By Carmen Vitali
FOX Sports activities NFC North Author
The Chicago Bears might not have a bye week till Week 14, however they took benefit of an 11-day break between Thursday evening, Oct. 13 in opposition to the Washington Commanders and this Monday evening in opposition to the New England Patriots, popping out victorious over the latter behind a slew of changes.
Just about nobody had the Bears successful their first recreation in Foxborough through blowout on their Week 7 bingo card, however Chicago got here out swinging and by no means let up. They bought a whole effort from all three phases, with the protection recording 4 takeaways and kicker Cairo Santos connecting on 4 subject objectives, together with one from 50 yards.
However the true story of the evening was quarterback Justin Fields, who performed his finest recreation as a Chicago Bear because of some essential adjustments made by the Bears teaching workers. As an alternative of preventing in opposition to Fields’ skillsets, attempting to suit a sq. Fields right into a spherical Aaron Rodgers-sized gap, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy as a substitute emphasizes the younger QB’s strengths.
There have been extra designed runs on which Fields might use his legs. There have been extra alternatives to go off-script and make performs off scramble drills. The run recreation additionally stepped up in a giant approach, giving Fields one thing to lean on. The Bears ran 45 occasions for 243 yards (Fields accounted for 82 of these yards because the staff’s main rusher). It allowed the offense to get into fairly a rhythm as they cruised to 390 whole yards and 33 factors.
The Bears transformed 11 third downs on the evening, which is tied for the second-most by a staff in a win over the Patriots within the Belichick period. A variety of them got here as a direct results of Fields himself.
The final drive of the second quarter was an ideal instance of Fields preserving drives alive. He transformed a vital third down together with his legs to get the Bears contained in the New England 10-yard line. Fields was sacked on second-and-6, dropping eight yards within the course of. However on third-and-14, Fields pulled the ball and ran up the center for 20 yards, getting the Bears to the New England 21.
“I thought they were good,” Fields stated of his designed runs. “I thought it brought a whole different element to our offense. I think we executed that well and there were definitely some explosives in those designed runs for sure.”
As a bonus, two performs later, Chicago once more discovered itself with a protracted approach to go thanks to a different sack on first down that arrange second-and-25. Fields bought 9 yards on second down after which on third-and-16, he launched the ball to broad receiver Darnell Mooney, who picked up 17 yards and the primary down on the New England 10.
“It makes our offense more complex, just getting us out the pocket and more designed quarterback runs,” Fields continued. “It opens it up a little bit more. Just doing a lot of different things on offense.”
It was a part of a extra full offensive plan that noticed a forty five/32 cut up between runs and passes, respectively, preserving a strong New England protection on its heels. Matthew Judon was nonetheless Matthew Judon, in fact, however the Bears gained the turnover margin by three. The New England protection was additionally on the sector disproportionately, dropping the time-of-possession battle by practically quarter-hour.
Couple that with what number of various things the Bears have been throwing at them, contemporary off 11 days’ relaxation, and Chicago’s second-year quarterbkac, in case you’ll excuse the wordplay, had a Fields Day.
“I think that creates an issue sometimes for the defense, depending on what defense they’re in,” head coach Matt Eberflus stated of Fields’ variable skillset. “Certainly, when you have a quarterback that has the designed runs with the run pass off of it and then also having the ability to scramble and make first downs, I think that’s hard to defend. I think Justin did a good job of that today.”
It is astonishing that the Bears have been capable of seemingly remodel their offense in such just a little period of time. Main as much as Monday evening’s recreation, the Bears have been averaging simply 15.5 factors per recreation, 144.8 passing yards per recreation and have been changing simply 35.6% of third downs. It’s value noting they have been averaging over 170 dashing yards per recreation.
Towards the Patriots, their third-down success fee was 61.1%. They’d a season-high 24 first downs and Fields threw for 147 yards on 32 makes an attempt. Their dashing yardage skyrocketed to the aforementioned 243 yards and most significantly, they seemingly turned a nook. There may be gentle on the finish of the tunnel.
“It is important,” Eberflus stated of the win after the sport. “The whole country was watching us and I think that’s important for confidence for the guys.”
Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports activities. Carmen had earlier stops with The Draft Community and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, together with 2020, which added the title of Tremendous Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You possibly can comply with Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.
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