In a struggling season, Fields and the Bears fell 31-28 to the Denver Broncos, who were closer to victory than any other game this season, but after squandering a 21-21 finish, they You may feel more depressed than ever before. Leading in the third quarter. So when Chicago jumped out to a 27-3 halftime advantage but found itself holding a precarious 30-20 lead in the fourth quarter Thursday night, nothing was guaranteed.
That was until Fields found Moore one last time for a 56-yard score. Insert Fields (and all of Chicago) relief here.
“It’s definitely a relief,” said Fields, who led the Bears to just a handful of field goals in the second half after scoring on every possession in the first half. “I think we have to start over. Of course, in that game where we got off to the wrong start, everyone was jumping up and down a little bit, but I just walked up to them and said, ‘Calm down, we’re in a good position defensively. The guys are going to go out and do their thing.” And they did. The ball was stopped, of course, and the game was all but over when DJ caught the ball and ran. marvelous. Great catch. There is good protection up front and well executed. “
As the Bears walked into the winning locker room, perhaps no one felt more relieved than head coach Matt Eberflus.
It’s been a bad season for the 2023 version of the Bad News Bears, who appear poised to turn the franchise around after going 3-14 last year. Chicago traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for the draft rights and the aforementioned Moore. They also added some big-name free agents such as Tremaine Edmunds, TJ Edwards and Yannick Ngakoue. But on the field, the Bears’ defense (ranked 31st in points entering Thursday) and offense (ranked 22nd in points entering Thursday) have struggled.
Off the field, defensive coordinator Aaron Williams shockingly resigned after two weeks. Fields caused a stir when he was criticized for being a “robot” as his coach, but later walked back his comments. Wide receiver Chase Claypool has been inactive the past two weeks, and his brief and unproductive time in Chi-Town appears to be over.
On this Thursday night, however, Eberflus was reminded of why he got into the industry in the first place.
“This is why you get into coaching,” he said as he walked into the locker room after the game. “I’ve been coaching for 32 years, so when I started coaching, I was 22 and 9 months old. I was coaching the same guys that I played with, so it was a little weird, but it was fun because you could see them smiles and the joy of their hard work. All the staff, coaches. You guys put a lot of effort into this. We went through some adversity, but we learned from it. Those things make you a little bit stronger, So it’s going to be fun.”
If there was a theme tonight for Eberflus, it was staying together and playing as a team, and his airplane seat certainly made it feel cooler. After all the hard work, the hard work finally paid off.
“Guys did a great job of sticking together in the face of adversity, and I told them we were able to do this because of the relationships we built in the building,” Eberflus said. “The guys are always nervous. The guys are always determined and really excited about it.”
Before the game, the death of Pro Football Hall of Famer, Bears legend and Chicago sports icon Dick Butkus was announced. It added a somber tone to the game, but also added more reason for the Bears to celebrate the win at the end of the night.
Butkus never made the playoffs in nine autumns during his illustrious career.
These bears are also unlikely to do so. Since 1990, 161 teams have started a 1-4 season, but only 11 have made the playoffs, according to NFL Research.
Of course, that didn’t matter Thursday. If there’s a team that needs a win, it’s this team.
In one 60-minute snapshot, the Bears showed off their potential, going through the highs and lows, culminating with Moore’s final dash into the end zone for an elusive first win of the season.
“It was like we needed a win,” Moore said. “Let the magic work in our favor and it’s time to carry it over into the next few weeks, so that’s the best thing.”