How Justin Fields, Cole Kmet TD catch was nearly ruined by elements

How elements nearly ruined Kmet 50-yd TD catch originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Justin Fields’ incredible 67-yard touchdown run will get all of the attention this week as a standout highlight against the Lions, and from a sheer talent standpoint there was no better play from Week 10. But in terms of scheme meeting skill, it was Fields’ 50-yard touchdown to Cole Kmet that took the cake.

With just under three minutes to go in the third quarter, the Bears faced a 2nd-and-1 at midfield. Fields faked a handoff to Khalil Herbert to the right, but the Lions defenders didn’t bite very hard and flowed with Fields as he rolled to the left. Problem for the Lions was too many defenders moved with Fields and Kmet found himself all alone 30 yards downfield. Fields lofted him an easy pass, Kmet reeled it in and jogged in for as easy of a score as you’ll see in the NFL.

On Monday, Eberflus agreed it was an effective play, but stopped short of calling it a revelation for the Bears offense.

“Those are plays that have been around,” Eberflus said. “I mean, they’ve been around the league from the Shanahans, Kubiaks, all the guys that have designed these plays from the beginning. They’re hard to defend because you’re looking at defending what you think is going to be a post or wheel and all of a sudden it’s a post corner all the way across the field, it’s going to be caught 45 yards on the other side of the numbers

“Those are very difficult because if it is man for example一 I know they got confused and sideways on the coverage a bit一 but if you’re in man, that guy is still running away from your leverage point. You got to do some things in there that defensively can help yourself.”

It helps when your quarterback has been on a tear running the ball, forcing defenses to respect what he can do with his legs.

“We obviously saw throughout the game that they were overplaying a little bit,” said Kmet. “I think we saw it and knew to dial it up in that moment.”

Kmet said that the moment he planted his foot for his cut he knew he was going to be wide open, but this was a play that didn’t come easily to the Bears. When the offense installed the play they repped it in a walkthrough, so the principal players stayed back to work it live after practice. Then when they tried to get it down, 20 mph winds got in the way.

“I run one, wind kinda takes it,” Kmet said. “I run two, I didn’t really run it right. I run three and wind takes off again. I run another one and it’s like ‘Alright, I can’t be doing all these routes,’ so we scratched and we’re like, ‘We’ll get the one in the game.”

Of course they did get it right in the game, but the elements nearly prevented the big play, again.

“The sun at that time was right in that vision, so I lost it for a couple seconds and was like, ‘Where’s this thing at?’” Kmet said. “There’s slight shade coming in and you kinda see it peak through the sun. My baseball days playing center field probably helped out in that situation.”

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