Fields Makes It Go, Mooney Lights the Spark, Rookies Bounce Back, and Other Bears Bullets

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Fields Makes It Go, Mooney Lights the Spark, Rookies Bounce Back, and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Tell me why I feel better after watching the Bears lose a gut-punch of a game to the Vikings than I did when they beat the Texans.

  • One of my favorite moments in all of sports entertainment comes when I’m listening to a Cubs game and play-by-play voice Pat Hughes (who should be a Hall of Famer, btw) declares “This feels like a turning point moment in this game.” Those words crossed my mind on Sunday after Darnell Mooney’s sensational catch leading to the Bears’ second-quarter touchdown. It brought the Bears new life. And it felt, in real time, that it was a potential turning point moment for Justin Fields. I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, but I can see us looking back at that loss to the Vikings as a moment in which Justin Fields turned the corner. Winning is cool. But have you ever experienced your hot-shot young quarterback show growth against a division-leading rival?
  • Fields’ second-half stats: 12/13, 135 yards, 1 touchdown. Put those numbers in a passer rating calculator and they churn out a 135.6 passer rating. That’ll do, QB1.
  • And that doesn’t count this touchdown run that was taken from him:
  • That thing gave me Mike Vick flashbacks:
  • This is what leadership looks like.
  • Bring me all the views and angles, please:
  • Darnell Mooney acknowledges that his catch was the spark his team needed to get things going in the right direction. Of course it was. You saw it, right? (Sun-Times)
  • The Bears still didn’t throw to Mooney enough on Sunday. But he is trending in the right direction with at least 5 targets in each of his last 3 games (after getting just 5 targets in his first two). I’m not sure what Mooney’s ideal target share is but it needs to be more when Velus Jones Jr. is playing just three offensive snaps and Dante Pettis continues to mishandle the opportunities he continues receiving.
  • Fun with stats: Extrapolate Mooney’s last two games over the course of a full 17-game schedule and it comes out to 85 targets (not enough), 51 catches (that feels too low for my liking), and 1,241 receiving yards (which would be dope as heck to see a Bears wideout put those numbers up).
  • Fun with stats II:
  • Sure, the defense stiffening up in the second half and limiting the Vikings to just one score (yes, it turned out to be the game-deciding touchdown and 2-point conversion) played a major role in the Bears making a comeback and taking a fourth-quarter lead. But things didn’t open up for Chicago’s football team until it decided on allowing Fields to operate with some freedom. Trusting Fields was always going to be the first step to making this thing go. Now that we’ve got a taste of it, we need more.
  • Cam Ellis (670 The Score) nails it in writing about the Bears finally realizing they don’t have to play a boring brand of football to be competitive. Go for it on manageable fourth downs. Keep your kickers and punters on the sideline. Throw shot plays down the field. And if they don’t work the first time, it’s OK to keep going to them. Let your mobile quarterback on the loose and let him make some plays. It doesn’t have to be the football equivalent of Dean Smith’s four-corners offense to hang around in this league. So … let’s do it again on Thursday against the Commanders? And maybe let’s not wait until falling down 21-3 before doing so?
  • Speaking of Washington’s football team, here is a quick look at the Bears’ next opponent:
  • We wanted to see Ryan Poles’ picks have a bounce-back game after a stinker against the Giants, and we got what we were wishing for against the Vikings. Third-round receiver Velus Jones Jr. came through with his first-ever NFL touchdown. Kyler Gordon came through with big pressure on a field goal block (which fellow rookie Dominique Robinson got a paw on). You just love to see that stuff. Now, how about building on that performance?
  • Seeing the Bears rally around Velus one week after muffing a punt that essentially cost the team a chance to win warms my heart:
  • Elsewhere on rookie watch, check out what left tackle Braxton Jones does to some poor defensive back:
  • Tell me the Bears rookies played well without saying it: Little to no mention of Colts rookie wideout Alec Pierce going for 8 catches and 81 receiving yards against the Broncos on Thursday Night Football. Or that Steelers rookie wideout George Pickens put up 83 yards on 6 catches against the Bills. Don’t get me wrong. I liked both of these prospects. And there’s a real chance the Bears might regret passing on both. But the reality is that this offense wasn’t going to be rebuilt in one offseason. So long as the Bears can unearth some receiver help in upcoming drafts and free agency classes, then we won’t look back on the NFL Draft class of 2022 with too much regret.
  • Although, I’ll say that I absolutely admire how Pickens plays with the energy that is equivalent to Black Air Force Ones owners. This guy is just MEAN:
  • Not to be lost in the shuffle of yesterday’s madness was Kindle Vildor’s first-career interception:
  • It isn’t just rookies we were hoping to see make plays on Sunday. Vildor was a Pace era draft pick who has had his ups and downs in his time as a pro. There was even a point this offseason when it was looking like Vildor could be the odd-man-out in a new-look secondary. Instead, Vildor made the team out of camp and has had some flashes with an increased amount of playing time that has come with Jaylon Johnson out with a quad injury. I won’t go as far as to say Vildor’s situation is exactly like Kyle Fuller’s in 2017 when he played his way out of Vic Fangio’s doghouse. But the vibes are similar in that Vildor played his way off the roster bubble in the summer and is making the most of a new lease on a football life. How can you not love it?
  • Other things I love: Justin Jefferson being limited to 2 catches for 16 yards in the second half after going for 12 catches and 138 receiving yards in the first two quarters. Credit defensive adjustments. Or Minnesota going away from Jefferson. Or even credit Kirk Cousins for being Kirk Cousins and forgetting he has an all-world receiver at his disposal. Whichever way you want to slice it, good on the Bears for not letting Jefferson sniff the NFL single-game record books.
  • I wonder if we’ll see Jaylon Johnson make another bit of progress:
  • Thursday is a quick turnaround after Sunday. But every team has to deal with it at some point. But the Bears’ showing on Sunday has me looking forward to Thursday. And I bet they feel similarly, as they probably want to erase the taste of defeat from their mouths and build on that tremendous second half.
  • In case you were already thinking about it:
  • These aren’t two names I expected to be listed together as having something in common for literally anything besides both having NFL careers:
  • We had some sensual baseball in the Mets-Padres elimination game:
  • BRUH!

Author: Luis Medina

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