3 Takeaways from Bears' Week 10 Loss vs. LionsNovember 14, 2022
3 Takeaways from Bears' Week 10 Loss vs. Lions
Another big day for Justin Fields again wasn't enough for the Chicago Bears to win a close game. This time, they ended up on the wrong end of an NFC North clash at Soldier Field.
Although Fields accounted for four total touchdowns (two passing and two rushing), the Bears fell 31-30 to the rival Detroit Lions. It marked the third consecutive loss for Chicago, which has dropped six of its past seven games to fall to 3-7.
The Bears had a 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter. However, the Lions scored 21 points over the final 11 minutes and 37 seconds, taking the lead for good on Jamaal Williams' 1-yard touchdown run with 2:21 remaining.
Here are three takeaways from Chicago's Week 10 loss.
The Bears Have Figured out How to Best Use Fields
Early this season, the Bears weren't utilizing Fields in the ground game. They hadn't given him many opportunities to run the ball during his 2021 rookie campaign, either. However, Chicago's offensive game plan has clearly changed in recent weeks.
Fields has had 12 or more rushing attempts in four of the past five weeks, and it's led to big results. The 23-year-old QB has scored a touchdown on the ground in each of the Bears' past four games, and he's had five total rushing TDs over that span. Plus, he's run for more than 100 yards each of the past two weeks, including 147 yards on Sunday.
Because he's been a threat to run more, Fields is also having greater success using his arm. He's had multiple touchdown passes in each of the past three games, throwing seven TDs during that stretch.
There are still areas in which Fields needs to improve. After all, he threw a fourth-quarter interception that was returned 20 yards by Jeff Okudah for a touchdown that tied the game at 24. But Fields answered with a 67-yard rushing TD of his own.
So even though Fields has room to grow, he's taken huge steps forward during his recent performances. It's also clear that Chicago is getting a better idea of how to put him in a better position to succeed, and that's taking its offense to another level.
Kmet Is Emerging as Top Playmaker for Offense
Fields isn't the only young offensive player who has shown improvement of late. Tight end Cole Kmet has been on a tear, too, as the 23-year-old has emerged as a top playmaker for the Bears.
On Sunday, Kmet had four catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns, marking the second week in a row that he had a pair of TDs. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Kmet is the first Chicago player with back-to-back games with multiple touchdowns since Johnny Morris in 1964 (h/t ESPN's Courtney Cronin).
Of Kmet's 23 receptions this season, nine have come during the past two weeks. And all five of his touchdowns have come over the Bears' past three games.
"Cole is getting better each and every week I think with his route running, and he works hard day-in and day-out," Fields said, per Larry Mayer of the team's official site. "Definitely happy for him the way he's growing and the way he's continuing to improve each and every week."
Chicago's receiving corps needed players to step up, and Kmet has done just that. It's not only helping the Bears' offense, but it's aiding Fields' development, giving him better pass-catching options to utilize.
The Defense Isn't Holding Up Its End in Close Games
Over the past three weeks, the Bears have scored 29, 32 and 30 points. And yet, they've lost each of those games. That's because they've given up 49, 35 and 31 points in each of those contests, as their defense isn't holding up its end in these competitive games.
On Sunday, the Lions had scored only 10 points over the first 48:23, as their first three drives of the second half resulted in punts. But Chicago's defense couldn't close out the game, as Detroit had a pair of offensive touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including Williams' go-ahead score late.
This has been a concerning recent trend, considering the Bears hadn't allowed 30 or more points in any of their first seven games. Now, it's happened in three consecutive contests.
"We've got to finish," Chicago safety Eddie Jackson said, per Mayer. "We had a 14-point lead. We've got to stay on top. We have to execute, just go out there and do our job. We've got to execute and we've got to trust in our players."
If the Bears' defense can start to play as well as their offense, then the team could still turn a corner in the second half of the regular season. Otherwise, their struggles may continue, as they've been unable to put together complete games for most of the year.