3 and Out: Justin Fields, Chicago Bears surprise New Englands Patriots on national TV

Chicago Bears running back Khalil Herbert celebrates his touchdown against the New England Patriots during the first half, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass.

Justin Fields led five consecutive scoring drives and Bears outplayed the New England Patriots 33-14 in front of a national television audience Monday night. Here’s what you need to know:

Three moments that mattered

1. Ball game: Linebacker Roquan Smith intercepted a tipped pass from Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe from with 7:50 left in the fourth quarter to cap on a dominating effort. Cornerback Kyler Gordon later had another interception late. In front of a national audience, the Bears looked far more ready to play than coach Bill Belichick’s team – a rare sentence to be typed.

2. On a roll: With 12:13 left in the fourth quarter, running back David Montgomery capped off another scoring drive with a 1-yard touchdown to make it 33-14. The touchdown was the Bears’ fifth straight offensive possession that ended in points following a Fields’ interception.

3. Momentum swing: The Bears’ hot start was doused by mid second quarter with the Patriots taking the 14-10 lead, but Fields responded with a 25-yard pass touchdown to running back Khalil Herbert with under two minutes left. The ensuing Patriots possession, the Bears recovered a fumble. It eventually led to a Cairo Santos field goal to lead the Bears into the half 20-14.

Three things that worked

1. Group effort: From head coach Matt Eberflus, offensive coordinator’s Luke Getsy’s game plan, Fields and a defense that held New England to no points in the second half and forced multiple turnovers, we have to extend credit all around. A victory in Foxboro wasn’t very likely entering, but the Bears played a full array of clean football and deserved to win. That’s a signature win in Eberflus’ first year.

2. Improv: Fields’ athleticism and scrambles saved a number of offensive drives from going backwards or stalling on third-and-long. Getsy also inserted a number of designed runs to get Fields into space. While Fields still has obvious room to grow as a passer, his scramble instincts and awareness as a runner continue to be pluses in the evaluation column. Fields had 83 rushing yards.

3. Third-down conversions: With five minutes left in the third quarter, Fields alone had already converted five third downs with either his legs or on a pass. The Bears finished 11 of 17 on the night. It was clearly a bright spot for a team that has struggled to sustain drives all season.

Three things that didn’t

1. Lucas Patrick: By no means are we faulting him for injuries. The Bears’ newly-shuffled starting offensive line got all of roughly 13 minutes of action, so it’s difficult to get a proper evaluation on arguably their prized offseason signing at center when he’s not on the field. After a training camp thumb injury, Patrick has shuffled in and out of the lineup at guard. In his first Bears start at center on Monday, Patrick eventually left with a toe injury.

2. Coming along: This is very much nit-picking, a byproduct of so many producing and the score, but the Bears will want more looks for wideout N’Keal Harry. Harry, off of injury, had one catch for 25 yards. That’s a connection they’ll want to heat up in time, but again, it is small in the grand scope of Monday night.

3. Ball security: This is been an area of concern for Fields all season, and he did have four fumbles in the win. None of them were recovered by the defense, but that’s one area of play that can swing a game in a hurry. Again, he played perhaps his best game of the season overall, but those moments need to be cleaned up.

What’s next?

The Bears remain on the road and visit the Dallas Cowboys 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.