Luke Getsy's defense of the calls against the Lions reveals significant insights about Justin Fields and the Bears' offensive strategy.

Vince Carbonneau
November 26, 2023  (2:32 PM)

In Detroit, for three quarters, Justin Fields and the Bears' offense operated smoothly. However, as the fourth quarter unfolded, their approach became conservative, leaving the door ajar for the Lions to stage a remarkable 12-point comeback in under five minutes.

The first notable decision occurred midway through the final quarter, following Fields' impressive 29-yard run that brought the Bears into the Lions' territory. Despite having a nine-point lead and an opportunity to seal the game against the NFC North-leading Lions, the Bears opted for caution. They called three consecutive running plays, settling for a short field goal. On third-and-7, Fields handed the ball to Roschon Johnson, who gained only 2 yards. Head Coach Matt Eberflus defended the choice, referencing an earlier successful third-and-medium run by Johnson.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy explained that several factors influenced the decision to run on that critical third-and-7, which extended the Bears' lead to 12 but gave the Lions a chance to mount a comeback. Getsy emphasized the importance of being in the "best play mindset" and adapting to the situation, whether it involves running or passing. He acknowledged that hindsight might lead to a different decision but highlighted the complex decision-making process that factors in the game situation, clock management, and defensive pressure.
Eberflus later suggested that Fields had the option to "disconnect" from the play and run himself, while film analysis revealed that the play was a designed run-pass-option (RPO) with receivers prepared for blocking or a screen to DJ Moore. Johnson believed it was an RPO as well, with Fields having the choice to keep or pass. Johnson noted that the pre-snap look indicated a handoff, and he got tripped up while trying to convert.
Criticism also fell on Getsy's play-calling during the subsequent drive. With a 26-21 lead and 2:59 remaining, the Bears needed two first downs to secure a significant victory. The first two plays resulted in minimal gains, with Fields giving the ball to Khalil Herbert on both occasions. Fields explained that the Lions' defensive strategy aimed to limit his running ability, influencing his decision to hand off the ball.
Getsy agreed with Fields' assessment, acknowledging that the decision to give or keep the ball is not always straightforward and depends on various factors, including the quarterback's instincts. He emphasized that quarterback development involves making the right decisions in such situations and executing plays effectively.
On the following play, Fields identified coverage that steered him away from Moore and attempted a deep pass to rookie Tyler Scott, which was narrowly missed. Getsy highlighted the growth and communication demonstrated by Fields in these situations, emphasizing that quarterback development involves understanding matchups and adapting to them.
The Bears' collapse against the Lions exposed the need for growth across their offensive operation, from coaching staff to players. The issues in Detroit's final moments were symptomatic of larger challenges that the team is working to address.
While the Bears may not divulge the specifics of their decisions, it's evident that multiple areas made errors, contributing to a historic collapse. Fields expressed that the team's true identity was revealed in the first 54 minutes of the game, but the critical moments demonstrated a need for improvement in executing winning plays.
Luke Getsy's defense of the calls against the Lions reveals significant insights about Justin Fields and the Bears' offensive strategy.

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