Justin Fields, Offense Come Up Short in Loss Vs. Hawks – NBC Chicago
What we learned as the Bears falter in the 27-24 loss to the Falcons originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
ATLANTA — Another Sunday, another chance for Justin Fields’ offense and the Bears to put together a winning practice. But it was another Sunday where the Bears faltered in critical moments as the Atlanta Falcons held on for a 27-24 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Fields had a good day. He went 14 for 21 for 153 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown.
But with 1:13 remaining and the Bears trailing by three, Fields’ pass for David Montgomery in third-and-fifth sailed high and was picked up by Jaylinn Hawkins to send the Bears to their seventh loss in eight games.
Here’s what we learned from the Bears’ 27-24 loss to the Falcons:
Find the “T”
The Bears entered Sunday having forced just one turnover in their previous three games. The inability to find “T” in head coach Matt Eberflus’ HITS principle has hampered a defense that couldn’t get off the field during the current losing streak.
The Bears found the “T” on Sunday in Atlanta.
Late in the first quarter, DeAndre Houston-Carson knocked the ball off Falcons kick returner Avery Williams. Jack Sanborn recovered the fumble, putting the Bears at the Falcons 41-yard line.
The Bears, however, were unable to cash in the correct position on the court as a calamity of errors saw them punt after a four-game practice.
After taking a 10-7 lead midway through the second quarter, the Bears defense found the “T” again. Cordarrelle Patterson opened practice for the Falcons with a 19-yard run, but rookie safety Jaquan Brisker threw the ball in late. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson picked up the fumble and brought it 17 yards to the Falcons 29-yard line.
Fields and the offense cashed in this time around, rushing for 29 yards on seven plays, with Fields closing the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to give Chicago a 17-7 lead.
Send back sparks of play
The Bears and Falcons found magic in Sunday’s return game at the Benz.
After the Falcons opened the game with a touchdown, Bears rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. kicked off 55 yards. Fields took advantage of the short field, leading the offense for 44 yards in seven plays, capped by a 16-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney.
While Jones’ comeback fireworks were a breath of fresh air for the Bears, the Falcons employ one of the best returning men the NFL has ever seen.
Patterson was no slouch.
After the Bears went up 17-7 midway through the second quarter, Patterson put on a show. The former Bear kicked off and went 103 yards for a touchdown. The touchdown was Patterson’s ninth career comeback score, the highest in NFL history.
The Bears arrived in Atlanta with the hottest offense in the NFL. He didn’t follow them to Georgia.
Apart from a few well-executed plays, the Bears’ offense was sloppy and disjointed Sunday afternoon. The offensive line struggled to keep pressure on Fields and the play was too predictable.
Facing the worst pass defense in the NFL, the Bears insisted on trying to pound the rock. Chicago’s run game saw success early, but the Falcons made some adjustments at halftime and bottled up the Bears’ offense.
The Falcons sacked Fields four times, hit him five times and recorded nine tackles for loss.
It was a game that should have seen the Bears open the passing game. Instead, a combination of poor performance from the offensive line and some stubbornness from offensive coordinator Luke Getsy landed the Bears in a tough game with the Falcons.
The theme for the Bears over the past two weeks has been their inability to finish. They had another opportunity on Sunday to change that narrative.
Going into the fourth quarter trailing 24-17, Fields went on the offense for 13 games and 75 yards to tie the game. The scoring walk included some good moments from Fields, including that 32-yard penny to David Montgomery on the sideline.
Fields also used an act of magic to convert a third and a 12 crit. The sophomore quarterback evaded three defenders, bought some time with his legs and eventually found Equanimeous St. Brown for a 14-yard gain. Four plays later, Montgomery pushed into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown to tie the game.
The Falcons reclaimed the lead with a 53-yard field goal with 1:47 remaining, giving Fields just enough time to be the hero.
But again, the Bears offense couldn’t deliver with all the chips on the table.
Fields rushed 1 yard on first down and appeared to injure his left shoulder on the tackle. After a 3-yard run on second down, Fields’ pass to Montgomery was caught by Hawkins as another game-winning drive from the Bears ignited.
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