Justin Fields was again magnificent on the ground, but the Bears defense gave up late scores to sour the mood Sunday in a 31-30 loss to the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Here’s what you need to know:
Three moments that mattered
1. Ball game: On fourth-and-8 from the Bears’ 32-yard line, Fields was sacked by Julian Okwara with under a minute left to seal Detroit’s win. It was a disappointing end to another big game from Fields, who nearly escaped the sack at least twice.
2. JF1: On a crucial third-and-2, Fields scrambled for a 67-yard touchdown to make it 30-24 Bears with 9:11 left. It quickly erased memories of the pick-six he tossed just minutes prior. Cairo Santos missed the extra point, his first since Week 1, a point the Bears would still be chasing on their final drive.
3. Right back in it: Lions running back De’Andre Swift had a 9-yard touchdown run to make it 24-17 Bears. It came after rookie linebacker Jack Sanborn’s interception was wiped out due to by Jaylon Johnson’s hands-to-the-face penalty, which, to be honest, was a questionable call. Fields then threw the pick-six to Jeff Okudah on the ensuing drive to make it 24-all with 10:29 left.
Three things that worked
1. Have a day: Sanborn made his second career start and delivered a beauty: The Lake Zurich product had two sacks and a team-high 12 combined tackles. Sanborn also had an interception before a penalty wiped it out.
2. Safety valve: Cole Kmet is solidifying himself as a consistent safety blanket for Fields. Kmet had two touchdowns last week and pulled down two more in the second half Sunday. Pair the production with his run blocking, and Kmet is turning a corner after a slow start to the year. Kmet finished with four catches for 74 yards.
3. Run the rock: It’s a staple of this team, but the league’s No. 1 rushing offense ran the football effectively again. By halftime, they managed 128 rushing yards and Fields had 69 of those. The Bears finished with 258 total. On Fields’ first rushing score of the day, he became the first quarterback in the modern Super Bowl era to to rush for a touchdown in four consecutive games, per Bears PR.
Three things that didn’t
1. Spotty finish: The Bears allowed 21 points in the final 10 minutes and gave up several big yardage catches in that span. The Bears had a number of leads and couldn’t hold them.
2. Penalties, man: While the validity of some of the penalties assessed can be up for debate, the Bears were tagged with nine penalties for 86 yards. Those mistakes keep struggling teams in games. The Lions cashed in those chips.
3. Can’t do that: Fields is quickly ascending as a quarterback, but despite the relatively smooth sailing, his interception to Okudah is a costly mistake he shouldn’t have thrown. It resulted in a tie game at 24-all when they had a 14-point lead at one point.
The Bears visit the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Kickoff is at noon.