CHICAGO — One day, Justin Fields will be enough for the Bears to beat the Green Bay Packers. Maybe he’ll even haunt the Packers for decades, just as Aaron Rodgers has haunted Chicago for the better part of two decades.
But Sunday was not that day.
Fields and the Bears took a 16-3 lead over the Packers at Soldier Field, but the offense stalled in the second half as Rodgers and the Packers came back to win 28-19.
Fields’ return breathed life into an understaffed Bears team. A 55-yard touchdown run and passes of 56 and 49 yards electrified the home crowd.
But once again, Fields and the offense were unable to complete a successful game-winning drive when Jaire Alexander’s interception with 2:49 remaining sealed the Bears’ fate.
Here’s the report card for a feel-good effort against the Packers:
Fields called Sunday’s game his “best passing game” of his season.
The 23-year-old quarterback was precise and on time Sunday. He showed good pocket balance and threw early when necessary.
Going into the final series, Fields only had three misses on the day. He hit Equanimeous St. Brown for a 56-yard gain and found N’Keal Harry for 49 on a 50/50 ball from a scramble drill.
This was only the second game this season that Fields has thrown for 200+ yards.
The statistics may not tell the whole picture, but Sunday was a good day for the development of Justin Fields, the quarterback.
The offensive line also deserves praise for a solid day in the office. Fields was pressured for a season-low 22 percent of his rebounds and was not sacked for the first time in his career as a starter.
Fields’ 55-yard TD run will get top billing, as it should. But overall, this was a disappointing running performance against a defense that was gutted on the ground by the Eagles a week ago.
David Montgomery had a decent day on the field, but the Packers held their own against the Bears’ running game.
As the Falcons did two weeks ago, the Packers loaded the net point into read options and forced the ball out of Fields’ hands. Outside of the 55-yard touchdown run, Fields rushed for just 16 yards on five carries. The Packers played zone coverage on 100 percent of the snaps Sunday, keeping all eyes on Fields and limiting his damage in the running game.
The Bears’ run defense has been a problem all season, and the Packers were able to get what they wanted on the ground on Sunday.
AJ Dillon rushed for 93 yards on 18 carries (5.2 yards per carry), and wide receiver Christian Watson’s 46-yard touchdown run iced the game for the Packers.
Other than a few tackles for loss by Jack Sanborn and DeAndre Houston-Carson, there wasn’t much the Bears could do to stop the Packers’ running game.
Before Sunday’s game, the Bears’ secondary looked ripe for the taking, with Eddie Jackson, Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker and Kindle Vildor out with injuries.
But the MASH unit held up relatively well against Rodgers on Sunday.
The Bears held Rodgers to 182 passing yards and only allowed one touchdown pass.
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However, the Bears were unable to turn off the Packers and did not record a sack or QB hit on Rodgers.
It was a valiant effort on the part of a high school junior. But they couldn’t come up with the game-changing play needed to pull off the upset.
What is the report card rule? If we mention special teams, that means something went wrong.
Kicker Cairo Santos missed an extra point and blocked a 40-yard field goal attempt.
It’s not a great day since the kick operation.
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