3 Takeaways from Bears' Week 14 LossDecember 13, 2021
3 Takeaways from Bears' Week 14 Loss
For the first time in the Matt Nagy era, the Chicago Bears will finish a season with a losing record. That's guaranteed after the team's disappointing second-half performance against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday night.
After the Bears got off to a big start, they couldn't pull off the upset, losing 45-30 to the Packers, who consequently swept the season series between the NFC North teams. Chicago fell to 4-9 with its seventh defeat in its past eight games.
The Bears scored 24 points in a wild second quarter that featured 45 total points, which helped them build a six-point halftime lead. However, the Packers scored the first 24 points of the second half, pulling away for the victory.
Here are three takeaways from Chicago's Week 14 loss.
Big Plays Couldn't Carry Over to Second Half
The Bears came into this divisional matchup as big underdogs. However, they produced some big plays in the first half that made it seem like they had a chance to knock off the NFC North-leading Packers.
Justin Fields threw a pair of long touchdown passes in the second quarter, connecting with Jakeem Grant Sr. for a 46-yard scoring strike and also throwing a 54-yard touchdown pass to Damiere Byrd. Grant then extended Chicago's lead to 24-14 with a 97-yard punt return TD with one minute, 32 seconds to go in the first half.
After the Bears' big opening, they had a disappointing second half in which they scored only three points, which came on a Cairo Santos field goal with 1:22 to go after the Packers had built an 18-point lead. Chicago punted three times and committed a pair of turnovers over the final two quarters.
"Tale of two halves," Nagy said, per The Athletic's Kevin Fishbain. "I think for us to be able to come out that first two quarters and do what we did, that was fun. That was good football. The guys played energized."
In the future, the Bears will need to find a way to keep up their momentum rather than allowing their opponent to take it away. They put up enough points early in this game to give them a chance to win, but they didn't capitalize on it.
More Ups and Downs for Rookie Fields
Fields' play has been inconsistent this season, which is to be expected from a rookie quarterback. On Sunday night, he returned to the Bears' lineup after missing two games because of a rib injury. And like many of his games this year, there were positives and negatives to take away from his performance.
With a pair of long touchdown passes in the second quarter, Fields showed off his impressive arm and ability to make big plays. He finished with 224 yards through the air while also leading Chicago with 74 rushing yards on nine carries.
But Fields also threw a pair of interceptions, one of which was returned 55 yards for a touchdown by Rasul Douglas in the second quarter. Still, Nagy was impressed by Fields' ability to quickly move past that and get back on track.
"He's so mentally tough, and when you have a guy that, in this moment, in this stage, when you throw a pick-six, that's not easy," Nagy said, per Fishbain. "A lot of guys hang on to that. Not Justin. Justin doesn't. It actually probably juices him up a little bit, and he gets fired up."
Over the final four weeks of the season, Fields should gain invaluable experience as he aims to keep improving early in his NFL career. And as the bright spots from Sunday showed, he could go on to have success.
Quinn Continues to Impress During Big Season
It was mostly a tough night for Chicago's defense, which allowed Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers to pass for 341 yards and four touchdowns. The Packers amassed 439 total yards, committed no turnovers and controlled the game for most of the second half.
However, Bears defensive end Robert Quinn did his best to disrupt Rodgers. Quinn collected a pair of sacks, pushing his season total to 14, which is tied for third-most in the NFL behind only Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (16) and Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (15).
With four games still to play, Quinn's sack total already ranks as the second-most he's had in a season over his 11-year NFL career. The only time he had more was in 2013, when he collected 19 for the Rams.
There's a good chance that Quinn could set a career high in 2021, especially because the NFL campaign has expanded to 17 regular-season games. So that will be something for Bears fans to root for if the team falls out of the NFC playoff picture over the next few weeks.