CHICAGO — The Bears struggled throughout training camp. They struggled to stay healthy, to find a rhythm on offense, and to find continuity on defense.
The Bears’ starters didn’t play in the second preseason game because the staff viewed their work in joint practices as good enough. All told, the Bears’ starters played somewhere between four and six series in the preseason. Some starters didn’t play at all.
More work was needed, and it showed Sunday as the Bears were decapitated by the Green Bay Packers 38-20 at Soldier Field.
The offensive game plan was useless. The “revamped” defense didn’t communicate, tackle, or pressure the quarterback. Maybe it was a late arrival on the CTA?
A three-hour debacle on the lakefront washed away an offseason of hype and excitement. The Week 1 report card reflects a performance that left everyone hoping it was rock bottom but fearing it was just the beginning.
Any time the Bears talk about quarterback Justin Fields, they talk about how great of a deep ball thrower he is and how they want to utilize it.
Could have fooled me.
The Bears’ offensive game plan, the one they had months to put together, called for a heavy dose of screen passes and quick-game work.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s initial plan didn’t yield great results, but the Bears stubbornly stuck with it until the fat lady had sung, changed her clothes, and hopped in an Uber for the airport.
Fields finished the day 24-for-37 for 216 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. But he finished the game with a career-low 4.1 air yards per attempt, per ESPN Stats and Info. Fields threw just five passes that traveled 10 yards or more in the air. He went 2-for-5 with a touchdown and an interception.
Fields threw 37 passes and dropped back 45 times. Despite that high number of dropbacks, Bears wide receivers accounted for just 13 total targets, with Darnell Mooney getting seven.
DJ Moore caught two passes on two targets on back-to-back plays in the second quarter and was not heard from again. Chase Claypool caught zero passes on two targets and was less than a non-factor.
The Bears’ inability to find a way to get the ball in Moore or Claypool’s hands is a massive indictment of Getsy’s game plan and an offensive line that allowed Fields to be pressured on 42 percent of his dropbacks.
The game plan was putrid. The offensive line play was worse.
A unit that hadn’t taken a snap together all preseason looked like it Sunday.
Left tackle Braxton Jones had a day to forget, center Lucas Patrick was bullied at the point of attack, and guards Cody Whitehair and Nate Davis were unspectacular in pass protection.
Fields was OK on Sunday. He executed the game plan and went through his progressions well at times. But it was nothing to write home about.
Fields Grade: C
Passing Game Grade: D-
Running the ball was the only thing the Bears did well in 2022.
Even that didn’t work Sunday.
The Bears’ ground game couldn’t gain any traction Sunday. Fields rushed nine times for 59 yards but fumbled in a critical spot.
Outside of FIelds, the Bears rushed 20 times for 63 yards, including a tight end sneak by Cole Kmet on the first drive of the game that didn’t pick up the 1-yard needed for a first down.
The Bears got no push up front and couldn’t open the desired lanes for Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman.
Rookie Roschon Johnson was the lone bright spot, rushing for 20 yards and a touchdown on five carries.
The Bears’ defense talked a big game throughout training camp. Despite being one of the NFL’s worst defenses in 2022, the Bears claimed they would be dominant this fall.
They might want to retract that proclamation for now.
The Bears’ new defensive line got zero push against a Packers’ offensive line that gave quarterback Jordan Love all the time in the world to throw.
Outside of Yannick Ngakoue’s coverage sack, the Bears’ defensive line didn’t even make Love sweat.
In the secondary, the Bears had constant miscommunications, allowed Love to convert several crucial third downs, and surrendered big plays that eventually were their cause of death Sunday.
Safety Eddie Jackson gave up a touchdown to Romeo Doubs when he lost his inside leverage. Linebacker T.J. Edwards allowed running back Aaron Jones to take a slant 35 yards for a touchdown on fourth-and-3.
Second-year cornerback Kyler Gordon had a decent game before injuring his hand, but outside of that, it was all bad for a Bears’ pass defense that couldn’t affect the quarterback and couldn’t turn the ball over.
The Bears’ defense was flat-out pathetic Sunday. Bottom line.
But if there is one thing to hang their hat on, it’s that they held the Packers to 92 rushing yards and just 2.9 yards per carry.
Defensive tackle Andrew Billings got good push in the middle, and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds had some nice run fits.
But at this point, we’re just handing out participation trophies.