Same old result vs. Packers, but there's reason for optimism for Justin Fields, Chicago Bears

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Quarterback Justin Fields returned to action and played really well. Fields threw for a season-high 254 yards.

    Quarterback Justin Fields returned to action and played really well. Fields threw for a season-high 254 yards. Associated Press

 
By Sean Hammond
Shaw Local News Network
Updated 12/4/2022 5:41 PM

Swept again. For the fourth consecutive year, the Bears lost both contests to their hated rival, the Green Bay Packers.

Sunday's 28-19 loss to the Packers at Soldier Field stings a little more, too, because the Bears blew a 13-point lead. If there was ever a time for the Bears to snap the losing skid, it was Sunday. The Packers entered with their worst record in years and not much playoff hope.

 

Instead, it's another L. The Packers have won eight straight games against the Bears and 13 of the past 14. The Bears' last win came in December 2018. There are only three players on the current active roster who have ever beaten the Packers as a member of the Bears. Throw in injured safety Eddie Jackson and that number comes to a grand total of four.

"Losing to them is not ideal," tight end Cole Kmet said. "That's our big rival. That's a game you want to win."

Kmet, a Lake Barrington native, is now 0-6 against Green Bay in three seasons. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers improved his record against the Bears to 24-5. He still owns the Bears.

All that said, Bears fans might actually have reasons for optimism after this one. For one, they once again helped their draft status. As things stand, they would currently hold the No. 2 overall pick in next spring's draft.

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More importantly, quarterback Justin Fields returned to action and played really well. Fields threw for a season-high 254 yards. He threw 2 interceptions late in the game, but one was really just a desperation heave. Earlier in the game, Fields broke free for yet another electric touchdown run on a 55-yard scamper in the first half. He finished with 71 rushing yards on six carries.

"Every game drives me," Fields said. "Of course, this one means more, but I want to win every game. It's that simple."

With a nine-point difference, this game won't go down as a one-possession loss, but it was yet another game where the Bears had the ball in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead and couldn't do it.

Fields and the offense took over after a Packers' field goal, trailing by one point, 20-19. With the Bears driving into Packers' territory, and the clock ticking under three minutes, Fields threw a ball intended for receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, who had his back to the QB. Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander jumped the route and St. Brown may have been late turning around on the comeback route.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"[St. Brown] was underneath him, but at that point you throw that ball, you anticipate the throw, and then boom, [Alexander] jumped it," Fields said. "Really, at that point, you'd just like to see the receiver come back to the ball."

The Packers drove down the field and scored on a 46-yard rushing touchdown from receiver Christian Watson. They converted the two-point try to make it a nine-point advantage. Fields threw another interception on the following possession, but the game was likely out of reach at that point anyway.

For an offense playing without top receiver Darnell Mooney, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury last week, the Bears spread the ball out well. Kmet caught 6 passes for 72 yards, while receiver Chase Claypool caught five balls for 28 yards. St. Brown led the team with 85 receiving yards on three catches.

Fields, who sat out last week with a left shoulder injury, said he planned to play all week long. He wore extra padding on his shoulder during the game. His mobility did not appear to be affected during the game. He called Sunday "one of my best games passing-wise." He completed 20-of-25 passes with a season-high in passing yards.

There's a sense in the Bears' locker room that, at some point, these close losses are going to start turning into narrow wins.

"You have to find ways to close games out," head coach Matt Eberflus said. "We're excited about these next four games, to put ourselves in position to do that. We were right in that situation there today."

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