Checking the Tape: Bears vs Vikings

| October 18th, 2023

Watching the Bears’ tape is a mess — nothing meshes together. What Getsy wants to do isn’t what Fields wants to do, and the Bears can’t do anything that Fields wants to do well against blitzing teams.

You can tell Getsy’s answers to Minnesota’s blitzes were quick throws out wide, but Fields couldn’t execute some of them and Whitehair’s snaps ruined others.

Then, the Bears pivoted towards more max protect. Fields looked more comfortable, but the OL couldn’t ID blitzes properly and gave away bad matchups (like Foreman on Hunter/Foreman on a blitzer with runway) leading to more pressure, no throws downfield, and the QB taking more hits.

Some of the above is still on Getsy, because plenty of routes too WAY too long to resolve against the blitz — Mooney jukes the air in the red zone, Trent Taylor runs the longest whip route in existence, etc. Of course, neither is open in time to beat the pressure (and one leads to the INT).

It’s easy to make this out to be a QB-only problem, but it’s the same problem we’ve seen all season — when the Bears’ initial plan doesn’t work, Getsy and Fields’ philosophical disagreements result in awful football that can’t even compete with opposing defenses.

Of course, this magnifies every mistake that the OL makes — if CHI doesn’t get the exact look they want and perfect protection up front, the play might as well be over. It doesn’t feel like there’s much chemistry between the QB and his outlets when things go haywire.

But if all the above wasn’t bad enough, sometimes the Bears do get the exact look they want with perfect protection up front, like the play shown below (Yes, it’s the tweet that includes this very thread):

The Vikings threaten to bring 8 while the Bears protect with 7, but they drop 4 rushers out and get into a Cover 2/Tampa 2 look. Darnell Mooney is wide open, and you could argue Moore is too — Fields stares right at Mooney, so his eyes are in the right place.

He doesn’t throw it. He didn’t in the 3rd game of the preseason against a similar look, likely because of the INT he threw trying the same throw against Houston in 2022. But unfortunately, this means that even when the Bears get that ‘exact look they want with perfect protection up front’ they aren’t always guaranteed to succeed. Bummer.

The play results in a failure to convert on 3rd down, an unnecessary hit, and the effective end of the game.

This Bears offense is sick, and it’s not one player away — it’s great that ‘it works when it works’, but when it rains it pours and you can’t win games that way long-term.

In my opinion, that falls on Getsy. The OC has to change before the 2024 season or else no QB, OL, or WR changes will fix all the problems we see on the ‘bad Sundays’. It starts with coaching, and the coaching is very bad.

Unfortunately for Fields, I don’t know if this gives him a path to QBing the Bears in 2024 — if you’re changing OCs (or HCs, I hope) the new coach would have to commit to Fields long-term coming off a 3rd straight season where Fields missed time for injury and turned in spotty performances.

A new coach could probably get JF looking better in a new offense, but by passing on Caleb Williams or Drake Maye you pit Fields against those rookies’ mythos and demand instantaneous success from Fields in 2024. It’s too toxic an environment, I have little doubt they’ll opt for a clean split barring an incredible Fields run that starts very soon and doesn’t end.

This ended up being a long ramble-post, but it’s such a bummer watching QB & OC butt heads like this nearly every week where things go awry. Maybe Bagent will give us something new to watch (at the very least, it should be closer to ‘Getsy’s Vision’) but as a UDFA rookie he presents his own limitations that are worth their own post.

On to next week. For more tape study, check out the video below:

Your Turn: Any residual thoughts on the game?

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