Quick Comments: Bears at Buccaneers 9/17/23


  • DJ Moore had a great start to the game. Two catches for 64 yards on the first drive. The Bucs game plan was apparently to treat him like any other receiver. That’s a terrible idea especially when playing the Bears who have so few difference makers outside of Moore. I’m not sure if they got that message but Moore got very few balls after that until the fourth quarter when Fields once again found him for some big plays. He finished with 6 receptions for 104 yards.
  • The Bears rolled out Khari Blasingame in the second quarter in the I formation. I’ve always wondered why the Bears don’t use him more. Good things tend to happen when he’s in there.
  • In a similar vein, the Bears came out of halftime running the ball. IN the end they rushed for 62 yards and a respectable 4.2 yards per carry. Khalil Herbert had a good day and so did Roschon Johnson. D’Onta Foreman was inactive but I still like the look of that guy. He’s probably not the pass catcher that Herbert and Johnson are. Johnson probably also plays on special teams.
  • Chase Claypool had 3 catches for 36 yards and a touchdown in a high effort game which may temporarily silence his critics. Notably Darnell Mooney didn’t make the stat sheet. The Bears need Moore, Claypool and Mooney to all produce if they are to run a competent NFL passing offense. Equinimious St. Brown was inactive.
  • The Bears were a substandard 6 for 13 on third down but it was better than last week when they only converted one. This still needs work. It all needs work.


  • Second play of the game and Jaquan Brisker drops an interception. The Bears read it, had them dead to rights and couldn’t finish. Brisker has got to catch that ball.
  • Ordinarily getting pressure is more essential than usual when playing Baker Mayfield. Usually the only way he can be successful is if he’s given time and gets comfortable. The Bears got to him occasionally but he made some plays today. There were a couple throws that Mayfield made right before he got hit. I can’t even count the number of times that the Bears had Mayfield dead to rights and he got away. You start to wonder if Mayfield isn’t on his way to a good season. We will see.
  • The Bears were in a dire state with both Brisker (illness) and Eddie Jackson (foot) out in the second quarter. Elijah Hicks and someone names Quindell Johnson replaced them. The Bucs had the Bears pegged with cover two beaters where Mayfield was hitting receivers along the sideline behind the cornerback before the safety could get over to cover. That was probably much easier with inexperienced safeties who might be late off the mark. Brisker eventually came back on in the third quarter.


  • Daryl Johnston did a good job on color today. He’s got a bad habit of saying things right as I’m writing them down. It’s irritating because it makes me sound like a parrot.
  • Nice play by Rasheem Green on his blocked field goal attempt near the beginning of the second quarter to keep the score 7-3 Bears. First blocked field goal since week 5 last season. It didn’t look like anything fancy. He just beat his guy and got his hand up.
  • Braxton Jones had another false start and looked extremely bad on at least one block right after that. I wonder if we’re getting close to the point where we can stop excusing this with the old “he’s still learning” mantra.
  • The Bears defense was left on the field for more than 35 minutes on a day where the temperature was in the 90s and the humidity was will above 90%. That’s a long time for the defense to be on the field. I was impressed with the way that they held up.
  • On a related note, the Bears were wearing orange uniforms today. Dark blue at 90 degrees and humid isn’t ideal that so sounded like a good decision. I’m sure that’s why the Bucs chose to wear white at home.
  • Justin Fields was sacked 5 times today but not all of those sacks were the fault of a subpar offensive line.

I won’t say that Fields didn’t have his moments. The touchdown pass to Claypool was a great example of what a well run NFL play should look like. He failed again one score down with about 2 minutes left but I thought that was hardly his fault. He was swamped by a pass rush that was on him immediately and Shaquil Barrett apparently read it well to make the interception.

Nevertheless, when Fields got protection today he still sat back and held the ball and held the ball and held the ball… Too often he looks completely discombobulated. He has no feel for the pocket and he has no idea where to go with the ball. His uncertainty began to affect his accuracy, just as Mitch Trubisky’s uncertainty affected his in the last turn of this cycle.

Some will say that the Bears need to fall back on the plan from last year when they simply turned Fields loose to run. But he did little damage with his feet today against a Bucs defense that was well prepared to keep him in the pocket. This will be the first of many of those days against better teams.

The day that the Bears tell Fields to just make one read and start running again will be the day that they can start looking for a new quarterback. That day may not be far off anyway.

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