CHICAGO – The Bears return to action Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Neither team has won a game yet. Somebody should pick up their first win, and somebody will likely drop to 0-4.
Head coach Matt Eberflus and quarterback Justin Fields really need a win for the Bears on Sunday. They will be doing it without receiver Chase Claypool, who is not expected to play, despite being healthy.
Shaw Local’s Bears beat writer Sean Hammond is at Soldier Field for Sunday’s matchup. Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @sean_hammond, on Instagram at @bears_reporter and on Threads at @bears_reporter. For all the latest news from Shaw Local, follow @bears_insider on X. Shaw Local Bears analyst Marc Silverman is on X at @WaddleandSilvy.
Below is everything Bears fans need to know ahead of the game. Stay here all game long for live updates, too.
Justin Fields picked off; Broncos win
In a last-ditch effort to go down and tie the game with a field goal, quarterback Justin Fields threw an interception on a pass intended for Cole Kmet. The Broncos knelt out the clock for a win, 31-28, at Soldier Field.
Broncos take lead with a field goal
After the Bears failed to pick up a first down on fourth-and-1, the Broncos quickly drove the other direction. Russell Wilson connected with Marvin Mims for a 48-yard gain on the first play of the possession.
The Broncos were forced to settle for a long field goal try. Kicker Wil Lutz made a 51-yard field goal to give Denver the lead, 31-28, with 1:46 remaining in the game.
Bears stuffed on fourth down
With the game tied, Justin Fields and the Bears offense took over with just under seven minutes remaining in the game. The Bears drove into Broncos territory, despite several early penalties. On third-and-5 at the Broncos’ 22-yard line, the Broncos stuffed running back Khalil Herbert right at the line to gain. The refs marked him short of a first down.
The Bears faked like they were going for it and tried to draw the Broncos offsides. It didn’t work and they called a timeout. But after the timeout, the Bears still went for it and Khalil Herbert came up short.
Fields fumbles, Broncos score
Justin Fields went to throw the football as he ran away from danger late in the fourth quarter, but the Broncos forced a fumble before his throwing motion came forward. Broncos outside linebacker Jonathon Cooper scooped up the fumble and scored a 35-yard touchdown.
The game is tied, 28-28, with 6:55 remaining.
Broncos pull within one score
The Broncos pulled within one possession on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Courtland Sutton. The Broncos drove 66 yards on 10 plays. They converted several key third downs along the way, including the touchdown pass.
The Broncos made it a one-possession game. The Bears still lead, 28-21.
Broncos have life
The Broncos finally woke up and drove 75 yards for a touchdown. They hadn’t scored since the first quarter, and the Bears had scored 28 consecutive points.
Russell Wilson connected with Brandon Johnson (the receiver, not the Chicago mayor) for a 4-yard touchdown pass. The Broncos pulled within two scores, 28-14, with 14 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Justin Fields leads Bears to another TD
The Broncos couldn’t pick up a first down on the first possession after halftime. They were forced to punt back to the Bears.
Justin Fields led the Bears offense 66 yards down field for a touchdown. On the scoring play, he made an athletic move to avoid a sack, then connected with running back Khalil Herbert for a 2-yard touchdown. It marked Fields’ fourth touchdown pass of the game.
Bears lead at halftime, 21-7
Justin Fields threw a Hail Mary toward the end zone, but the pass fell incomplete. The incomplete pass marked Fields’ first incompletion of the game. Fields finished the half 16-for-17 passing for 231 yards with three touchdowns.
The Bears lead, 21-7, at halftime. They totaled 265 yards of offense in the first half.
Flea flicker sparks another touchdown drive
The Bears started their next possession at their own 15-yard line, but that was no problem for Justin Fields and the Bears’ offense. Khalil Herbert broke free for a 24-yard gain on the first play of the possession. Later, Herbert flipped the ball back to Fields on a flea flicker, and Fields connected with Equanimeous St. Brown for a big gain. The Broncos challenged St. Brown’s catch, but the call stood.
Fields later connected with Kmet for his second touchdown of the game. On the scoring play, Fields rolled out to his right and acted as if he were going to run the ball himself, then he pulled up and lofted a 3-yard touchdown pass to Kmet.
The Bears took a two-score lead, 21-7, with 6:08 to go in the second quarter.
