LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP)The Chicago Bears are showing growth on offense. And it’s not just Justin Fields.
The Bears’ offense has put together two solid performances in a row and is looking more like the sort of unit it hopes to become.
“It took a giant step,” receiver DJ Moore said. “Last week, like I said, all the stars aligned. This week, we want the sun to align with us.”
The Bears (1-4) will try to keep moving forward when they host the Minnesota Vikings (1-4) on Sunday.
They stopped a 14-game losing streak with a 40-20 win at Washington last week in which Fields and Moore led another big effort by the offense.
The Bears racked up 451 yards against the Commanders after setting a season high with 471 the previous week against Denver, and their offense has jumped from 29th overall to 14th in that span.
Fields is coming off his two best games as a passer with a combined 617 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception. He’s looked more comfortable throwing on the run and is developing the sort of connection with Moore the Bears envisioned when they acquired the star receiver from Carolina as part of a deal for the No. 1 pick in the draft.
“It’s a long process, but of course, we’ve worked through it and we’ve grown and gotten better every week,” Fields said. “Just looking to keep going and keep growing in the right direction.”
Fields set career highs with 335 yards and four touchdown passes against the Broncos and followed that up by throwing for four more scores at Washington. Three of them went to Moore, who had eight receptions for a career-high 230 yards. The only Chicago player with more yards receiving in a game was Alshon Jeffery with 249 in an overtime loss at Minnesota on Dec. 1, 2013.
The Bears had their four longest plays of the season last week. And three were passes to Moore – 58 yards, 39 yards and a 56-yard score off a short pass with Commanders cornerback Kendall Fuller jumping the route. The other was a 34-yard run by Khalil Herbert.
“I would just say the shots down the field, then guys executing the calls,” Eberflus said. “We’ve just gotta continue to do that. Some are short runs and catches and some are shots down the field like the first third down we had. Those are designs and those have been executed well.”
It wouldn’t hurt if the Bears got more production from receiver Darnell Mooney. He’s been in a two-year slide, going from 1,055 yards as a second-year pro in 2021 to 493 yards last season to just 104 yards on eight receptions through the first five games. Against Washington, he failed to catch a pass for the third time this year.
“I would just say that we’re really just working through it,” Eberflus said. “We’re still obviously hopeful we’re going to see those things – and we’re going to. We’re gonna take the shots to him. He’s gonna get his looks. He’s gonna get his shots. And we’re gonna see it coming forward.”
The Bears are getting better protection from a line that’s been short-handed. Right guard Nate Davis missed losses to Tampa Bay and Kansas City in Weeks 2 and 3 because of a death in the family.
Left guard Teven Jenkins returned from a leg injury last week and played 37 snaps after missing the first four games, giving the Bears a physical and nasty presence. Eberflus wouldn’t say if Jenkins’ snap count will increase this week.
The Bears might not have a choice.
Center Lucas Patrick remains in the concussion protocol after leaving the game at Washington. His injury resulted in Cody Whitehair shifting to center and Jenkins platooning with Ja’Tyre Carter at left guard.
Jenkins “gives us a lot of size in there and a lot of lean mass to hold the pocket firm inside there,” Eberflus said. “And again, the offensive line did a remarkable job of doing that, giving Justin the time.”
NOTES: The Bears could be getting S Eddie Jackson (foot) and CB Jaylon Johnson (hamstring) back, with both returning to practice on a limited basis. Jackson has not played since Week 2. Johnson said he’s “very happy to be back so soon” after missing the past two games. … Herbert (ankle) did not practice, and RB Roschon Johnson remained in the concussion protocol. … Eberflus had no update on the search for a senior defensive analyst. That person would help with advance scouting and developing game plans. The Bears haven’t had a defensive coordinator since Alan Williams resigned early in the season.
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