really. Really. just rolling.’
“But, yeah, it’s gonna get dangerous for sure.”
The Bears need to be competent first. Saturday, for the first time, Getsy’s offense looked to be one coherent piece.
Take Cole Kmet’s 24-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
“We ran that play earlier,” Kmet said.
On the second play of the Bears’ first scoring drive, quarterback Justin Fields was under center with running back David Montgomery behind him. Kmet went in motion and settled in as a wingback to the right — offset a step back of the line of scrimmage. Fullback Khari Blasingame was in that position on the left side of the line.
The Bears ran play-action left, with Blasingame sprinting across parallel to the line and into the right flat. Sione Takitaki plastered himself onto Kmet as he ran a wheel route up the right sideline. Fellow Browns linebacker Jacob Phillips turned his back to Fields to chase after tight end Ryan Griffin on an over route. Blasingame, open in the right flat, caught a pass for six yards and was tackled by cornerback Martin Emerson.
With three-and-a-half minutes left in the first half, the Bears ran the play again. Takitaki, recognizing it, peeled off Kmet to focus on Blasingame. Fields looked at Kmet, then moved his eyes toward Blasingame, setting the trap.
Takitaki was so convinced the ball was going to Blasingame that he tackled the fullback before Fields even lofted the 24-yard pass to Kmet, who was wide open in the end zone.
“We knew this time that maybe he might bite with Khari, knowing he got the ball last time,” said Kmet, who didn’t have a touchdown catch all last season. “The safety and the corner doubled our post and it came wide open.”
It wasn’t magic — just execution.
On the first play, Mooney, split right, ran a post route that Getsy said wasn’t angled enough vertically to draw a double team. On the second play, receiver Isaiah Coulter ran a post route that sucked both the safety and the cornerback into coverage.
“The safety felt the post going over top, so he panicked and ran with it as well,” Getsy said.
The resulting score looked as easy as anything Matt Nagy drew up in four years. Not that it counted for much.
Preseason play-calling is unique in that coaches try to simplify the approach for their players while doing limited scouting work. Time will tell whether that approach has prepared Getsy enough for his regular-season debut.
“Everything we do is pretty process-driven,” he said. “I just kinda use my feel and flow of the game, and then … I just lean on the process that we put together all week. I feel good with all that.”
So do his players.
“We’ve got a lot of things cooking,” Mooney said.”