First impressions are hard to shake sometimes. It’s why the Chicago Bears are suddenly considered one of the worst teams in the NFL despite an offseason full of optimism after the improvements GM Ryan Poles made to the roster.
But after Week 1’s embarrassing loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Bears are back to who the NFL thought they were: the 3-14 team that lost their way to the No. 1 overall pick last year.
Perhaps Week 1’s poor showing resulted from the rust that comes with one less preseason game. The entire NFL suffered from a subpar showing; Week 1’s yards per pass attempt was the lowest it’s been since 1996, and the EPA (expected points added) per play was the lowest in 22 years.
Justin Fields wasn’t great, and his box score showed it. He threw for 216 yards, one touchdown and an interception, and another 59 yards rushing. Fields’ ho-hum day would’ve been worse if established franchise quarterbacks like Joe Burrow, who threw for just 82 yards on 31 pass attempts.
Fields’ struggles aren’t excused because Week 1 as a whole wasn’t great for quarterbacks, but it does at least keep the light on for a positive outlook for Chicago’s QB1.
The fastest way Justin Fields can reboot his 2023 season is with an explosive showing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2. And to have that explosive showing, he’ll need to take more shots downfield to receivers like DJ Moore.
Fields knows it.
“I felt like I was a little bit too conservative at times during the game,” Fields said of his performance against the Packers from Halas Hall on Wednesday. “Definitely with guys like [receivers] DJ [Moore] and Chase [Claypool] on the outside, if we do have one-on-one on the outside, potentially throwing it up and seeing what happens.
“With them, they’re great playmakers, and they can most likely come up with a 50-50 ball. Definitely want to give them more chances deep down the field.”
Justin Fields will have a chance to take those shots against the Buccaneers defense. Tampa Bay surrendered 328 passing yards in Week 1, which ranked 30th in the NFL.
The Chicago Bears vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 2 game will kick off at 12:00 p.m. CST (1:00 p.m. EST) from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.