3 and Out: Chicago Bears sputter after quick start in Sunday night loss to Green Bay Packers

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is hit by Green Bay Packers linebacker Preston Smith after throwing a pass during the first half, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Green Bay, Wis.

The Bears started with a brief first-quarter lead, but the Packers’ run game and a critical defensive stop late in the fourth quarter doomed Justin Fields and the Bears in a 27-10 loss Sunday night at Lambeau Field.

Three moments that mattered

1. Shotgun-and-1: With 6:25 left in the fourth quarter and the Bears at the Packers’ 1-yard-line on fourth-and-goal, Fields lined up in shotgun and was initially ruled short by inches on a run up the middle. Head coach Matt Eberflus challenged the spot, but the ruling on the field stood, and the Bears came away with no points, trailing 24-10.

2. Fun while it lasted: The Bears had a terrific opening drive that resulted in a touchdown and finished the first quarter up 7-3, but the Packers carved them up on both sides of the ball for the next 15 minutes. The result: 233-84 in total yards, 17-4 in first downs, 9-1 passing first downs and 21 unanswered points – all favoring Green Bay at the half.

3. Sign of life: Following an AJ Dillon fumble, the Bears’ offense picked up two first downs – one being their first first down since the opening drive of the game – en route to a 44-yard field goal by Cairo Santos to make it 24-10 Green Bay with 5:11 left in the third quarter. The offense was just never consistent.

Three things that worked

1. Run the rock: After a quiet opening week for running back David Montgomery, he surpassed his Week 1 rushing total by the end of the first quarter. He gave the offense the only genuine spark it had all evening. Montgomery finished with 122 yards and Khalil Herbert added 38.

2. Paving the way: Doubling down on the Bears’ rushing success, the Bears’ offensive line deserves a spot of its own here for the performance. In the run game alone, the Bears averaged almost 7 yards per carry. Left tackle Braxton Jones has looked excellent through two weeks.

3. Gipson gets home: Trevis Gipson is clearly going to be a critical piece in the pass rush, and he did his part during the first half with two sacks on Rodgers. A lot of spotlight initially goes to Robert Quinn – with good reason – after last year’s revival and franchise sack record, but Gipson can be just as lethal.

Three things that didn’t

1. Luke Getsy: Anything could’ve happened, but why the Bears’ first-year offensive coordinator thought lining up Fields in shotgun with the ball at the Packers’ 1-yard line and needing a touchdown late in the fourth quarter was the best decision is a mystery. One could argue having Fields sneak under center, a Montgomery dive or even a defensive lineman pulling a William “Fridge” Perry had a better chance at success at such a critical moment.

2. Running wild: After a promising first defensive series to limit the Packers to 10 yards on five carries, the running lanes widened, and missed tackles piled up for the Bears. The Packers had 92 rushing yards at the half with Aaron Jones and Dillon splitting carries. It continued into the second half and they finished with a combined 193 yards.

3. Oh Kmet, where art thou? Cole Kmet came out of Notre Dame three years ago with deserved fanfare as a top tight end prospect, but if he’s going to start becoming a key read for Fields moving forward, he’s going to need to make himself a remote threat in the passing game. In each of the first two weeks, he had no catches on one target. He’ll be heading to Week 3 still without a single catch. He also had a bad drop Sunday.

What’s next?

The Bears host former head coach Lovie Smith and the Houston Texans at Soldier Field at noon Sunday.

Jacob Bartelson

Jacob Bartelson

Jake is a full-time sports reporter writing primarily for the Kane County Chronicle covering preps. His collective work is featured across several Shaw markets and platforms, including Friday Night Drive and Bears Insider. Jake began full-time in 2017.