‘An unwanted feeling’: Bears melt down in 41-10 loss to Lions

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields puts on his helmet during the second half  against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Detroit.

DETROIT – There has been two silver linings in what has been a terrible season for the Bears. The first was that quarterback Justin Fields has played well. The second was that this young football team kept finding ways to keep games close, even if it wasn’t winning them.

On Sunday in Detroit, neither of those things happened.

The Lions blew through the Bears, 41-10, at Ford Field, and Fields had one of the worst passing performances of his career. The Bears scored first and Fields piled up 100 rushing yards in the first quarter, but the positive vibes ended there.

The Bears could’ve chalked up last week’s beating by the Buffalo Bills to the combination of the weather and a high-level opponent. The Lions, while in the playoff hunt, are a team the Bears should’ve been able to hang with. They lost to Detroit by one point earlier in the season. Statistically, the Lions defense is the worst in the league in yards and points (although it has played better in recent weeks).

This was supposed to be one of the winnable games on the schedule, a chance to end an eight-game losing streak.

Instead, the Bears rolled over. They looked like a football team ready for a January vacation. With one more game next week against the Vikings at Soldier Field, this season will – mercifully – come to an end. The Bears lost their ninth in a row, a franchise record.

Fields spent much of the game running for his life in the pocket and trying to find open receivers where there were none. The offensive line struggled mightily, and it wasn’t just because starting right guard Teven Jenkins (neck) and backup Michael Schofield (knee) both left the game with injuries.

Fields was sacked seven times. He finished his day 7-for-21 passing for 75 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception.

“I mean, it’s simple: You learn from the mistakes and you get better from it,” Fields said after the game. “I’m not the type of person to be like, ‘Oh, this and that.’ I’m just not that type of person, mentally, spiritually. I’ve been through tough times before. So my only response is to keep working, keep getting better, keep learning and keep growing.”

Fields took some of the blame for the sacks, noting that he was trying to do too much on first down. His depleted receiving corps provided little help. Chase Claypool, who was returning from a knee injury, was on a limited snap count.

The defense, meanwhile, had no chance against the Lions. The Bears allowed 504 total yards of offense. Lions quarterback Jared Goff threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Jamaal Williams rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.

Five hundred yards?

“Gotta change it,” cornerback Kyler Gordon said.

Gordon and safety DeAndre Houston-Carson had a shot at an interception on fourth down in the end zone early in the game. Instead, Gordon was called for pass interference. The Lions turned the penalty into their first touchdown of the game. It was the first of many.

“It’s an unwanted feeling,” Gordon said after the game. “Obviously, everyone wants to do better. We’re going to get there eventually.”

With a loss next week against Minnesota, the Bears could potentially go 0-6 against their NFC North division foes. The Bears have done that only once (2017) since the NFL went to four-team divisions in 2002.

The Bears are 3-13 and tied their franchise record for losses. In 2016, they went 3-13. In 1969, they went 1-13 back when the league played only 14 games. It has been a historic losing season that has never really felt like a historically bad season because of Fields’ promise and because the team lost seven one-possession games.

Sunday, however, was a much different feeling.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.