Broncos botch kickoff return; Bears make them pay
Broncos kick return man Marvin Mims muffed the catch on a kick return and the Broncos wound up starting their next possession at their own 4-yard line. The Bears’ home crowd was as loud as it has been all afternoon. The Broncos couldn’t get out of their own end. They went three-and-out and were forced to punt.
Bears punt return man Trent Taylor called a fair catch at the 44-yard line, giving the Bears the ball on the positive side of the 50 to start their next possession.
The Bears scored a short while later on a touchdown pass from Justin Fields to Cole Kmet. The Broncos appeared to lose Kmet in coverage and the miscommunication was costly. Fields threw a perfect pass over a leaping defender in order to hit Kmet for a 22-yard touchdown.
DJ Moore taps toes for touchdwon
On their second possession, the Bears faced yet another fourth-and-short. This time they had just one yard to pick up. The Bears ran the tight end sneak play again, with Cole Kmet taking a direct snap and plunging forward for a 1-yard gain. It was enough to pick up the first down.
A short while later, the Bears scored their first touchdown of the game on a 29-yard pass from Justin Fields to receiver DJ Moore. Moore tapped his toes in the corner of the end zone, just barely making it in bounds before his momentum pulled him out. The play was reviewed, but the touchdown stood.
It went down as a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive for the Bears.
Broncos score first
After the Bears punted on their first possession, Denver drove 84 yards and scored a touchdown on an 18-yard pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to running back Jaleel McLaughlin. The Broncos took the first lead of the game, 7-0, with 5:08 remaining in the first quarter.
The Broncos picked up five first downs on the possession and converted on two third-down opportunities.
For the Bears, the starting secondary included safety Elijah Hicks and cornerback Terell Smith. They were starting in place of Eddie Jackson and Jaylon Johnson.
Bears punt on 4th-and-2 near midfield
Bears fans at Soldier Field didn’t love Matt Eberflus’ decision to punt on fourth-and-2 from the 50-yard line on the opening possession of the game.
The Broncos won the coin toss and elected to defer until the second half, so it was Justin Fields and the Bears on the field first. The Bears picked up one first down before their opening drive stalled out at midfield. DJ Moore made a nice play to pick up 13 yards on third-and-15, but the Bears punted the ball away.
Chase Claypool not expected to play
Claypool is not expected to play Sunday, according to multiple reports. Claypool will be a healthy scratch. Receiver Equanimeous St. Brown is expected to play in his place. St. Brown has yet to play this season.
Claypool made headlines Friday when he told members of the media that the Bears were not using him properly. Claypool declined to elaborate much on what his coaches could do to better use his skillset.
“You know, I’ll let them decide that,” Claypool said. “I’m not going to give any pointers. That’s their job to decide, and I’ll just do what they tell me to do.”
What’s not clear is whether the decision to make Claypool inactive on Sunday came before or after his comments. It’s possible he knew already that he would not play Sunday when he made his comments Friday. It’s also possible that the team made him inactive following his comments.
Claypool has repeatedly made headlines since the Bears traded for him nearly a year ago. He has struggled on the field. He has just four catches this season, including one touchdown.
Bears inactives announced
Claypool is officially inactive Sunday. The Bears also made the following players inactive: safety Eddie Jackson, quarterback Nathan Peterman, cornerback Jaylon Johnson and running back D’Onta Foreman.
Jackson missed last week’s game with a foot injury. Johnson exited the loss to Kansas City with a hamstring injury. Neither player practiced at all this week.
With Peterman being inactive, that makes undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent the primary backup for Fields. This is the first time the Bears have made Bagent active. He was the unexpected star of the preseason.
What to expect from Bears vs. Broncos
The Broncos, like the Bears, enter this game with an 0-3 record. Here are five storylines to watch during this game.
The Bears will be without several starters in their secondary, which could be good news for Russell Wilson and the Broncos. The Bears need to find a pass rush, and they need to find it fast. They have just one sack on the season. The best way to bother Wilson is to pressure him.
Silvy says the Bears deserve our scorn. Read his weekly column for Shaw Local here.
For your pregame listening, check out the Shaw Local Bears Insider podcast.
What else did I miss this week?
Here’s everything else that happened at Halas Hall this week.