Another week and another 30 point game for the Bears offense. And another 30-point game for their opponent. The Bears lost another heartbreaker to the Detroit Lions, 31-30. Taking a 24-10 lead into the fourth quarter should have spelled victory for the Bears but the NFL gods had other ideas for the Bears who have now lost three in a row, and six of their last seven. Before the Bears’ bye in Week 14, the Bears get the Falcons next week which is another winnable game, the Jets who are tougher than they seem, and the Packers, who are not tougher than they seem.
If Detroit had a fish on their helmet, you would have thought Week 10 was a replay of the Week 9 game against Miami. The Bears ran wild, the defense let up big plays, especially on third down, and weirdly, again, the Bears’ passing game was the possible culprit of the loss as the Lions’ pick six seemed to turn the tide of the game.
Classic Justin Fields
Fields was responsible for all Bears’ points except for three. He ran for two touchdowns and threw two touchdowns, including a beautiful 50 yarder to Cole Kmet. Fields set some obscure records on Sunday. He is the first quarterback to run for two 60-yard touchdowns in one season. He is the first quarterback to run for more than 120 yards in back-to-back games. He has rushed for more yards than any quarterback in a five-game span (he had 147 more against the Lions). He was almost the first quarterback to have back-to-back 40-point Fantasy games, he ended with 39.38.
As exciting as these games are, and as exciting as he is to watch, his game still needs to come into balance. Fields was 12/20 passing, which is not enough passing and low on efficiency. Four starting quarterbacks have over a 70% completion. Fields completion rate was 60% against the Lions which is slightly higher than his season average 58.9. For the season, Fields is just about last among starting quarterbacks in completion rate. Only Joe Flacco, Cooper Rush, Zach Wilson, Russel Wilson, and Baker Mayfield have lower. Usually, you would be in good company if you were in a list with Russel Wilson, but not this year. Fields threw his first pick in three weeks, and it seemed to provide the Lions the momentum they needed. Most disappointing, Fields, for all his mobility, took two sacks in the last drive of the day, including the last fourth down, to cement the defeat.
But the Bears are scoring offensively at a prolific rate and the entire offense runs through Fields at this point. This loss, and probably the last three losses, aren’t on Fields.
Analyzing the receivers for the Bears is more of a broken record. There were only 12 completions, and the main beneficiaries are Darnell Mooney and Kmet. Kmet had 4 catches with 74 yards with 50 coming on his big touchdown. Kmet added another touchdown which gives him back-to-back games with two touchdowns. Mooney had four catches for 57 yards, 14.25 average, which is great chunk yardage. Four other receivers had a catch with nominal yardage. Fields has not been able to build rapport with Chase Claypool yet, but hopefully they are working on that. Unfortunately, in the battle of the St. Brown brothers, the Lions’ Amon-Ra St. Brown had 10 catches and 119 yards, but the Bears Equanimeous St. Brown had 0 yards on 0 catches with 0 touchdowns.
Run Bears Run
The Bears are the first Super Bowl era team to rush for 225 yards or more in five straight games. The last two games, the majority has been Fields. The Lions game was a little more balanced with David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert getting 9 and 10 attempts respectively. Herbert was more efficient with 57 yards while Montgomery only had 37. Fields had 13 attempts, some were designed, including his 67 yard touchdown run, and some where scrambled. In general, it feels like the Bears just don’t run enough plays. They either score fast or give up the ball fast.
The Bears defense did not force any turnovers and had no tackles for loss. Rookie Jack Sanborn had a great day with 12 tackles and two sacks. Four other bears, including Eddie Jackson had more than five tackles, but giving up 24 points was unrecoverable for the offense. Like the rest of the game, the defense seemed to have a Ground Hog Day of their own.
The Bears are fun. Their games are exciting. Clearly, we won’t see consistent winning until 2023.