DETROIT — Justin Fields is back. After the Chicago Bears won their Super Bowl last Thursday night at Soldier Field, defeating the Carolina Panthers in attempting to secure the #1 pick, Fields returned today to take over as the Bears’ starting QB.
Seven games remaining to showcase why he should be the QB of the future. That, too, against the NFC North leaders in their house. Generally, games against elite teams have not gone well this season.
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This stretch, beginning today, was big for both Fields and Matt Eberflus. And in their first attempt, the Bears melted down in an all-time loss to the Lions.
Thoughts and Observations
1. The opening drive was absolutely perfect. Luke Getsy got Justin Fields on the move and got him comfortable. Fields showcased some good zip and accuracy on the throws he made. And they really stayed ahead of the chains all drive long. D’Onta Foreman finished the drive with a touchdown run. That’s a good way to make an opening statement.
2. Tyrique Stevenson has improved steadily this season. After being consistently picked on, he’s starting to showcase his man coverage skills. And today, he finally got his first career INT. A beautiful catch on an off-target bullet from Jared Goff, who was under pressure. The Bears need more of those kinds of impact plays.
3. Fields absolutely has to hit that open TD to DJ Moore. He had a step on the CB and the pocket was immaculate. Fields just overshot him … significantly. Could be related to his thumb, but I mean, if you’re cleared to play, you’re cleared to play. Deep ball is supposed to be his strength. Gotta have those in a game where you may only get so many opportunities.
The good news is Jared Goff still isn’t out of his rut… he threw another INT, this time to TJ Edwards. Edwards has been a terrific signing. And that came after a long PI on Jaylon Johnson (seemed like a weak call) that flipped field position. Huge play.
4. Well, Tyler Scott gave it right back on a fumble. And when the Lions got to first and goal, Jaylon Johnson dropped a sure-fire pick-six. He jumped the route and had open turf…and just dropped it. A play later, Detroit tied things at 7. If you’re gonna pull off an upset, you just can’t do that.
5. DJ Moore is awesome. Just awesome. Nice drive by the Bears here before halftime, converting several big downs, including a 4th and 1 near the Lions’ 30. Fields took some hits on that drive but kept the chains moving. He got away with a floater near the left sideline that Brian Branch almost hauled in. But Chicago survived and kicked a field goal to go up 10-7. Bears are hanging in there. In fact, from this first half, I have this observation to make:
6. Matt Eberflus just pulled a Matt Eberflus to close the first half: playing prevent defense the entire way down the field as the Lions went 75 yards in under two minutes. Detroit had 3rd and goal from the 7 with 16 ticks left and no timeouts, and Goff threw a bullet low to Amon-Ra St. Brown, who picked it above the turf. 14-10 Lions at halftime. That’s just a terrible, terrible way to go into halftime, as Detroit gets the ball to start the second half.
7. Good job by the defense coming out of halftime. Jaquan Brisker may be lost at times, but Jack Sanborn isn’t. A well-timed blitz on third down forced a punt. Huge after Detroit scored a back-breaker before halftime.
Also, Sanborn… he’s continued to look great while out there. I still don’t fully understand why the Bears felt the need to pay Tremaine Edmunds.
8. Interesting turn of events here. After a good drive stalled out with some rough communication with Dan Feeney (FG made it 14-13 Detroit), the Bears caused a fumble on the kickoff. A good KR was thwarted by Tyrique Stevenson forcing a fumble (great game from him). The Bears then took advantage finally when Justin Fields threw an absolute beauty to DJ Moore, in stride, for a 38-yard touchdown. He hit the throw he missed in the first quarter. Almost a replica in terms of route / step that Moore had. That was a beauty. Bears up 20-14 with about 4:40 left in the third quarter.
9. Remember #7 up there? Scratch that. Tremaine Edmunds picked off a throw directly to him on third down from Jared Goff. Another huge turnover and the Bears are right back in Lions territory. Bears are +3 to this point in the TO department. Goff’s third pick.
Key note there upon closer review: Gervon Dexter tipped the ball ever so slightly. Great play by the rookie.
10. Montez Sweat has been absolutely on fire since he came to Chicago. And he finally gets rewarded. A BIG sack after Chicago went up 23-14 to start the Lions off on their back foot. It led to an immediate three-and-out. Bears’ DL was outstanding on that drive — the third down throw almost forced Goff into another pick. Defense has been very good today.
11. A sensational drive by Justin Fields, the offensive line and the Bears’ running backs. They took over with over 13 minutes left on the clock and kicked a field goal to make it 26-14 with 4:15 left on the clock. Just a life-drainer. Bully ball. You name it. It was beautiful and EXACTLY what both the offense and defense needed.
A joy to watch.
12. WELL… the Lions just scored in about a minute. Some awful tackling and coverage options let the Lions score to make it 26-21 with 3 minutes left and the Lions having all three timeouts. This one isn’t over…
13. Oh my god. Tyler Scott slowed down a tick on a 3rd and 9 bomb from Fields and it fell incomplete. He had the defender beat and I think if he stayed running… that’s game. Just brutal. Brutal, brutal, brutal way to likely lose this game.
14. This is going to be one of the worst losses in recent memory. David Montgomery appropriately takes it in for the Lions with 29 seconds left and the Lions are up 29-26. Just an unbelievable failure.
Matt Eberflus… not sure how you went from getting the best win of your career to one of the worst likely losses, but…
15. Aidan Hutchinson strips Justin Fields on first down and the ball rolls all the way back for a safety. Lions will win. I don’t have words, man.
Up 12 with 4:15 left and they lose. Just stunning.
16. The Bears are back in prime time next Monday night — taking on the Josh Dobbs sensation in Minnesota. The Vikings are playing very good football right now. And after that collapse today? No chance.
Early prediction: Vikings 29, Bears 20.