Justin Fields: Pass to Chase Claypool was ‘definitely’ pass interference

Chase Claypool caught two passes in his Bears debut. But what he’ll remember most is an incomplete pass.

SHARE Justin Fields: Pass to Chase Claypool was ‘definitely’ pass interference
Bears receiver Chase Claypool looks for a pass interference flag in the fourth quarter Sunday.

Bears receiver Chase Claypool looks for a pass interference flag in the fourth quarter Sunday.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

By PATRICK FINLEY, staff reporter

pfinley@suntimes.com | @patrickfinley

Chase Claypool caught two passes in his Bears debut Sunday. But what he’ll remember most is an incomplete pass.

On third-and-10 with 1:35 left and the Bears down 35-32, quarterback Justin Fields lofted a pass down the left sideline. About 35 yards downfield, Dolphins cornerback Keion Crossen had both arms wrapped around Claypool’s midsection and pulled him backward while the receiver tried to jump. Safety Jevon Holland hit the receiver soon afterward, and the ball fell to the ground.

Claypool, for whom the Bears traded a second-round pick Tuesday, looked for a pass-interference flag that never came.

“I felt like I was getting pulled back a little bit,” said Claypool, who caught two passes for 13 yards on six targets, including a pass-interference call in the first quarter that gained 28 yards. “But still got to try to fight through that and get that because you can’t count on someone else. I have to count on myself.”

Claypool thought it was “for sure” pass -interference, based on a similar flag given Bears safety Eddie Jackson earlier in the fourth quarter.

“I wasn’t sure during the play,” Fields said. “After I saw it on the [replay] board, it was definitely P.I., for sure. Just missed it. Can’t do anything about it. Just have to move onto the next play.”

Had Claypool gotten the flag, the Bears would have had first down at the Dolphins’ 23 — in field-goal range to at least tie the game.

Claypool did not get an explanation for the non-call because he was more worried about the next play. The Bears turned the ball over on fourth-and-10 when Equanimeous St. Brown dropped a pass.

The Bears were frustrated earlier in the quarter when quarterback Tua Tagovailoa rolled right and heaved a pass deep to Jaylen Waddle. Jackson sprinted to try to intercept the ball and was flagged for a 47-yard pass-interference penalty.

“From my vantage point, it looked like it was a clean play,” coach Matt Eberflus said.

Jackson said an official told him he wasn’t playing the ball.

“I didn’t look at the receiver one time,” he said. “So I don’t know what he’d seen, but I was playing the ball the whole time. Even the guys on the Dolphins’ sideline told me that was a horrible call.”

Rookie safety Jaquan Brisker couldn’t believe the calls — and non-calls.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “The way certain calls were being called, they have to hold certain people accountable.”

Two TE TDs

Tight end Cole Kmet had two touchdown catches in his first 39 games — and now has three in the last two. He caught an 18-yarder from Fields in the second quarter and a four-yarder in the fourth.

Kmet finished with 41 receiving yards on a season-high five catches. But he wasn’t ready to make any grand statements about the offense.

“We didn’t win,” he said. “If we’re winning these games consistently and you’re in two-minute situations — obviously, despite some of the calls, whatever — and you’re able to score and win these games, that’s when you can say you’re there.”

The Latest
Homewood-Flossmoor and Curie have been the two best teams in the state for the entire season. The highly-anticipated matchup brought a large crowd to UIC and the teams did not disappoint.
The versatile forward has been sidelined since the All-Star break with a sprained right knee, but he showed significant signs Monday of returning sooner than later.
Driver Anastasios Adamopoulos and a passenger hopped off his bus about 2 a.m. Monday and woke residents in two homes that were on fire. “The flames were reaching for the heavens.”
GM Ryan Poles originally tried to acquire Bates as an unrestricted free agent two years ago, but the Bills matched the Bears’ offer sheet.