Tank Win: Vikings 29, Bears 22

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Tank Win: Vikings 29, Bears 22

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears were cooking up the comeback of the year until they LITERALLY fumbled it away.

The Bears had just gotten some momentum after David Montgomery (one play after missing a chance to pick up a blitzer that led to a Justin Fields sack) chugged his way into a first down on a dump off pass. But the Bears giveth, then the Bears taketh. Or, more specifically, Cameron Dantzler taketh from the Bears. Because after Ihmir Smith-Marsette looked to have another Bears chunk play, his former Vikings teammate took the ball away. IMS’s attempts to pick up some YAC and fight for extra yards instead of going out of bounds to stop the clock backfired. We don’t know how things would’ve worked out had he not gotten stripped. But losing a fumble with 1:12 left in the game dashed whatever comeback dreams the Bears were cooking up.

FINAL: Vikings 29, Bears 22.

And to think, Smith-Marsette’s block-in-the-back penalty earlier in the quarter erased a Fields rushing touchdown that gave me Mike Vick in the Metrodome flashbacks. Yuck. What an awful ending for a player on the roster fringe at a position where the Bears could be making some changes in the near future.

At the end of the day, that was an unbelievably soul-crushing way to lose a football game. Especially after being down 21-3 in the early going. It felt like it shouldn’t have been this close, but the Vikings opened the door — and Fields walked through it without blinking. That’s what developing quarterbacks with bright futures do. This wasn’t an “at least Fields was better than being bad” game. Instead, it was a legit “Fields actually looked good” game. Isn’t that what matters most in the long-run? Putting up a strong statistical showing, displaying growth, and doing it against a fierce division rival is what should be happening this year on a weekly basis.

Losing stinks. And this one is a bitter one to digest. However, part of me sees Fields looking better and considers it a net win. Tank win? At least I don’t I don’t feel as awful as I do after most losses.

Let’s discuss some brief positives.

This is What Bears Football *SHOULD* Be

We’ve been waiting for this kind of game all year, but is it finally here? Was this the start of the first steps toward progress for this new regime? I sure hope so, because this game had everything I was hoping for from this team.

Well, everything but a final result that put the Bears in the win column. But you understand where I’m going with this … right?

The second half featured aggressive offensive play-calling, progressive coaching decisions (like the calls for it to go for it on 4th down), and growth from a bunch of young players who we expect to be building blocks moving forward. None more important than Fields. For a good chunk of the game, the Bears gave Fields time to operate and — for the first time this year — take advantage of it. Fields got lathered into a rhythm and we saw what he could do. There were missed opportunities throughout, but I come away from this one feeling better than I thought I would. Especially after facing a 21-3 deficit.

Justin Fields Shows Signs of Growth

This in-game turnaround wouldn’t have been possible had the Bears not put the ball in Fields’ hands late in the second quarter and throughout the second half. It’s almost as if entrusting your most talented offensive player can carve a path to victory. Who knew!? We’ve only been asking for it since before the season began.

  • Fields’ final line: 15/21 (71.4%), 208 yards (9.9 yards/attempt), 1 TD, 0 INT, 118.8 passer rating.

It’s his best game of the year. Perhaps the best of his career? This was Fields’ first game with a passer rating north of 100. The 9.9 Y/A was his third best showing — and best since Week 9 of the 2021 NFL season. His average yards/attempt in the games between that one and this one has been 7.06. With his average rating being 71.5. This was definitely a step-in-the-right-direction type of game.

I can’t wait to see what a full, four-quarter effort from him looks like. Maybe we’ll see it on Thursday against the Commanders.

Is This the Poles-Eberflus Vision?

Even though it can be a struggle to see the vision when the team plays slugfests as it did early. But if you squint, you can understand how the Bears want to play complementary football en route to wins. And it makes sense, if you allow yourself to be flexible with how we take it in.

Defense chipping in with help. Assistance from the special teams with field goal stops on one side, then field goal makes on the other. An offense that can make big plays because of a toolsy, athletic quarterback with mounds of upside balls out — all despite having a fair share of talent deficiencies at skill positions. This game looks different if the Bears have better playmakers on the outside, but there’s no crying over spilled milk from March. And if Fields can show signs of growth despite his surroundings, then that bodes well for the future.

It’s not always going to look pretty. But I can live with whatever outcome comes our way when the Bears play an entertaining brand of football that shows a bunch of key players growing and developing.

There is a quick turnaround to Thursday Night Football. So there is no time to sit and let it linger.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.