5 things we learned at Halas Hall, including the thought process of Chicago Bears OC Luke Getsy during Sunday’s loss

The Chicago Bears amended their schedule on Thanksgiving, holding a walk-through and a handful of meetings at Halas Hall as they work toward Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. The team returned to practice Friday, pushing to move past Sunday’s collapse in Detroit while still looking for its first NFC North victory since late in the 2021 season.

Here are five things we learned Friday at Halas Hall.

1. Luke Getsy defended the offensive philosophy and play calling from the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss.

There was a lot to unpack after the Bears settled for two fourth-quarter field goals against the Lions and later were outscored 17-0 over the final 4:15 in a 31-26 loss. The Bears began the quarter with a failed quarterback sneak on third-and-1, then chose to kick a 40-yard field goal for a 23-14 lead rather than going for it on fourth-and-1.

On their next possession, despite chewing up 8 minutes, 45 seconds of clock on a 14-play scoring drive, the Bears again settled for a field goal, seemingly losing an aggressive mindset late on the possession. A 29-yard Justin Fields run plus a 5-yard Lions penalty set the Bears up with first down at the Detroit 26 with 6:20 remaining. But before Cairo Santos’ 39-yard field goal, the Bears ran on three consecutive plays, including a third-and-7 handoff up the middle to rookie Roschon Johnson for just 2 yards.

Matt Eberflus insinuated Monday that Fields had an option to keep the ball for a quarterback run there. “But (he) decided to hand it off,” Eberflus said. “I think (Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone) was there waiting for him. We thought we could pop that one.”

Getsy also addressed the question of why the Bears ran on three consecutive plays in that situation.

“We’re always going to be in the ‘best play’ mindset,” Getsy said. “When you’re in an advantageous position like we felt like we were in those (situations), we’re going to go with it. Run or pass. It doesn’t necessarily always mean we have to throw it or we have to run it, whichever makes you feel like you’re more aggressive. … Sometimes you’re making those decisions based upon the situation too. Do you want the clock to run? Are you already in field-goal range? Are you worried about a pressure that might be coming?

“Whatever it might be, you’re playing the chess game with the other side of the field too. We felt good about all those calls. Do I want to take one or two of them back? Sure I do. I’d love to because now I know how they (turned out).”

2. Getsy talked through Fields’ decision to throw deep to Tyler Scott on his final pass rather than target DJ Moore on a crossing route.

Fields explained after the game that the Lions’ robber coverage — with safety Tracy Walker charging down toward Moore on the play — sent him to his second read, the deep shot to Scott that would have sealed a win had it been completed. Fields made a good throw, too, but Scott misjudged it slightly and was unable to bring it in, forcing the Bears to punt.

Getsy praised Fields’ understanding of the play concept.

“The cool part about it was just the way that he processed it, the way he communicated, the way that he talked about why he did what he did with what he saw,” Getsy said. “That’s all real growth. And he made a good throw.”

Still, Getsy left the door open as to whether Fields might prioritize Moore as his go-to target regardless of the rules baked into the play.

“That’s all a part of your growth (as a quarterback),” Getsy said. “And when you’re going through those types of situations, you always want to factor in who people are. Matchups are always a starting point in our week and when you’re putting your plan together.”

As for Fields’ decision one play earlier to give a read-option handoff to Khalil Herbert rather than keeping the football for a quarterback run, Getsy also acknowledged the gray area in that situation.

“There’s no exact science to exactly how you tell the quarterback to make the decision on that,” Getsy said. “There are plenty of times throughout that game where you would say if you’re coaching it, ‘Why didn’t you keep that?’ But sometimes it is who is that (defender) and who are you? And you have to feel what you feel. I think from Justin’s standpoint he made the right decision. We’ve got to execute the rest of the play a lot better the next time and we will.”

3. The Bears have great respect for Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs.

Dobbs will be playing his fourth game with the team and making his third start after being traded from the Arizona Cardinals to Minnesota on Oct. 31.

“Isn’t it something?” Bears defensive backs coach Jon Hoke said Friday. “It’s very impressive.”

Four days after arriving in Minnesota, Dobbs was needed as an emergency reliever for injured rookie Jaren Hall and rallied the Vikings to an improbable 31-28 road upset of the Atlanta Falcons. He followed the next week by throwing for 268 yards and running for 44 in a 27-19 victory against the New Orleans Saints.

“I commend him, man,” Bears linebacker Tremaine Edmunds said. “That’s not easy to do, to come in and start right away like that. Obviously to learn an NFL playbook is tough anyway. But to do it in the short amount of time he did, I definitely take my hat off to him.”

The Bears defense is preparing to find answers to slow Dobbs as a runner. Dobbs entered Week 12 with 389 rushing yards, second only to Lamar Jackson among quarterbacks.

“Your rush lanes have to be really, really good,” Hoke said. “We always say four equals one (with our pass rush). And you have to have that mentality with the rush lanes. You also have to be smart with how you play man coverage because now you have (defenders) running with people and they’re going to have their backs turned to him.

“So you have to have people who are responsible for him as best you can and still be able to rush the passer. That always complicates things.”

4. After Jaylon Johnson had two near-interceptions against the Lions, Hoke feels the cornerback’s frustration.

Johnson’s first missed opportunity Sunday came in the first half when he broke on a Jared Goff pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown and almost picked it off with 97 yards of green runway in front of him. In the fourth quarter, Johnson had another golden opportunity when Goff misfired badly under pressure on a ball to the left side to tight end Sam LaPorta. Johnson couldn’t catch that pass as he went to the ground, another squandered opportunity that came back to bite the Bears in a close loss.

“He stuck his foot in the ground and couldn’t get an extra step in there just to get a little bit closer to the ball so he could catch it cleaner,” Hoke said.

Added Johnson: “Honestly, I felt like I kind of got caught trying to get under it more so than actually tracking it. It ended up hitting off my arm. Really, I was just trying to find a way to get under it. Because you can find (the football), but if you don’t get under it, it doesn’t matter.”

Still, is that a play Johnson can and should make at this stage of his career?

“Absolutely,” Hoke said. “And he knows that. Nobody’s beating himself up more than he is right now. And I do feel for him because he’s working at it. After practices, the quarterbacks are throwing to him. In pregame, I throw to him. He’s working extra. He knows that is something has got to continue to grow with as a player. And he’s working at it every day. But at the end of the day you’ve got to make those plays in those moments. … He’s well aware.”

5. The Bears remain pretty healthy heading toward Monday night.

Rookie linebacker Noah Sewell (knee) was the only player to miss Friday’s practice because of injury. Offensive tackle Larry Borom also did not participate due to an illness, and tight end Marcedes Lewis had a planned rest day. Beyond that, the Bears are in good shape.

Center Lucas Patrick was able to practice in full after suffering a back injury against the Lions. Running back D’Onta Foreman (ankle) also returned to practice in a limited capacity and hopes to continue ramping up Saturday.


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