For the first time under head coach Matt Eberflus, the Chicago Bears have a winning streak going.
They still sit at 5-8 and have a lot of ground to catch up, but the Bears are officially back in the playoff hunt after upsetting the Detroit Lions in a 28-13 victory at Soldier Field. After having blown a two-score lead to them a few weeks ago in Detroit, this win was a sign the Bears are starting to turn things around.
Here are some of the takeaways from Sunday’s win.
Luke Getsy wasn’t great in the play calls he made on Sunday, but the Bears’ offense was still able to do well enough to help them come away with the win.
The run game was effective for Chicago, as they carried the ball a total of 30 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns. They properly utilized Justin Fields’ rushing ability, as he ran the ball 10 times for 60 yards and a touchdown (excluding his two kneels in victory formation). D’Onta Foreman was the bell-cow back, carrying the ball 11 times to Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson’s three and one carries, respectively. He tallied 50 yards on the ground on that tally.
Fields had some ups and downs through the air. He finished 19-for-33 (57.6%) for 223 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. He made some questionable decisions solely in terms of not hitting open receivers deeper down the field. However, he made a handful of impressive throws, including his 38-yard touchdown throw to DJ Moore and his well-placed out route to Darnell Mooney on his 28-yard gain. Moore was his typical fantastic self, finishing with 6 catches for 68 yards and the receiving touchdown, along with a 16-yard rushing touchdown. His ability in contested situations was put on full display, and his athleticism helped him separate from defensive backs.
His pocket awareness looked improved, matching his athleticism with vision against pressure to avoid defenders. There were a few instances he had to run for his life, as the offensive line wasn’t particularly fantastic for Fields on Sunday, but they played a cleaner game from a penalty perspective.
The Bears were ultimately carried by their defense to an extent, but the offense had enough converted opportunities to give them the win. Most importantly, Fields didn’t have a bad game.
The Bears continue to have Jared Goff’s number.
Goff went just 20-for-35 (57.1%) for 161 passing yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He was sacked four times and hit 9 times, with 7 of his 15 incompletions having been broken up or intercepted by Bears defenders. Detroit’s dynamic duo of Amon-Ra St. Brown and Sam LaPorta combined for just 5 catches and 44 yards on a combined 15 targets. Chicago’s secondary was impressive, shutting down one of the better passing attacks in the NFL.
The Bears’ run defense wasn’t as good, with Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery rushing for 6.0 and 6.6 yards per carry, respectively. However, Detroit’s pass-first approach doomed them, as did their 8 penalties and 3 turnovers.
Among Chicago’s top performers was Jaquan Brisker, who finished with 17 tackles and two pass deflections. He dominated at strong safety, playing with impressive effort and play recognition to dominate all over the field. The likes of Tyrique Stevenson and Jaylon Johnson, the latter of whom having intercepted his fourth pass of the 2023 season, held up well along the perimeter.
The Bears’ pass rush was next level and was arguably the biggest reason they won the game. Montez Sweat led the way with a sack, 5 tackles, a pass deflection and a whopping 4 quarterback hits. His presence helped the Bears dominate up front against a very good Lions offensive line, opening opportunities for other teammates. Justin Jones had 1.5 sacks, Yannick Ngakoue had a sack, and Gervon Dexter had a half-sack of his own.
The addition of Sweat has been incredibly beneficial to the Bears’ defensive line, both against the pass and the run. Matt Eberflus has shown better utilization of the personnel he has at his disposal, and the effort on defense has been impressive. Three of their last four games have seen them allow 13 points or fewer. With how their defense is playing, they could hypothetically stand with just about any offense in the league.
Three and out
3. My Justin Fields-o-meter is currently trending in a positive direction.
Whether or not he’s the franchise quarterback of the Bears remains to be seen. He still had a couple of missed plays through his inability to go through his progressions and find the open man. That said, his playmaking ability is undeniable, the flashes through the air are obvious, and Chicago’s recent turn in play has lined up well with his return from injury. It would certainly open up their draft options if they didn’t have to take a quarterback in Round 1.
2. Phil Snow joined the Bears as a senior defensive analyst midway through this season, and their defense has since made a tremendous turnaround.
One can only look from the outside and speculate as to what extent the former Panthers defensive coordinator has been responsible in their turnaround. However, the decision to bring him in has lined up quite well with the defensive front’s emergence and the back-seven’s ability to generate turnovers.
1. The Bears have won three of their last four games. They’re coming off of consecutive wins against NFC North rivals, both of whom having superior records to them. After Week 3, their total point differential has been +5.
If I’m Matt Eberflus, I’m feeling a little bit better about my job security right now.