In Week Four, the Bears played a disappointing game against the New York Giants. The lone bright spots were Eddie Jackson and Justin Fields. Jackson got a third interception and continues to shine for this defense. Fields looked much better than last week, completing a season-high 11 passes for 174 yards, also a season-high. However, the Bears lost 20-12, with all 12 of their points coming from Michael “The Money Badger” Badgley. Badgley was signed to the practice squad and elevated the day before the game. The defense let up 262 rushing yards, with Saquon Barkley rushing for 146 yards himself. They couldn’t stop Daniel Jones, his bootlegs, or the few passing attempts per drive. However, the most irritating part of the game for me was how the Bears coaching staff called the game. They were quiet and very conservative, punting the ball away on fourth and shorts near midfield. Instead of playing to win, they played to avoid turnovers and to avoid losing.
On offense, Luke Getsy seemed to think he was up 10 points with a few minutes left in the fourth quarter. In reality, it’s the first half, and the Bears are down. There are countless runs up the middle on second and third and long, predictable passing plays and a lack of movement for QB Justin Fields. It seems that the Bear’s offense is trying to lose, or at least not trying to lose. They have been far too conservative. The biggest play of the day was a 52-yard pass to Darnell Mooney. It was a beautiful throw and flipped the field position. However, there were almost no other plays like it for the rest of the game. There was less play-action and no more deep shots. And if there were, the pass protection couldn’t hold up, so Fields would end up scrambling or sacked. If the Bears want to see improvement in the team and Justin, they need to show some confidence in their young quarterback and let him throw the ball. If he turns it over, that’s fine. It’s a rebuilding year, and there is no way this team will be competing. If losing games is the price to pay for Fields development, count me in. However, that doesn’t happen if Luke Getsy can’t start giving him the time and plays to show off his arm strength.
Another improvement that should be made is the run game. While it has been the bright spot of an otherwise horrible offense, it hasn’t been perfect. Too often, there have been run plays up the middle or into traffic on first, second, or third and long. There has also been a lack of creativity in the run game. There have been only two rushes by a non-QB or RB. Both were by Equanimeous St. Brown; one worked well, going for over 40 yards. If the Bears want to win and develop their offense, they need more creativity in the run game. Using guys like Mooney, Jones Jr., and Pettis in the run game would be a considerable upgrade for the offense. Similarly, having those three in more screen plays would be beneficial. They are the fastest receivers we have and are outstanding in space. However, they haven’t been given the opportunity to prove themselves as much as they should have, which brings me to my next point.
The Bears need to stick with and use their best players. In every game so far, Coach Eberflus has decided to switch between Teven Jenkins and Lucas Patrick at right guard while Patrick heals his hand. Jenkins has been the best offensive lineman on the Bears and arguably a top 10-15 guard in the league so far. He plays hard and physically and finishes every play. However, Eberflus has been substituting him for Patrick and even started Patrick over him in a game. Hopefully, Patrick’s hand is healed because Jenkins needs to be in on 100 percent of plays. Another player the Bears haven’t used is rookie Velus Jones Jr. He played most of the special team’s plays against the Giants but wasn’t on the field for a single offensive play. He is a playmaker and can help the run game and pass game. He is very dangerous with the ball in his hands and can get open. However, he hasn’t been put on the field, despite the lack of depth in the receiver room. The Bears need all their playmakers, so not playing Jones Jr. is a significant mistake. If they want to continue to win, he needs to be a part of the offense going forward.
Obviously, a brand new coaching staff four games into the season isn’t going to be perfect, but they need to shore up their game plan. The Bears have looked passive, and their two wins were considerably lucky. If nothing else, I need to see more aggression on both sides of the ball. Punting the ball away inside enemy territory on fourth and short while down is inexcusable. Eberflus needs to give the team a chance and let them play the game.