Yikes. Just, yikes. That is not how the Bears drew up Justin Fields’ first start. It’s not unfair to call the offensive performance pathetic. The defense played well early, but clearly ran out of gas. This is one they’ll want to throw away, and throw away fast.
OFFENSE OVERMATCHED, UNDERPREPARED
We don’t know many details about Matt Nagy’s plan to develop Justin Fields, but it feels safe to say that nothing that happened on Sunday went according to that plan. The offensive line had no answers for Myles Garrett or Jadeveon Clowney. The duo combined for 6.5 sacks and 11 QB hits. The Browns defense as a whole, got 9 sacks. Part of the ineptitude falls on the offensive line’s shoulders for failing to execute, but Nagy and his offensive staff share much of the blame too. Nagy didn’t dial up a rollout for fields to beat the pass rush until there were only four minutes left in the second quarter, and that drew (fair) criticism from practically every fan and expert who was watching the game. Nothing changed after halftime either. They gained a paltry 47 yards, on 44 plays. They had 1 passing yard. 1. Passing. Yard. They never found the endzone. Bears will be busy trying to find the “why’s” for the embarrassing showing.
FRONT SEVEN PLAYS HERO BALL
The main reason that the Bears kept this game close for as long as they did is that they were able to generate a great pass rush themselves. Robert Quinn had his best game in a Bears uniform. Khalil Mack left his mark too, with 2 sacks. Up until Kareem Hunt’s 29-yard touchdown, they had done a decent job limiting the Brown’s mighty run game too. But with Cleveland winning the time of possession battle 39:34 to 20:26, they were simply on the field too long to keep it up for four quarters.
WHERE ARE THE TIGHT ENDS?
In Week 2, Cole Kmet was limited to one catch for zero yards. Jimmy Graham only had one catch for two yards in the Bears' first two games, combined. For years we’ve heard how important the tight end position is in Nagy’s offense, yet they’ve been invisible for large chunks in the early stages of the season. “They need to be more involved,” Nagy said heading into Week 3. “I'm well aware of that. That's my fault for that. I don't want to say never gonna happen again, but that's not enough.”
But against the Browns nothing changed. Kmet was once again limited, this time to one catch for 11 yards. Graham only had one target, which went for an incompletion. Tight ends were thought to be a strength for the team in training camp, but they’ve produced next to nothing on the field.