Make no mistake about it. The Chicago Bears offense has been hitting on all cylinders the past 4 weeks. Luke Getsy has seemingly unlocked Justin Fields and has made him an elite dual-threat quarterback with an emphasis on designed runs. However, the Bears recently became the first team in NFL history to score 29 or more points in three consecutive losses. Two of those three losses, not counting the Cowboys game in Week 8, the Bears offense have had a chance in the fourth quarter to go on game winning drives. As comforting it has been to see the offense thrive, it is a little concerning to see the offense unable to close out games and finish during the fourth quarter.
With 7:50 left in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins in a Week 9 matchup, the Bears defense was able to force a Dolphins turnover on downs. Down 35-32, this was a prime opportunity to march down the field and at the very least tie the game with a Santos field goal. On the ensuing drive, the Bears only passed the ball twice and were forced to punt after only gaining 24 yards on 9 plays. Miraculously, the Bears defense was able to hold again and gave the ball back to the offense on the CHI 28 with 2:38 left on the clock. Again, ample amount of time to get down the field and at the very least tie the ball game with a field goal. That wouldn’t be the case though as again Fields struggled to pass the ball, a controversial no PI call on Claypool which negated a huge gain, and an untimely drop by ESB on fourth down ended the drive after 6 plays.
Last week against the Lions, the Bears offense delivered yet again another brilliant offensive display with plenty of explosive plays. Fields was running all over the Lions and hit a nice play action pass to Kmet for a long touchdown. But, as was the case in Week 9, the Bears offense wasn’t able to deliver in the fourth. After building a comfortable 24-10 lead, the offense got the ball back after a Lions touchdown cut the lead to only 24-17. Backed up deep in our own territory, Aidan Hutchinson sniffed out a TE screen and forced Fields into a overthrown throwaway pass. Inexplicably, Fields threw the ball right to fellow Buckeye Jeff Okudah who returned the gimme interception for a touchdown and suddenly the game was tied at 24. Fast forwarding to late in the fourth quarter after a Fields TD run and a Lions answer, the Bears found themselves with the ball and a chance to take the lead down 30-31. With 2:21 left, the Bears again only needed a field goal to win the game (even though Santos had been shaky that game and ultimately may have cost them). But just like Week 9, the Bears weren’t able to pass the ball down the field and let up two horrible sacks on the final drive which ended in a turnover on downs.
It’s obvious the Bears will need to be able to pass the ball in late game situations. But so far, there has to be some concern in our ability to do this evidenced by our last two games. It’s a combo of poor o-line play, no receiver play, and poor decision making at the QB position. Hopefully the Bears can cure their late game offensive woes and pick up a couple game winning games down the stretch. With the way the defense is playing, there will be plenty of opportunities for our offense to step up again. And maybe Justin gets his first game-winning drive before season’s end.