On the first play of the Bears’ 23-20 win over the Texans on Sunday, Justin Fields and Sam Mustipher botched the quarterback-center exchange.
Six plays later, after a play fake to David Montgomery, Fields tripped over the running back, ruining the timing of a play, and his pass fell incomplete.
The stats speak for themselves about an inept pass offense, but the operation also wasn’t clean. There were two false starts. Fields was sacked after he tripped over left tackle Braxton Jones as he tried to make his way outside the pocket. Wide receiver Darnell Mooney had two drops. One miscommunication in the backfield led to a stop behind the line. Fields missed several open receivers and threw two picks.
“You’re always searching for consistent, sustained execution. It’s a fancy way of saying execute one play at a time,” coach Matt Eberflus said Monday. “That’s what we’re searching for. When you get those plays, what it does is it puts you behind. Certainly when you have first down. First-down efficiency is always big on both sides of the ball for us, so we’ve got to make sure we’re clean in that regard so we’re ahead of the sticks.”
For the most part, the Bears were ineffective on first down. Fields was 3-for-9 passing. The two false starts came on first-and-10. Eight run plays went for 2 yards or fewer.
But the two longest plays of the game — Khalil Herbert’s 52-yard run and Equanimeous St. Brown’s 41-yard run — both came on first down, skewing the overall stats.
Rewatching the Bears’ offense using the All-22 camera angle, the mistakes are littered throughout, from Fields’ reticence to throw to a couple of losses in pass protection that led to quick sacks. But there were also a few positives that the Bears hope they can build on.
Let’s take a closer look.