Justin Fields

Bears vs. Browns: Studs and duds in another last-minute loss

For the third time this season, the Bears let a double-digit lead slip away in the fourth quarter

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Just when we thought the Bears might have turned a corner, they reverted back to their ways of blowing double-digit leads late in games. The Bears defense dominated Joe Flacco and the Browns through three and a half quarters, but a bust against Amari Cooper with three minutes to go turned the tide and let Cleveland tie the game. On offense, the team struggled to succeed without field position help from their defense or special teams. They had two opportunities to score with their four-minute offense, and couldn’t come through with either chance.

Here are the best and worst performers from Sunday’s loss:



Fields didn’t have the prettiest day in ugly conditions, but he managed the game well and made a few spectacular plays that gave the Bears an opportunity to win. Fields routinely placed balls just out of reach of the swarming Browns defense so that only his receivers had plays to make. He routinely bought extra time in the pocket and used that time to turn negative plays into positive plays. Most importantly, he was special when the team absolutely needed it. When the game was still scoreless in the second quarter, the offense had a sudden change opportunity and took over at the one-yard line (more on that in a bit). After seven bumbling snaps, it appeared the Bears were going to squander a golden opportunity to go up seven points. On third-and-goal, Myles Garrett had Fields in his grasp, but Fields was able to wriggle free, move to his left and hit Cole Kmet for a touchdown. It felt like a watershed moment.


Weeks ago, Jackson said he was starving for an interception. Jackson was happy that practically everyone else on the Bears defense was creating takeaways, but he wanted in on the action. He finally had his moment in the second quarter when he stepped in front of a Joe Flacco pass intended for Cedric Tillman. Jackson added a great return and came up one yard shy of his first touchdown since 2020. The offense managed to finish the job (after eight snaps).

Tremaine Edmunds did Jackson one better in the third quarter. He took advantage of a monster T.J. Edwards hit on Tillman that popped the ball in the air, caught the ball, then brought it all the way back for a score. It was a breakthrough play when each team was fighting for momentum. Later in the third quarter, Tyrique Stevenson made an unbelievable diving grab to intercept a ball, just one snap after Trent Taylor muffed a punt. It was another breakthrough play when the Browns were fighting to take momentum back to their side.

The secondary was responsible for the huge Amari Cooper touchdown that tied the game with just over three minutes to go in the game and the game-winning field goal drive, but on the whole they played lights out football. This game would not have been close if not for their big plays throughout the day.


The Bears’ defensive resurgence over the past month has been predicated on their improved play up front. Sunday might have been the best performance from the front four, yet. Montez Sweat continued his tear with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. DeMarcus Walker had two TFLs, half a sack and two QB hits. Justin Jones added a TFL and QBH of his own. Andrew Billings didn’t stuff the stat sheet like his linemates, but he was a disruptive force who helped create plays for others. Browns rushers were limited to a paltry 30 yards on 17 carries, which was good for a 1.8 YPC average. A marvelous day for the entire unit.



One week after having his best game of the season, Taylor had his worst. Taylor looked uncomfortable fielding punts in the overcast and drizzly conditions, and muffed two punts over the course of the day. The second had the makings of a big momentum shifter, as it gave the Browns an instant red-zone opportunity. But the defense bailed him out.


For a second week in a row it was clear the Bears did what they could to get Mooney involved in the offense. For the second week in a row Mooney didn’t have much to show for it. Fields targeted his buddy eight times, but only reeled in two of them for catches. On one particular incompletion, Fields nearly threw an interception and immediately went to talk to Mooney after the play about a clear miscommunication.

Mooney also hurt the offense on a Fields fourth-and-one rush attempt in the fourth quarter. Mooney made a poor attempt to block Cameron Mitchell on the perimeter. Mitchell ended up making a shoestring tackle on Fields for a turnover on downs.

The most painful moment for Mooney however, came on the last play of the game. On the team’s final Hail Mary attempt to close the game, he had the ball in his hands, in the end zone. But he couldn’t squeeze the ball and the Bears lost.

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