Justin Fields made his first NFL start today. There are no words to describe how poorly it went. It is impossible to understate how horrible Fields and the rest of the Chicago Bears offense performed against the Cleveland Browns. It is not a referendum on Fields, though. Nor is it a reflection of how bad this Bears roster is. It was a statement game by Matt Nagy. A screaming exclamation to his bosses that he should not have a job.
It's impossible to understand how the Bears could justify keeping Nagy after today. Chicago allowed nine sacks on the day. Nine! Fields finished the day with 68 yards passing while completing only 30 percent of his passes. When taking into account how many yards were lost due to sacks, Nagy's offense mustered all of 47 yards. Less than 50 yards of offense. Across four quarters. The longest play by a long shot was an iffy pass interference penalty that gave them a free 48-yard gain. I mean, look at this
How is that even possible? It shouldn't be! This is an NFL offense featuring a pretty good running back and, if anything, a mobile scrambling quarterback. They should've picked up a few free chunk plays here and there just through athleticism alone. But they didn't. Justin Tucker's game-winning kick against the Lions traveled more yards in three seconds than the Bears gained over 60 minutes of football.
This is all on Nagy. Fields was terrible but Nagy gave him no help. He knew his offensive line was going to be in trouble against a feisty Browns pass rush and refused to adjust. Nagy called all the plays in the playbook he had ready for Andy Dalton, who stays in the pocket unless absolutely necessary. Fields is not that type of player at all and really could have used some of Nagy's noted creativity in play-design to ensure he wasn't left to pray the line would hold up in time every snap. And yet, Nagy did not.
It's inexcusable to put up a performance like this. Nagy should not survive it. All teams have "everything goes wrong" days, but this is way more than that. This was Nagy being too stubborn or too dumb to adjust his gameplan for a different quarterback despite knowing for a week there was a good chance Dalton couldn't go. Either reason is enough to justify his firing.
Fields had a bad day. But for a team coached by a supposed offensive guru, who has been praised for his schemes and play-calling, gaining less than 100 yards of offense is unacceptable. Nagy has to be gone. Now.