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Bears optimistic offense on cusp of clicking


The Bears offense has not performed up to expectations so far this season, but receiver Darnell Mooney is confident that a breakthrough is imminent.

One positive indication came in last Sunday's 24-14 loss to the Packers when the unit manufactured a pair of impressive 80-yard touchdown drives, including one that narrowed Green Bay's lead to 17-14 in the fourth quarter.

"We didn't win, we didn't get what we wanted to get out of it, but you definitely see and definitely understand there's something there," Mooney said. "Things are going to eventually pop, and when it does, it's going to be extremely fun. Right now, it's just trying to get everything on the same page. It's a process, and we'll get there."

The key to improvement on offense is developing consistency. On the Bears' six other possessions against the Packers excluding their two touchdown drives, they failed to score or even advance inside Green Bay's 30-yard line. 

"That's one big difference I'm starting to find out," said rookie quarterback Justin Fields, "is you've got to put drives together rather than just have a good play here, have a good play there. If you have a bad play in college, it's easy to get that yardage you lost the next play, where in the NFL, it's not as easy." 

Fields will make his fifth straight start Sunday when the Bears visit the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in Tampa. The first-round pick has completed 53 of 99 passes for 632 yards with two touchdowns, three interceptions and a 67.4 passer rating. Fields has also rushed for 102 yards and one TD on 26 attempts.

Fields told reporters Wednesday that he feels great about the chemistry that is being created on offense. 

"We are growing every day," he said. "The part that sucks is not being able to win games. As long as we are growing and getting better every day, I think that is the main focus right now. Eventually our growth will pay off at the end. We just hope to win as we continue to grow rather than continue to grow and not win."

Driven to build cohesiveness on offense, Fields and his teammates typically remain on the field after practice to work on correcting mistakes.

"He wants to get reps in on certain things, and if it doesn't work out in practice, the mindset that we have is once we get it to work once, we see it, we'll get it to work in a game," Mooney said. "Some of the things—like maybe a deep ball that didn't work out in practice—we'll get it in after practice."

Head coach Matt Nagy is pleased with the incremental growth that Fields has made so far as a rookie and is confident that he'll continue to progress as he gains more experience. He was particularly impressed with the throws and decisions that Fields made on three straight snaps on the first touchdown drive against the Packers. The plays resulted in completions of 11 yards to Mooney and 20 yards to Allen Robinson II and a 26-yard pass interference penalty on the Packers on a deep throw intended for Marquise Goodwin.

Building on those positive spurts and playing with more consistency will give the Bears the type of offense they've envisioned. Asked what that will ultimately look like, Mooney said: "Just going out there and scoring points when we need to or have to. If there's two minutes on the clock or 30 seconds on the clock, just understanding that we're going to be able to go down there and score, or the other team doesn't want the ball in our hands."

The Bears hit the practice fields at Halas Hall Wednesday ahead of Sunday afternoon's game against the Buccaneers in Tampa.