There was considerable buzz surrounding the Luke Getsy hire. And considering the SNF stage, a return to Green Bay, and the positive momentum that came with a 1-0 start, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for Getsy’s coming out party.
For a moment, it looked like we were getting it:
And then the rest of the game happened.
The Bears were looking impressive early on, marching 71 yards in seven plays with a Justin Fields touchdown run providing the exclamation point as Chicago took an early 7-3 lead. They would go on to gain just 157 yards on the 34 plays that came after that opening series. Three-and-outs were coming in waves. If you blinked while the Bears offense had the ball, you probably missed the possession. There were moments when I put my head down to fire off a tweet, only to look back up and see the Bears already in punt formation. It was a mess.
So … what happened?
Upon further review, I’ve come to the conclusion that Getsy fell into a trap.
Getsy thought he put together a winning game-plan specifically meant to beat an Aaron Rodgers-led Packers team. A plan that fully committed to running the ball, eating the clock, keeping Rodgers off the field, and piece together enough scoring drives to keep it close to win at the end. In other words, Getsy was trying to beat the Packers the same way playoff teams do when they send Green Bay home from the postseason with an early exit.
In fairness, it’s a sensible scheme. Perhaps it was a little John Fox-ish, but it wasn’t the worst plan I’ve seen a Bears offensive coach put into motion. And it sure as heck beat what Matt Nagy and Marc Trestman had done in their stints coaching the Bears. But you play to win the game, right? We all wanted to see the Bears beat the Packers by any means necessary, didn’t we? Aren’t we all sick of being Charlie Brown kicking to the Packers’ Lucy pulling the football out from under us just as we’re about to let out a mighty boot? I know I am.
Think about what has been our biggest gripe as a fanbase in recent years. We became unnerved watching a coach who doesn’t understand his personnel. That game plan — whether you liked it or not — suggests Getsy knows his best players are his running backs. And that his offensive line is better at run blocking that pass protection. Hence, the plan of attack we saw the Bears attempt to execute on Sunday Night Football.
Unfortunately, it all leads us to the most problematic part of the trap. A run-heavy game plan artificially limiting Justin Fields’ throws goes against what the Bears should be doing as a team.
Ultimately, it leaves Chicago’s football team in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
You probably don’t want Fields throwing it 30, 40, or 50 times against that Packers secondary. Jaire Alexander and Darnell Savage are ace defenders. And that pass-rush is relentless. But you don’t want to try to evaluate Fields’ development as a passer based on an 11-throw sample that we saw yesterday. There must be a happy medium, right? I can’t believe there isn’t a way to beat the Packers without going from one offensive extreme (too much drop-back passing) to the other (too much ground and pound).
In the end, the way to beat the trap is to find the middle ground. If Getsy is the goods, then he’ll use his time wisely this week to find a middle ground.