Grading Bears' offense, defense in heartbreaking loss vs. Packers


CHICAGO — One day, Justin Fields will be enough for the Bears to beat the Green Bay Packers. Perhaps he’ll even torment the Packers for decades, just as Aaron Rodgers has haunted Chicago for the better part of two decades.

But Sunday was not that day.

Fields and the Bears jumped out to a 16-3 lead over the Packers at Soldier Field, but the offense stalled in the second half as Rodgers and the Packers came back to win 28-19.

Fields’ return injected life into an undermanned Bears team. A 55-yard touchdown run and passing strikes of 56 and 49 yards electrified the home crowd.

But once again, Fields and the offense couldn’t complete a successful game-winning drive as Jaire Alexander’s interception with 2:49 remaining sealed the Bears’ fate.

Here’s the report card from a feel-good effort against the Packers:

Passing offense

Fields called Sunday’s game his "best game passing-wise" of his season.

The 23-year-old quarterback was accurate and on time Sunday. He showed good pocket poise and threw with anticipation when required.

Prior to the final drive, Fields had just three incompletions on the day. He hit Equanimeous St. Brown for a 56-yard gain and found N’Keal Harry for 49 on a 50/50 ball off a scramble drill.

This was just the second game this season in which Fields has thrown for more than 200 yards.

The stats might not show the complete picture, but Sunday was a good day for the development of Justin  Fields, the passer.  

The offensive line also deserves praise for a solid day at the office. Fields' was pressured on a season-low 22 percent of his dropbacks and was not sacked for the first time in his career as a starter.

Grade: B

Rushing offense

Fields’ 55-yard touchdown run will get top billing, as it should. But all in all, this was an underwhelming rushing performance against a defense that was eviscerated on the ground by the Eagles a week ago.

David Montgomery had a decent day on the ground, but the Packers held their own against the Bears’ rushing attack.

As the Falcons did two weeks ago, the Packers charged the mesh point in read options and forced the ball out of Fields’ hands. Outside of the 55-yard touchdown run, Fields rushed for just 16 yards on five carries. The Packers played zone coverage on 100 percent of snaps Sunday, keeping all eyes on Fields and limiting his damage in the run game.

Grade: C-

Run defense

The Bears’ run defense has been an issue all season, and the Packers were able to get what they wanted on the ground Sunday.

A.J. Dillon rushed for 93 yards on 18 carries (5.2 yards per carry), and wide receiver Christian Watson’s 46-yard touchdown run iced the game for the Packers.

Aside from a few tackles for loss from Jack Sanborn and DeAndre Houston-Carson, the Bears could not do much to stop the Packers’ ground game.

Grade: D

Pass defense

Coming into Sunday’s game, the Bears’ secondary looked ripe for the picking, with Eddie Jackson, Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker, and Kindle Vildor out with injuries.

But the MASH unit held up relatively well against Rodgers on Sunday.

The Bears held Rodgers to 182 yards passing and only allowed one touchdown pass.

RELATED: Fields shows Bears true growth in best game as passer

However, the Bears were unable to turn the Packers over and didn’t register a sack or QB hit on Rodgers.

It was a valiant effort by a young secondary. But they couldn’t come up with the game-changing play needed to deliver an upset.

Grade: B-

Special teams

What’s the rule of the report card? If we mention special teams, that means something went wrong.

Kicker Cairo Santos missed an extra point and had a 40-yard field goal attempt blocked.

Not a great day from the kicking operation.

Grade: C-

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