The combination of a new play-caller and opposing uniforms that didn’t have Cleveland Browns in them gave a huge boost to the Chicago Bears and its rookie QB Justine Fields Sunday afternoon on the lakefront.
In easily their best performance of the young season, the Bears beat the visiting Detroit Lions 24-14 in front of 61,000 desperate fans at Soldier Field.
The fans were desperate to know whether their dream of finally obtaining the elusive “franchise quarterback” had come true in the person of Fields, or was simply another chimera in a long line of bitter hallucinations stretching back decades.
Based on Sunday’s performance, fans were cautiously reassured.
The Bears came right out of the gate with a combination of an effective running game, crisp, efficient passing by Fields, and a creativity in play-calling that has been sorely missing all season.
Heck, the Bears even went deep a few times! Successfully, even!!
Statistically, Fields’ performance wasn’t overwhelming. He went 11 for 17 for a modest 209 yards, with no TDs and 1 interception (on a tipped ball).
But his play was perfect within the overall game plan overseen by offensive coordinator Bill Lazor who, finally, took over play-calling duties from head coach Matt Nagy.
The Bears’ attack was nothing if not balanced, with the running game producing 188 yards on the ground, led by halfback David Montgomery who left the game late with an undetermined knee injury. The Bears reported that post-game tests did not indicate the presence of a serious injury.
The Bears defense played a fairly typical game of bend-don’t-break, with Detroit getting inside the Bears’ 10 yard-line twice in their first two possessions. Fortunately for the Bears, Detroit fizzled both times, turning the ball over via a bungled snap and then on downs. Overall, however, the defense did its part while the offense took center stage.
Life doesn’t get any easier for the Beloved, as they travel to the undefeated Los Vegas Raiders and defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the next three weeks, with a home game against the hated Packers squuezed in-between.
But on Sunday afternoon after the game, such challenges were merely puffs of clouds on the distant horizon. For one happy afternoon, the Bears had their franchise quarterback.