For quite some time after Thursday’s loss, Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields sat alone at his locker pondering offense. He was quiet as he lay there, messing around on his phone trying to digest what just happened. His Bears were not able to get points on the board against the Washington Commanders until the second half and could only score once in the entire game.
This is despite running nine plays inside the opposing red zone. Six of those plays came from within five yards; so close yet oh so far.
One drive ended after Fields threw a bad ball at the back of a Washington defensive lineman’s helmet. It ricocheted into the awaiting arm of another for an interception. Fields finished 7-of-15 for 190 yards, one touchdown, the interception, and certainly more than a few bruises after taking five sacks and 12 quarterback hits while the Bears totaled 392 yards.
Justin Fields Takes Beating in Bears’ Loss vs Washington Commanders
Bears’ Offense Must Finish
The first half was again a rough one for the Bears. Fields completed just 7-of-14 passes for 89 scoreless yards. In total, the Bears gained 202 total net yards. Fields had 32 of their 131 rushing yards but the bulk of it came on one play – a 65-yard scamper by Khalil Herbert that set the Bears up with their first red zone trip.
Chicago would later reach the red zone again, getting to the one-yard line only to see Herbert stuffed for no gain on fourth down.
Their final attempt came on their final possession. It was a six-play drive that covered 34 yards following a missed field goal by Commanders kicker Joey Slye. That was their best starting field position of the game.
After the game, Fields said the Bears need to “finish” in the red zone.
“Me personally, I’m tired of being almost there. Tired of being just this close. Feel like I’ve been hearing it for so long now. At the end of the day, all you can do is get back to work. That’s the only reaction you have. Live and you learn, and get back to next week and keep going, keep getting better.”
The Bears’ offensive woes are well documented and, in all fairness, pre-exist everyone involved from Ryan Poles down to the coaches and players.
Fields did find wide receiver Dante Pettis for a 40-yard score on a play where they caught Washington with too many men on the field.
.@justnfields with a DIME to @dmainy_13 for 6 🙌
📺: #WASvsCHI on @NFLonPrime pic.twitter.com/HXNH4l6rU0
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 14, 2022
Fields said that everyone in the locker room feels a loss like this; one where the Bears had ample opportunities to win it going away. Instead, they fall to 2-4 with a pair of road dates against the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys on deck.
Eberflus on Fields
Bears head coach Matt Eberflus caught some by surprise when he said that he thought the game was a “step forward” for Fields. On the heels of his second-half breakout against the New York Giants in Week 5, however, this game could be seen as a step back.
Eberflus wasn’t talking about Fields’ stats, though.
“I told him after, man, he is tough,” Eberflus said of his young quarterback. “That guy is tough and he can get out of a lot of things. That one run he had down the side, I mean, some of that stuff is just amazing. The type of player he is and…the mental toughness that he has. It’s phenomenal. He’ll hang in there with the best of them. It’s exciting to see the guys rally around him and see that’s a tough position. You’ll rally around a guy like that, that mental and physical toughness that he has. I just told him I was really proud of the way he hung in there.”
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Eberflus was complimentary of the Commanders’ defensive line. EDGE rusher Montez Sweat recorded four quarterback hits all by himself on top of a sack as he gave Bears rookie left tackle Braxton Jones fits.
“Again, they got some good D-line men, obviously got some good first-rounders, and they’re going to give a lot of guys fits, as they have.”
Washington came in with the seventh-most sacks in the league.
Shoulda Woulda Coulda
There were plenty of plays that the Bears’ offense wants back – Fields’ interception likely chief among them. Some plays, like not seeing David Montgomery coming out of the backfield in the red zone, he explained – Montgomery was the last read on that play. Another miss would have seen Darnell Mooney score. There was also a missed connection with tight end Ryan Griffin in the end zone.
“He probably could’ve run a bit more, but I’ve got to hit that. I’m an NFL quarterback. I’ve got to hit that.”
-Justin Fields on missed TD to Ryan Griffin
— Alex Shapiro (@AlexShapiroNBCS) October 14, 2022
But there was one play in particular that the second-year passer felt was not on him or his teammates.
On the Bears’ second-to-last play, a third-and-goal situation, Fields went back to Pettis who was running from the middle to the right side of the end zone.
Pettis got tangled up with Commanders defensive back Darrick Forrest.
“It was a PI that we didn’t get,” said Fields firmly. “Simple.”
Pettis was in lock-step and said the Bears’ defense getting a pass interference called on them made matters that much worse. The Bears were also up 7-6 and had gotten the ball back when rookie Velus Jones Jr. muffed the punt setting Washington up at the six-yard line. That eventually led to the game-winning, one-yard touchdown plunge by rookie Brian Robinson Jr.
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