February 07, 2023


Bears News

Chicago Bears notes: Braxton Jones was hard on himself after blowout loss to Lions

Justin Fields calmed Chase Claypool down after helmet toss

Chicago Bears offensive lineman Teven Jenkins talks to teammate Braxton Jones after the second half against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Detroit.

DETROIT – The game ended and the field flooded with Bears and Lions players shaking hands. Bears rookie left tackle Braxton Jones wasn’t among them. He stayed near the bench for a few moments longer, sitting on a Gatorade bucket, contemplating what had been a tough afternoon.

The Lions blew out the Bears, 41-10, on Sunday and quarterback Justin Fields took seven sacks. At one point, Jones allowed sacks on two out of three plays, quickly ending one Bears’ possession. Jones was far from the only lineman to play a bad game, but the rookie from Southern Utah needed a moment to himself after the final whistle.

“[I was] just kind of reflecting on the game,” Jones said. “I didn’t do so well. Just have to play four quarters, not one quarter. Just thinking about where I went wrong, where I can execute better. Better pad level. Better pass [protection]. Just all that stuff. I’m not going to sit here and think about it too long, but just reflecting a little bit.”

Guard Teven Jenkins, who left the game with a neck injury, went over and said a few words to Jones. Because he suffered an injury in the game, Jenkins was not available for comment, but he no doubt was telling his teammate to pick his head up.

“The entire season we’ve just been setting our jaw and keep on going back to work,” Jones said. “That’s what I’m going to do. There’s not much more you can do but reflect on the film. Go in Monday and put it to bed.”

Nobody expected a rookie fifth-round draft pick from an FCS school to step in and start at left tackle, the most demanding position on the offensive line. But that’s exactly what Jones has done. For much of the season, he has been solid.

There have been mistakes, for sure, but Sunday might have been a low moment for Jones.

“I got beat with my feet in the ground quite a bit,” Jones said. “Just keep my composure, keep going. I’ve got to keep Justin up, it’s plain and simple.”

Fields calms Claypool: Receiver Chase Claypool stepped off the field onto the team’s bench and tossed his helmet to the turf after one second-half possession. Frustrations were boiling over. Fields finished his day with 75 passing yards. Accounting for lost sack yardage, the Bears totaled 30 passing yards as a team.

Claypool, who was playing for the first time since a knee injury sidelined him on Dec. 4, saw just one target and failed to make a catch.

“Yeah, he was frustrated,” Fields said. “He’s a passionate player. He’s passionate about the game. But his emotions, he was just showing his emotions. It’s great to have emotions in the game, but you just have to know how to control it. You can’t let it come out like that. At the end of the day, that’s not helping anybody. That’s not helping the team. Everybody’s frustrated.”

Fields pulled Claypool aside and talked to him for a moment on the bench. He said that Claypool was receptive to what he had to say. Claypool was not available for comment after the game.

“He was like, ‘Yeah, my fault, I’m just frustrated right now,’” Fields said.

Head coach Matt Eberflus said Claypool was on a limited snap count after coming off the knee injury. On paper, he should be the Bears’ top receiver with Darnell Mooney sidelined by an ankle injury. But since coming to Chicago, Claypool has caught just 12 passes for 111 yards.

Fields remains in the game: Even with a 31-point margin, Fields remained in the game until the end. Eberflus said that live reps are too valuable to come by for his young quarterback.

The coaching staff did discuss pulling Fields from the game, but elected to keep him in there.

“In game experience, there’s nothing like it,” Eberflus said. “We’re not going to get that anywhere else.”

With the season lost, nobody would’ve blamed Eberflus from pulling the promising young QB from the game. Fields didn’t have any issue with his coach keeping him in the game.

“I don’t take it for granted any time I get to play,” Fields said. “I’m going to be out there no matter who it’s with. The fact that I know my guys are fighting for me and they know that I’m fighting for them, that’s all the motivation I need.”

Eberflus said he expects Fields to start in the season finale against Minnesota.

Injury updates: In addition to the Jenkins (neck) and Schofield (knee) injuries, cornerback Jaylon Jones and receiver Dante Pettis left the game with concussions.

Pettis was transported to a local hospital as a precautionary measure due to blurred vision, according to Eberflus.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.