Wow that, was fun, the Chicago Bears put together their best effort of the season in a huge road win over the New England Patriots, final score, Bears, 33 Patriots 14.
Chicago Bears fans are riding high after that win and rightfully so, they were 8.5-point road underdogs. Bill Belichick was 42-3 against first and second-year QBs at home in Foxborough since 2003. The Chicago Bears had just put together their worst offensive effort of the season against the Washington Commanders 10 days earlier. The game had all the markings of a blowout loss, but instead turned into a resounding victory.
So what went right?
The Bears had a lot of luck on their side:
The Bears forced four turnovers on defense. They had three interceptions and a forced fumble, the Bears had a massive amount of luck on their side. Justin Fields lost four fumbles in the game, but the Bears recovered all four. The team with that amount of luck and forced turnovers usually wins the game. Rookies Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon both snatched their first interceptions of the season as the Chicago Bears’ defense took advantage of miscues.
Justin Fields had his best game of the year:
Justin Fields was the Bears’ leading rusher with 82 yards on 14 carries. 11 of those carries were designed QB runs that matched his season total through the first six weeks of the season. The runs paid off in key situations and helped the Bears rattle off scores on five straight possessions. Fields was also 13 of 21 for 179 yards and a touchdown passing and finally seemed to be building consistent rhythm and chemistry with his receivers.
One of the key runs of the game came on a QB power sweep out of an empty set on third down and seven. The Bears had not shown that play all year long so naturally, it looked like a pass play with an empty set. Instead, the Bears pulled two linemen around the edge and Fields did the rest with his legs. Where has that been all year long?
The level of versatility of that play call alone gives the Bears is enough to give opposing teams nightmares. There are two clear decisive options for the Bears and the run option can be audibled to. Go empty set and throw the ball, or get the man coverage look across the board you’re looking for and audible to the run, and the only players who have to know the change are the offensive linemen.
That’s a play that should become a key part of the Chicago Bears’ offense going forward on anything under 3rd and 10. Think about Justin Fields running against a three-man defensive run with everyone else dropping back into coverage with two lead blockers between him and the first down. You don’t think the Bears are going to generate a high conversion success rate off of that play alone?
The Chicago Bears ran the ball well outside of Fields’ success
David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert are one of the best running back duos in the NFL and it shows up on a weekly basis. They both ran for 62 yards in the game and each scored a touchdown. Herbert’s came on a momentum-swinging screen pass that went for 26 yards and a TD. The Bears need to continue to lean heavily on these two to both keep Fields healthy and take heat off of the pass protection.
Self-scouting and coaching adjustments from Matt Eberflus
Matt Eberflus went into deep detail about how he met with each individual player over the “mini bye week” to evaluate them and coach them up as players. He made a key move in benching Sam Mustipher for Lucas Patrick and putting Zach Schofield in at left guard. Patrick went down with an injury but because Patrick was no longer struggling at guard the entire offensive line played better.
Other than Marcus Judon, no other player on the Patriots got any kind of pressure on Justin Fields. That means the offensive line played its best game of the season. Yes, Fields got pressured, but it only came from one player, something that hasn’t been the case all year. Usually a team can hold up better if they only have to focus on slowing down on player, instead of the their front four as has been the case for most of the season.
Have the Chicago Bears turned a corner?
While this was a statement win in which Matt Eberflus clearly outcoached Bill Belichick, it remains to be seen if the Bears can build momentum off of this one win. It definitely doesn’t help that they’re headed back out on the road to face a very talented Dallas Cowboys team. The Cowboys are clearly better than the Patriots with a strong defense, offensive line and play makers across the board. Add to it a healthy Dak Prescott and the Chicago Bears face an even bigger task this week.
They have to get consistent play out of Justin Fields to overcome their multitude of problems across the board. Justin Field needs to stack big games in back to back weeks with either his biggest passing game of his career or another big game with his legs and his arm. That will be a tall task with Michah Parsons chasing him around the field all game. Parsons is one of the few players in the league that can match Fields athletically.
The Chicago Bears face a tall task the next two weeks with the much improved Dolphins coming to Soldier Field after the trip to Dallas. But after that the schedule is favorable, with Atlanta, Detroit and the New York Jets. If the Bears are on the road to sustained success in terms of the limited capabilities this roster provides, you’d like to think they can come out with three wins out of the next five games. If the Chicago Bears can generate some type of momentum in the next five games, they could really be in an exciting place with the Green Bay Packers coming to Chicago after that slate.
All of this is completely premature until the Bears show the consistency necessary to be taken seriously, instead of just of looking like a team that got lucky like they did in the opener.
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