3 and Out: Bears self-destruct in loss to Detroit Lions

Bears blow 12-point lead in fourth quarter

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is pressured during the second half against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, in Detroit.

The Bears blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead in a stunning 31-26 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Here’s what you need to know:

Three moments that mattered

1. Collapse: We’ll discuss it more below, but the Bears squandered a golden chance for a divisional road win. The Bears led 26-14 with 4:15 remaining and appeared in control. A short while later, the Lions had their second touchdown of the fourth quarter (a 1-yard rushing TD for David Montgomery) and the lead with 29 seconds left. It’s an ugly loss to spoil what had all the ingredients of an upset win.

2. Collapse, Part II: Following the Lions’ go-ahead score, Lions star rusher Aidan Hutchinson found his way to Justin Fields for a strip sack. The fumble rolled out of the back of the end zone for a gut-wrenching safety and ended any hope of a last-second comeback.

3. Not over yet: With 2:59 remaining in the game, the Lions were not quite finished. Jared Goff launched a 32-yard touchdown to Jameson Williams to pull within 26-21. It set the table for Fields to engineer a potential game-preserving drive. The Bears went three and out.

Three things that worked

1. QB/WR1: Fields, returning from his lengthy injury layoff, looked confident and loose with a healthy mix of RPOs and improv scrambles. He had had reasonable passing windows and was 16-of-23 passing for 169 yards. Fields also rushed for 104 yards and one touchdown. Add in DJ Moore’s seven-catch, 96-yard – plus a pretty clean effort by the offensive line – offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and all involved deserve credit. Until late in the fourth quarter, that is.

2. Turnover battle: The Bears picked off Goff three times and recovered a fumble on a kickoff in the third quarter. The Bears were plus-three in the turnover battle and still lost. That part is certainly disappointing, but the defense displayed overall progress with four turnovers and two sacks.

3. On the money: Fields threw a perfect ball on a 39-yard touchdown to Moore to take a 20-14 lead with 4:41 left in the third quarter. The drive began after recovering a Lions fumble on a kickoff. Fields was able to climb the pocket and avoid the pass rush. From there, it was all touch and timing with Moore. Can’t ask for better.

Three things that didn’t

1. The finish: Following the Lions’ score to pull within 26-21, the Bears needed to sustain a drive to keep the Lions off the field. The drive went: Khalil Herbert for no gain, Herbert for 1 yard and an incompletion on a deep ball to rookie Tyler Scott. On a drive that needed to drain the Lions timeouts and eat clock, the Bears went three-and-out and gave the Lions more than two minutes for a potential late-scoring drive.

2. The finish, part II: Execution and playing sound situational football continues to escape this team. It ultimately lies at the feet of Matt Eberflus, but players cannot escape this, either. The Bears self-destructed.

3. Gotta have it: With 9:23 in the second quarter, Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson dropped a sure-fire interception that could have been six points the other way. Instead, Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs’ touchdown tied it on the the ensuing play.

What’s next?

The Bears visit the Minnesota Vikings for “Monday Night Football” on Nov. 27. Kickoff is at 7:15 p.m.

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.