Justin Fields

Schrock's Bears Report Card: Grading Justin Fields, offense, defense in win vs. Vikings

The defense dominated, and Justin Fields delivered in winning time to give the Bears a 12-10 win over the Vikings they desperately needed heading into the bye

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- It wasn't pretty. Monday's primetime game between the Bears and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium won't land on many after-season highlight montages.

But in the end, quarterback Justin Fields did just enough to back up a dominant performance from the Bears' defense and deliver a 12-10 win.

Fields and the Bears tried to combat the Vikings' blitz-heavy attack with a giant dose of screens and horizontal passes. That game plan led to three hours of offensive football that wasn't aesthetically pleasing.

But there are no style points in the NFL.

A win is a win, and this was a victory that head coach Matt Eberflus and the Bears desperately needed as they head into their bye week.

The report card reflects one unit that aced its primetime test and one that did just enough to pass with some last-minute extra credit:

Passing offense

Fields was blitzed on 52 percent of his dropbacks Monday night, per ESPN Stats and Info. The Bears countered that with 13 screen passes, which caused Fields to finish with 2.4 air yards per attempt and 1.9 air yards per completion. Both marks are the lowest of his career.

Fields threw 21 passes at or behind the line of scrimmage on Monday night. That's the most in the NFL since 2020, according to ESPN.

But on the Bears' final drive, the Vikings didn't blitz Fields, and he completed two passes of 10 or more air yards on the drive, including a 36-yard strike to DJ Moore that set up the game-winning field goal.

"Everybody bailed out there and left me wide open," Moore said after the Bears' win. "I don't think that was very smart.

"Maybe like 10 yards into the route, I was like, 'something ain't right about this.'" Moore said. "Then I was like, 'shoot, there's nobody in the middle. This deep in is going to be in the middle.' We connected on it, and the rest is history."

The Bears' pass attack was an eyesore for much of the night, but Fields and Moore delivered when everything was on the line.

Fields entered that drive having gone 1-for-17 on potential game-winning drives since the start of 2022. That lone one came in Week 3 last season when Roquan Smith picked off Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills in Texans territory, and the Bears kneeled down before kicking a field goal.

This was a bonafide game-winning drive from Fields, which earned the aerial attack passing marks after a relatively putrid performance.

Fields GRADE: C+ (game-winning drive boost)

Rushing offense

The Bears' ground attack found little success in Minnesota.

With D'Onta Foreman out with an ankle injury, it felt like a game in which Khalil Herbert would get the bulk of the carries. Instead, the Bears turned to rookie Roschon Johnson, who rushed 10 times for 35 yards. Herbert rushed just six times for 24 yards.

Fields was the team's leading rusher with 59 yards on 12 carries.

As a team, the Bears averaged 4.2 yards per carry. That number was just good enough to keep the Vikings' defense honest.

The Bears' offensive line was mauled most of the night by the Vikings' front. It was a little better in the run game than in pass protection, but it was a subpar night overall by the front five.

Chicago could have tried to lean on its run game to beat the Vikings' pressure, but instead, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy went to the horizontal passing game for most of the night.

Johnson ground out tough yards, and Herbert did well in limited time.

But overall, it was a lackluster night for the ground attack.


Pass defense

The Bears' nearly fully healthy defense made life hell for Dobbs and the Vikings' offense on Monday.

The Bears picked off Dobbs four times and sacked him twice while notching nine hurries.

"We getting the chemistry going," safety Eddie Jackson said of the Bears' dominant defensive performance.

"This is what it was [in training camp]. We just had to get everybody healthy, get everybody out here, and I feel like we knocking the dust off a little bit. The finish part is the most important part. We just got to continue to close guys out."

The Bears' defense came up big time and time again Monday night.

After Fields fumbled with 3:36 remaining, the Bears' defense needed to force a quick three-and-out to give Fields one more chance to lead a game-winning drive.

The Vikings ran it twice and then threw a quick pass to Brandon Powell behind the line of scrimmage. Linebacker T.J. Edwards quickly identified the play and rallied to make the tackle to force a punt, giving Fields the opportunity to win the game.

"I think it's belief, man," Edwards said of the Bears' defensive resurgence. "We understand that we have to go out there, and we have to get turnovers, we have to spark the game early.

"Guys are just resilient. There was no panic on any of those sudden changes or anything like that. We got to find a way to go out there and get a stop and we got the guys to do it."

The Bears held Dobbs to 185 yards passing and one touchdown while picking him off four times.

Montez Sweat recorded 1.5 sacks, while DeMarcus Walker notched three hurries. Justin Jones forced one of the interceptions when he quickly collapsed the pocket and forced Dobbs to get rid of it over the middle. The pass was deflected and ultimately picked off by Kyler Gordon.

It was a dominating performance from a unit that has been telling us it had this in them from Day 1.


Run defense

The Vikings are a pretty one-dimensional offense, so they didn't attack the Bears on the ground often Monday.

Alexander Mattison rushed 10 times for 52 yards and got loose for a couple of solid runs in the second half. The important thing was that the Bears kept Dobbs from breaking contain and beating them with his legs. The Bears held Dobbs to just 11 yards on two rushes on the night.

The Bears got good interior push from Gervon Dexter, Jones, and Andrew Billings on the night. Edwards and fellow linebacker Tremaine Edmunds did a great job flowing downhill and being sure tacklers. The linebacking duo combined for 11 solo tackles.

It was another stout performance from a run defense that has been the Bears' best unit in 2022.



The offensive game plan was a complete disaster for much of Monday night.

I understand the thought process of trying to beat the blitz with screens, but 13 was way too many for offensive coordinator Luke Getsy to call. The Vikings quickly caught onto the short passing game and stymied the Bears' offense for much of the final three quarters.

The offense lacked creativity and ingenuity. Had the Vikings blitzed Fields on the final drive, this could have quickly turned into a "walk the plank" postmortem for Getsy.

On the defensive side, head coach Matt Eberflus did a great job mixing up his simulated pressures. On Montez Sweat's first sack, the Bears lined up Yannick Ngakoue outside of Sweat and had Edmunds up close like he was coming on the blitz. The Bears dropped Edmunds out and had Ngakoue loop around Sweat, which helped allow the star edge rusher to get home for his first sack.

It was another good defensive game plan from Eberflus, who has shown that, for all his faults, he does know defense.


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