CHICAGO — Standing at the dais postgame still partially in uniform with grass stains on his white pants — a sign of how many hits he took in a 12-7 loss to the Washington Commanders Thursday night — Bears quarterback Justin Fields expressed frustration at what led to Chicago losing three straight while stumbling to a 2-4 start.
“We’re always told ‘we’re almost there, we’re almost there,'” Fields said. “Me, personally, I’m sick of being almost there. I’m sick of being so close. I feel like I’ve heard it for so long now. In the end, whatever you can do is go back to work. That’s the only reaction you have. You live and you learn. Just come back next week and keep going, keep improving.
The catalyst for the loss to the Commanders was Chicago’s inability to score on three trips inside the red zone, the second time this has happened in its last three games. The Bears also went 0-for-3 in the red zone in a 20-12 loss to the New York Giants in Week 4.
Fields threw an interception on Washington’s 5-yard line on the second practice of the game for Chicago, who was the first red-zone pick of his career. On their next drive, the Bears made it to the commanders 1-yard line, thanks in part to a 64-yard run from Khalil Herbert on the first play from scrimmage. Herbert was unable to hit the ball on a fourth down.
Chicago’s last trip inside the red zone came on their final drive after Fields ran for 39 yards, the longest rush of his career. Facing fourth and fourth inside the 5-yard line, Fields threw a pass to Darnell Mooney, who hit the receiver in the chest as his body crossed the plane of the goal line. Mooney popped the ball and didn’t secure it until it fell just before the end zone.
Repeated issues from the red zone produced a direct response from the quarterback.
“When the game is there, do it,” Fields said. “Plain and simple. There’s no logistics. It’s not complicated. It’s when you have that opportunity, finish. It’s that simple. We just haven’t done that this evening. and catch.”
But a game ate Fields after the game. On the Bears’ second red-zone drive, Fields and Ryan Griffin failed to connect second-and-third from Washington’s 3-yard line when the tight veteran had 4.05 yards apart, according to Next Gen Stats. .
“The one that drives me crazy is Griff in the end zone,” Fields said. “He probably could have run a little more, but he’s wide open. Gotta hit that. I’m an NFL quarterback. Gotta hit that.”
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Bears are the second team this season to have at least 390 rushing yards and less than 10 points in a game. Fields went 14 of 27 for 190 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Mooney led the Bears in targets (12) and receptions (7) and was second in receiving yards with 68.
Fields and the offense failed to follow up on a strong second-half performance after a Week 5 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, where the quarterback had the Bears in position late after scoring 19 points without answer.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus didn’t think Fields’ exit four days after his loss to the Vikings was a step backward.
“I think he took a step forward,” Eberflus said. “I really do.
“Because the toughness. For me, the ability to take the ball and knock it down at the very end to give us a chance to win it, for me that’s been the improvement. Okay? Were there other times we needed to clean up and the offense needs to clean up? Sure. But we had the practices there and if we smash them in, the game is a different game. That’s 21 points. So for me, it was really inspiring to see him do that at the very end, to knock us down to win at the very end. And again, we failed. We have to do a better job next time.
Statistically, Fields remains bottom of the NFL, ranking last in completion percentage (54.8%), off-target percentage (24.4%), sack percentage (13.5%) and pressure (46.2%). His above-expectation completion percentage (-10.7%) and interception percentage (4.3%) rank 31st.
Overall, the Bears have thrown 115 passes this season, the fewest of any team in six games since the 1982 Patriots.
Fields had several hits on Thursday that left him slow to recover between plays. The quarterback said after the game that he had an aggravated left shoulder injury, but didn’t say whether the original injury happened against the Commanders or in a previous game.
Fields had a career-high 18 pressures from Washington. The Bears quarterback has been pressured in 46% of his waivers this season, which is the highest rate of pressure a quarterback has faced in the first six games of a season since ESPN began tracking the pressures in 2009.
The Bears suffered injuries to left guard Lucas Patrick and right guard Teven Jenkins, both of whom missed time in the third quarter but returned later.
When asked if the Bears would need to reassess the offensive line in their mini bye week, Eberflus pointed to potential changes across the board.
“We will reevaluate everything,” Eberflus said. “Everything from the scheme to the players to everything. We’re going to do a great job here coming up. And we’re going to do a great job of really getting that to the players.
“Whether it might be a change in composition or technique, fundamentals, all of that, the pattern, how we run certain plays, who we deliver the ball to, which we do well. , which we need to improve.”