In Justin Fields’ biggest game of Sunday’s win against the Houston Texans, he was hoping for something even bigger. On the fifth down of the Chicago Bears’ opening drive — third-and-9 from their 36 — Fields was confident that receiver Darnell Mooney could break free for a potential big gain on a deep circle. But as much as Fields wanted that big play, Mooney was sent inside by cornerback Steven Nelson and the two got mixed up for a moment.

The deepest shot was never opened.

On the other hand, Equanimeous St. Brown got a breakaway on a shorter turn route.

“But my legs just weren’t ready for it,” Fields explained.

Under St. Brown, Dante Pettis had plenty of cushion when he sat on his route near the numbers 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

However, even with the cleanest pocket he’d had all day and plenty of time to throw, Fields never found the right rhythm for the throw and instead soared through the pocket and then toward the left sideline, flying into the open field for the longest streak of his career – a 29-yard burst that set up a Bears touchdown.

Fields was asked Wednesday how he handled the play and whether he noticed an opportunity to pull the trigger to open the pipes while watching the video.

“I really just wanted the moon,” he said. “I thought it was a good match, but the angle ended up playing out of whack.”

A day later, offensive coordinator Luke Gatsey was asked to comment on that sequence.

“What you’d like to see him do is drop down (from Mooney’s depth) to Pettis there on a check,” Gatsey said. “But he is like that. When he has a moment to be able to create space and time (with his feet), we definitely don’t want to take that away from him. So I wouldn’t say he necessarily stuck to (the Mooney path) for too long. Just, well, as soon as that collision (between Mooney and Nelson) happened, find your check. And then, if it wasn’t, now it’s time to get out.”

It’s the little moments, amid the bad plays and the big accomplishments, where the coaching process at Halas Hall continues to play an important role. Fields is off to a miserably slow start through three games, ranking 32nd in the league in completions (23), yards (297) and passer rating (50.0) and the driver of a sputtering offense that ranks last in total yards .

Still, amid the frustration and accompanying desire to turn things around, the Bears are finding a few reasons to cheer. Getty spoke to reporters for 15 minutes Thursday afternoon in Lake Forest. Here are three things we learned.

1. No one in Halas Hall believes Justin Fields can’t consistently pull the trigger on open passes.

Fields took exception to that suggestion on Wednesday, which came immediately after he detailed his 29-fight process.

“You just have to listen to your feet and throw the ball in time,” he said.

Getty echoed that sentiment Thursday, dismissing suggestions that the coaching staff lacked confidence in its young quarterback with a conservative game.

“It’s not that we were scared to call (the pass) a play anyway,” Getsy said. “We call the play we think is best for attacking with our matchups. … Sometimes we can’t deploy the five and spread people because of the matchups we have to deal with.”

The Bears chose to drive the ball more than once against the Texans in third-and-medium or third-and-long situations. But Getsy stressed that much of it was dictated by the situation.

“It’s not the sexiest thing in the world to drive the ball on third-and-6,” he said. “But if we feel like we’ve got a bargain, we’ll do everything we can. Whether it’s a run, a pass, a screen, whatever it is, we’ll do it. We spend a lot of time trying to find these matches and that’s part of it.”

2. Fields’ first interception actually involved “phenomenal footwork,” a bright spot, according to Hesse.

Fields’ first-quarter pick off a handoff to tight end Cole Kmet was one of the ugliest moments of his shaky game. But Getsey was impressed with Fields’ ability to adjust in-game to how quickly Kmet gets open.

Texans cornerback Desmond King was so quick to react to Mooney’s potential pass to the left of the screen that Kmet almost immediately fired.

“It happened a lot faster than we expected,” Gatsey said. “Cole just jumped out.”

To do this, Fields needed to accelerate his fall to prepare for the throw.

“He really did a great job closing his legs down,” Getsy said.

Fields’ pass, however, was nowhere near Kmet, instead being caught by Texans safety Jalen Pitre. The Bears quarterback noted Wednesday that the ball slipped out of his hands a bit as he threw it. Which, in truth, shouldn’t buy him much forgiveness. Getty also noted some mechanical issues with the throw.

“He was a little long with his delivery, long with his stride,” Gatsey said. “So every time it came out of his hands, you could tell it was just funny.”

Gatsey called Fields’ decision-making and in-game adjustments “brilliant.”

“He just missed the throw,” Gatsey said. “We just have to make it so he doesn’t miss those shots.”

3. The production running game has become a major plus.

The Bears are averaging 186.7 yards per rush, best in the NFC, and are also averaging 5.4 yards per rush. Through three games, they’ve been eager to run and aggressively establish control in that zone as the offensive line has played poorly, receivers have been brought in as outside blockers and Fields has handled his responsibilities well in front of the snap. For Gatsey, it was an impressive return on investment for something the Bears have been working on all summer.

“From the very beginning, when we went into training camp, we put an emphasis on who we wanted to be and how we wanted to play the game,” Gatsey said. “And they definitely took it by the reins. Our style of play reflects this. The way they shoot the ball, the way they score and all that. That was the #1 thing we said we were going to do.

“We wanted our tape to look a certain way, and these guys definitely rose to the challenge and did a really good job.”


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