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Big Pass Play Chances Require Time

Bears receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was running wide open and Justin Fields missed seeing him but it was the kind of situation players say could change with more time in the new attack.

In case anyone wonders, the Bears are last in the NFL in passing a year after they spent almost all last season last in the league in passing until the final few weeks.

Not that this matters because it's only been two games against teams rated very good in preseason as pass defenders.

This is precisely the point, however, and something that happened to Equanimeous St. Brown in Sunday's loss at Green Bay illustrates it to the tee.

It has only been two games and the Bears need time in their passing game to get it to work.

In the third quarter on third-and-10 from his own 22, Fields dropped and St. Brown was running wide open four or five steps beyond any defender. Fields didn't see him, but then again, this wasn't the route St. Brown was supposed to run when he came to the line of scrimmage.

"I was supposed to run a curl route, but I beat the DB so bad that I just threw my hand up and turned into a go route," St. Brown said.

So instead of running as shorter route, it became St. Brown throwing his hand up and running straight upfield without being seen. He "converted" the route.

"When we throw a hand up, we call it 'mailbox,' " St. Brown said. "So if you're not gonna run your route and you're gonna run the go route, throw your hand up so the quarterback knows you're gonna run a go route and not the actual route you were gonna run."

The adjustment is rather uncommon.

"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."

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They need more time working this passing attack to start capitalizing on converted routes.

"I think we have a lot of good playmakers in our receiver room," St. Brown said. "We have a great quarterback. It's only our second game with this new system, and I think as we go into the season, we'll heat up more."

Time in the system will make options more obvious to all.

"Yesterday, it is what it is, they're a good team," St. Brown said. "But we're gonna come out and make adjustments like every other team, win or lose, and we're gonna come back better."

They did run the ball, gaining 180 yards even while Fields threw for only 70.

"Obviously we're two games into a new offense, so you can certainly understand that hey, the rhythm and the timing of it is going to improve every single week," coach Matt Eberflus said.

The method to this madness is the Bears actually established something on offense. They showed they could run it, and now defenses will need to respect the run more.

In theory, this can lead to play-action passing downfield more often and a greater number of completions with more yardage.

"Yeah, that's what you do it for," Eberflus said. "You're going to open up those lanes and we see it all over the league. When a team is able to run the ball, it certainly opens up the passing lanes for sure."

All they need to hope then is Fields sees the hand going up in the future with receivers heading downfield on a go route.

It can mean more big pass plays, and ultimately they won't have to see their name at the bottom of the NFL passing yards list.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven