With Justin Fields sidelined by a rib injury, Andy Dalton threw a potential game-winning touchdown pass, but the Bears gave up the game-winning score with 22 seconds left and lost, 16-13, to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at Soldier Field. Here’s what you need to know:
Three moments that mattered
1. Boo Birds: Dalton was sacked to end the game, and the Bears left Soldier Field with their fifth consecutive loss. It was their second consecutive game where the offense improbably came back to give them the lead only for the defense to find another way to lose. With the Bears falling to 3-7, their playoff chances are on life support. Public support for Matt Nagy’s job status might be as well.
2. Mr. Fourth Down: The Bears faced fourth-and-6 with 1:48 left when left Jason Peters committed a false start. On the following play, Andy Dalton hit Marquise Goodwin for a 49-yard touchdown to give the Bears the 13-9 lead with 1:41 remaining. The two-point conversion was missed. Make no mistake, it might have been the touchdown to save the Bears’ season – if not for their defense – and it came from their backup QB.
3. Dalton Time: On the Bears’ opening possession of the second half, Fields scrambled and suffered a rib injury on the tackle. After being evaluated on the sideline, Fields went into the locker room. Dalton, the former starter, entered the game down 6-0 with 8:46 left in the third quarter. It was his first regular season action since suffering a knee injury in September. The severity of Fields’ injury was not immediately known.
Three things that worked
1. Lights out: Roquan Smith finished the first half with 12 tackles – 10 solo – which became the highest for a half in his career. While the defense is suffering through multiple key injuries to Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks, Smith just brought his A-game on Sunday. Smith finished with 17 tackles.
2. Pass-rush party: Without Lamar Jackson to worry about, the Bears were able to tee-off on Tyler Huntley. Robert Quinn finished with 3.5 sacks to highlight the Bears’ six-sack afternoon. Regardless of the opposing quarterback, that’s an impressive feat without some of their top pieces.
3. Goodwin: The veteran wideout hasn’t brought much to the offense this year as a speed threat, but it definitely paid off on the 49-yard go-ahead touchdown. With Allen Robinson sidelined, someone besides Darnell Mooney needed to make a play. Goodwin did.
Three things that didn’t
1. Finish: For the second consecutive game, the Bears found a way to lose a game they should’ve won. On the crucial defensive series to close the game, the Bears were tagged with a pass interference call on a play where Deon Bush should’ve had an interception. They then gave up a 30-yard catch to Sammy Watkins on busted coverage and Devonta Freeman scored the ultimate game-winning touchdown.
2. Paging Bill Lazor and Nagy: Can we just write ‘the entire first half offense’? The Bears were held scoreless at the half, no running back or tight end had a catch until the middle of the third quarter and even Fields was, at best, just OK, with a 4-for-11, 79-yard output before the injury.
3. Wildcat: On a fourth-and-1 at their own-49, the Bears opted to run the Wildcat with David Montgomery that was stuffed. A holding penalty would have wiped it out regardless. We agree with the decision to go for it, but also have to question whether that was truly the best play call for a must-get 1 yard. The play before, Dalton just missed hitting Mooney in-bounds on a pass downfield.
The Bears visit the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Kickoff is at 11:30 a.m. The Bears defeated the Lions, 24-14, in their first matchup of the season on Oct. 3.