The Chicago Bears started of 2023 with a dud of a performance. The Bears lost 41-10 to the Detroit Lions, their ninth loss in a row that sets a dubious franchise record. It was a game that saw Justin Fields run for over 100 yards in the first quarter, then proceed to get sacked seven times while the Lions ran all over the Bears defense to get an easy win in their quest to make the postseason.
It was easily the worst game of the 2022-2023 season for the Bears, who seemingly lacked effort and determination on both sides of the ball. With the season lost weeks ago, it was only a matter of time until they laid an egg. The Bears managed just 30 net passing yards, completing seven passes on the day. On defense, they allowed over 500 total yards and couldn’t stop Detroit’s offense.
Here is everything we know following Chicago’s Week 17 divisional loss.
Final score: Lions 41, Bears 10
Jan 1, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus walks the side lines during the first quarter of a game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports
Keys to the game
Jan 1, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift (32) runs the ball against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
Poor pass protection: The Lions came into this game with one of the worst defenses in the league, yet promptly sent the kitchen sink at Fields and the Bears offense. The result was a quarterback who was under pressure on almost every single snap, getting sacked seven times. The Bears linemen were either hurt or got bullied off the line, which threw the offense off its game. In total, the Bears netted just 30 passing yards.
Run defense woes: Detroit had their way with the Bears defense, totaling more than 500 yards of offense. But it was Chicago’s lack of run defense that did them in the most. The Lions totaled 268 rushing yards, with Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift averaging more than 6.5 yards per carry. Williams had 144 yards alone on 22 carries. There were multiple plays where tackles were missed and defenders were locked up on downfield blocks, just one week after getting gashed by the Bills.
Lions run defense adjustments: It was looking like a historic day on the ground for Fields early on as he totaled 105 rushing yards in the first quarter that led to 10 points. But the Lions secured the edges shortly after and limited Fields’ rushing output the rest of the game. The result was Fields attempting to keep his eyes downfield and direct traffic with little success. Without his running ability, the offense sputtered.
It was over when...
Jan 1, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) scrambles out of the pocket against the Detroit Lions in the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
The game was over when Fields fumbled late in the first half on a sack, leading to a Lions field goal that extended Detroit’s lead to 24-10. On the third play of the drive after the Bears were moving the ball fairly well, Fields bought time with his legs, but was chased down from behind and lost control of the ball.
It was the first of two turnovers to end the half for the Bears, who couldn’t generate much offense in the second half. The Lions took control of the game from there and didn’t look back.
3 duds of the game
DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 01: Amani Oruwariye #24 of the Detroit Lions breaks up a pass intended for Chase Claypool #10 of the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at Ford Field on January 01, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
*Braxton Jones: The Bears’ fifth-round rookie has had a decent first season as a pro, but easily had his worst game on Sunday. Jones was bull rushed repeatedly, allowing multiple sacks and picking up holding penalties as well. He was outmatched by a below-average Lions pass rushing unit and will need to shore up his game this offseason.
**Chase Claypool: For the first 58 minutes of Sunday’s game, Chase Claypool was invisible in his return from a knee injury. The third-year receiver wasn’t targeted until the Bears’ final drive, where he missed a diving catch on a deep dig route. Claypool was also seen getting into it with receivers coach Tyke Tolbert on the sidelines at one point. Just a disappointing day all around.
***Jaquan Brisker: Another rookie who has had a very solid season, but has struggled as of late. Jaquan Brisker hasn’t been able to close out in the running game, getting taken out of plays or being juked out of his cleats. He did have eight total tackles, but he was noticed more for failing to make a play more than anything.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – OCTOBER 09: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears shakes hands with Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings following the game at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 09, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minnesota defeated Chicago 29-22. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
The Bears conclude the regular season at home against the playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings. The game will take place Sunday, January 9th, but the time is still TBD and could depend on the Vikings-Packers outcome. With the Philadelphia Eagles losing, the game could be moved to the late afternoon since the top seed is still in play.