What we learned as Bills stop Fields at frigid Soldier Field


CHICAGO – The Bears could not deliver their fans an early Christmas present on Saturday at Soldier Field.

Playing in freezing temperatures on the lakefront, the short-handed Bears jumped out to a 10-6 lead over the Buffalo Bills. But the Bears were once again unable to make the winning plays needed down the stretch to pull off the upset, falling 35-13 to lose their eighth game in a row.

Bills running backs James Cook and Devin Singletary eviscerated the Bears' run defense, and quarterback Justin Fields didn't get enough help from a patchwork offensive line, thin receiving corps, and a vanilla gameplan to knock off one of the NFL's best teams.

Fields went 15-for-23 for 119 yards and one touchdown. But he only ran seven times for 11 yards as the Bills were able to keep the dynamic second-year quarterback from delivering the big plays needed to author an upset.

Here’s what we learned in the Bears’ 35-13 loss vs. the Bills at frigid Soldier Field.


With a massive winter storm hitting most of the country, the Bears and Bills battled in frigid temperatures Saturday at Soldier Field.

It was 9 degrees at kick-off (-12 with wind chill), marking the fifth-coldest game in Soldier Field history.

No pushover

The Bears entered the game without top cornerback Jaylon Johnson, No. 2 corner Kindle Vildor, starting MIKE linebacker Jack Sanborn, wide receivers Chase Claypool and Equanimeous St. Brown, and both starting guards Teven Jenkins and Cody Whitehair. Facing the 11-3 Bills, it had all the makings of a bloodbath.

But the Bears played smart football in the first half. They limited mistakes and took advantage of an uncharacteristically poor first half from Josh Allen. 

Justin Fields drove the Bears 64 yards in eight plays on the opening drive, hitting Dante Pettis for a 6-yard touchdown on third-and-6 to put the Bears up 7-0.

The Bills answered on the ensuing drive, but kicker Tyler Bass missed the PAT to keep the Bears up 7-6.

When the Bears turned it over on downs on their second drive, it looked like the Bills were about to assert their will. But quarterback Josh Allen made a poor decision on second and 19. The Bills star rolled right and fired a pass toward Isaiah McKenzie in the end zone. Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon read the play perfectly and picked the ball off at the 1-yard line to turn the Bills away.

However, the Bears couldn’t cash in on the turnover, as a poor snap by center Sam Mustipher on third-and-12 ended the drive.

A missed 37-yard field goal by Bass allowed the Bears to take a 10-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Runnin’ Bills

After halftime, the Bills exited the locker room and immediately put any thought of an upset to bed.

They did so by asserting their will at the line of scrimmage and running the ball down the Bears’ throat.

On the opening drive of the second half, Allen drove the Bills 86 yards in eight plays, with Devin Singletary’s 33-yard touchdown run putting Buffalo up 14-10 after a two-point conversion.

After David Montgomery fumbled on the Bears’ ensuing possession, James Cook knifed through the Bears’ defense for a 21-yard score that stretched the lead to 21-10 midway through the third quarter.

With those two touchdown runs, the Bears have now allowed five touchdown runs of 30 or more yards this season.

Comeback attempt frozen

The Bears' offense was unable to find traction in the second half.

The Bears gained just 60 yards in the third quarter on 11 plays. But 44 of those yards came on the final play of the quarter when Fields connected with Velus Jones Jr. on a deep strike.

Jones' long catch wasn't the spark the Bears' offense hoped it would be, though.

The Bears opened the fourth quarter with three straight runs, setting up a fourth-and-3. Fields dropped back and hit Ryan Griffin, but the tight end was tackled short of the sticks, and Buffalo took over on downs.

Chicago got life a few plays later when linebacker Nicholas Morrow picked off Allen on a ball that appeared to slip out of the Bills QB's hand.

The Bears took over at the Bills' 18-yard line but were only able to gain 1 yard on three plays and settled for a field goal to cut the lead to 21-13.

Buffalo put the final nail in the Bears' coffin on the next drive as Allen's 4-yard touchdown run capped off an eight-play, 56-yard drive and handed Chicago its 11th loss in 12 games. The Bills added a final touchdown for good measure to make it 35-13.

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