On the first play of the game Sunday, the Bears called a deep shot.
The No. 1 running team in the league had fullback Khari Blasingame on the field. A deep ball would be unexpected.
“The first play was something we thought we could take advantage of,” coach Matt Eberflus said Monday.
Quarterback Justin Fields’ pass to wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, however, was underthrown and fell incomplete.
“We got to let that air,” Eberflus said. “(Fields) knows that and just a little underthrown on that one.”
That’s not the play Eberflus wanted to talk about, though. He wanted to point out two other shot plays that didn’t connect, ones that fell on the wide receiver. Fields is making big-time throws, and his pass catchers aren’t reciprocating with big-time plays.
Enter Chase Claypool, the 6-foot-4, 238-pound receiver who ran a 4.42 40 at the 2020 combine and caught nine touchdown passes as a rookie. Enter Claypool, who averaged more than 14 yards per catch in his first two seasons. Enter Claypool, who has 31 receptions of 20 yards or more in his 2 1/2 NFL seasons, five more than the Bears’ Darnell Mooney.
“I’m a playmaker and I’m excited to make plays,” Claypool said Wednesday, his first day at Halas Hall. “I feel like I didn’t have the full opportunity to show what I can do this year, but I think I’ve been able to show that in the past. I’m excited to be able to gain that trust with Justin, too, where he knows if he needs a play he can come to me and, frankly, any receiver out there. So … a dynamic, playmaker is the guy that the Bears are getting.”
Claypool hadn’t been as effective this season. He mentioned his move to the slot being part of it. He didn’t mention a change from catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger to the duo of Mitch Trubisky and rookie Kenny Pickett.