Why Fields didn’t hit Mooney for a wide-open TD vs. Giants appeared first on NBC Sports Chicago
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Given the state of the Bears’ offense, quarterback Justin Fields can’t miss any layups.
He missed a big one Sunday in the Bears’ 20-12 loss to the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
Trailing 14-6, the Bears faced third-and-10 at the Giants’ 35-yard line with 3:11 left in the half. Wide receiver Darnell Mooney was lined up on the inside left slot and came free up the seam. With the Giants playing Cover 2, Fields had a great opportunity to lay it on Mooney for what would have been the Bears’ first touchdown of the game.
The pocket was clean. Fields could and should have struck out Mooney for what was probably a perfect throw for six.
Instead, Fields tucked it in and took off for a gain of 12 and a first down. The Bears settled for a 40-yard field goal by Michael Badgley on the drive.
On Monday, Mooney explained that he was supposed to work his way further to the right, and Fields didn’t pull the trigger because he wasn’t in the right place.
“Then, it’s called, it’s like a vertical four play,” said Mooney. “I think it was more than that my miss, but thought-wise. That’s where it becomes like a hassle of just like trying to learn the playbook so much.
“So last year we had that play call, too. It was a special call, and, uh, No. 3. Then if you see a Cover 2 or whatever you can split the seam. That’s how it was last year. But not we have the same name, the same play, and I had two on one page, and I’m thinking it’s more on the right side of the upper safety, the right safety. And that’s where it was he was looking for me. , then, he probably felt pressure. I don’t know what he felt wise, but it was just me putting two and two together, I mean, two and one put together.”
Wrong way or not, Mooney was wide open in midfield. Since the right safety was leaving the middle of the field, Fields had a clear window to throw it to Mooney for a tie.
That’s what he has to do.
Head coach Matt Eberflus admitted that Mooney’s route was not correct and that the Bears staff trained Fields to do the check or scramble if the Giants were in the defense they presented on that play.
However, if the play is there, Fields has to let it fly.
“That’s a very basic play,” Eberflus said. “That’s just vertical, four vertical plays. Mooney on that one is supposed to be bending across the formation. He’s supposed to be bending across. He wasn’t supposed to go vertical. I think that kind of caught him off guard a little bit, but he definitely had time for that He definitely had time and he could have marked the pocket a little more, but he decided to take it because of what we were telling him don’t take the checkdown or run on that when they’re in. that defense.
“Yes, no doubt,” continued Eberflus. “Get your eyes down and see what you see and take what they give you. Sure, you definitely have to.”
Parks posted season highs in completions and yards on Sunday. The Bears had explosive pass plays of 56, 24, and 23 yards. But that wasn’t enough for them to find the end zone in the Meadowlands.
The Bears are practicing patience with Fields. They know the passing game’s struggles don’t fall solely on their shoulders. They saw progress in practice between the Week 3 win over the Texans and Sunday’s loss to the Giants.
But with their receivers struggling to get separation, the Bears can’t afford Fields to miss chances like he did Sunday.
Those opportunities are too small to let fall by the wayside.
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