Why Justin Fields didn't hit Equanimeous St. Brown for deep TD vs. Packers

·3 min read

ESB explains why Fields didn't hit him for wide-open TD vs. Packers originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Justin Fields threw the ball only 11 times Sunday night in the Bears’ deflating 27-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

The Bears trailed by 17 at halftime and needed Fields to generate big plays in the second half to get them back into the game. An opportunity presented itself on the Bears’ first third down of the second half, but Fields failed to pull the trigger.

Facing a third-and-10 from their own 22-yard line, Equanimeous St. Brown broke away from Eric Stokes on the right side of the field. Fields is a prolific deep-ball thrower and should have been able to put it on St. Brown for what could’ve been a 78-yard score to quickly change the momentum of the game.

Fields looked St. Brown’s way but eventually checked it down to David Montgomery for a gain of 7 that brought out the punt team.

On Monday, St. Brown explained that he ad-libbed his route and gave Fields a signal that he had his man beat. The duo has discussed it, but it has yet to happen in-game.

“I was supposed to run a curl route,” St. Brown said Monday. “But I beat the DB so bad that I threw my hand up and turned it into a go route.

“When we throw our hand up, we call it mailbox. If you’re not going to run your route and you’re going to run a go route, throw your hand up so the quarterback knows that you’re going to run a go route and not the actual route.”

It’s important to remember the Bears have only played two games in this system. It normally takes time for teams to find a rhythm and for everything to start clicking. St. Brown's "mailbox" switch is an on-the-fly adjustment that will take time for him and Fields to master. The quarterback has to see it in a split second.

Through two games, Fields has completed 15 of 28 passes for 191 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.

St. Brown developed quick chemistry with Fields during training camp. His experience in Luke Getsy’s system made him a natural receiver for Fields to gravitate toward after No. 1 option Darnell Mooney.
The 25-year-old receiver is confident Fields will hit him the next time the mailbox is open.

“Definitely. I think that might’ve been the first situation we’ve had all camp, OTAs, where that happened,” St. Brown said. “We talked about that. But I think that’s the first time that happened in an actual situation, practice or game. So, I think moving forward, things like that we’ll connect on.”

The Bears’ passing game has been abysmal through two weeks. It was fair to chalk Week 1 up to the conditions, but it didn’t get better Sunday in Green Bay. It looked worse.
 
Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet haven’t gotten involved, Fields hasn’t found a rhythm, and the pass protection has been suboptimal, to be kind.
 
So, when opportunities like St. Brown’s “mailbox” play arise, the Bears need Fields to recognize it and pull the trigger. The Bears can’t afford to let them go to waste.

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