3 and Out: Bears defense, Justin Fields close out Lions

Chicago Bears linebacker T.J. Edwards (left) and Chicago Bears defensive end Montez Sweat celebrate after stopping the Detroit Lions on 4th and 1 late in the game Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

CHICAGO – The Bears built a 15-point fourth-quarter lead, and the defense shut out the Lions in the second half in a 28-13 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Here’s what you need to know:

Three moments that mattered

1. Finished them: Protecting a two-score lead, the Bears’ defense effectively closed out the Lions with just under three minutes remaining. Lions quarterback Jared Goff was sacked twice on the drive and intercepted by linebacker Tremaine Edmunds to cap a dominant second half by the defense.

2. Rolling momentum: With a minute left in the third quarter, a botched snap from Lions center Graham Glasgow was recovered by linebacker T.J. Edwards to set up the Bears inside Detroit territory. It led to an 11-yard Justin Fields rushing score. The two-point conversion failed, but Fields’ touchdown helped build a 25-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.

3. Moore of that: Tied at 13 and on the edge of field-goal range with 1:36 remaining in the third quarter, the Bears opted to keep their offense on the field on fourth-and-12. Fields used a hard count to catch the Lions offside for a free play, and he made it count with a 38-yard strike to DJ Moore for the go-ahead score.

Three things that worked

1. Bear down: The Bears’ defense gave up 13 unanswered points to close the first half but turned in a fantastic second-half effort. The Bears kept Detroit off the scoreboard entirely and forced three punts, a fumble and two consecutive turnover on downs. The Bears won the turnover battle, sacked Goff four times and won time of possession 31:19 to 26:41. This time, the defense finished.

2. JF1: As with any start, Fields demonstrated all the areas that he continues to excel: Houdini-like scrambles and the beautiful TD pass to Moore. Yes, Fields missed some throws downfield, but 223 passing yards, 59 rushing yards and no turnovers is the type of performance that bodes well for him in a critical stretch of his Bears career.

3. Hot start: Moore capped the game’s opening drive with a 16-yard rushing TD out of the Wildcat with Fields lined up wide. The presnap look garnered some skepticism but the creativeness by offensive coordinator Luke Getsy paid off. Left tackle Braxton Jones deserves credit for the downfield block.

Three things that didn’t

1. Find the end zone: The Bears had first-and-goal at Detroit’s 7-yard line on their first second-half possession. A Khalil Herbert rush went nowhere, and Fields was forced into two incompletions. The Bears settled for a field goal to tie it at 13. Better execution in the red zone is a must.

2. Stuffed: With the 10-0 lead and plenty of momentum for the Bears, Detroit adjusted to keeping Fields in the pocket and applying more pressure. The result was three drives that ended on a turnover on downs, a punt and sack to end the half. The Bears generated 35 total yards on those drives, Fields was sacked twice and had only 3 rushing yards in the second quarter after 47 in the first. The Lions, meanwhile, built a three-point halftime lead.

3. Better next time: It proved inconsequential, but Moore didn’t have a catch or target in the first half. It’s nit-picky, but it’s strange to see a 1,000-yard receiver without a target through two quarters.

What’s next?

The Bears travel to Cleveland for a matchup with the Browns. Kickoff is at noon Sunday.

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.