Nov 1, 2021

That Bears loss wasn't as bad as the two before it

Justin Fields Chicago Bears
(USA Today Sports)

Good morning, frents!

Hope everyone had a nice Halloween, the second half of that Bears game excepted. Let's jump right into November, shall we?

Sunday's results
49ers 33, Bears 22

Today's schedule
Bulls at Celtics (6:30, NBCSCH)
Senators at Hawks (7, NBCSCH+)

Silver lining playbook

Maybe it's the Halloween sugar high talking, but I'm not as upset over the Bears' loss on Sunday as I was the previous two.

Should I be?

It didn't depress us with the mind-numbing Groundhog Day sameness of getting owned by Aaron Rodgers yet again.

It didn't make us vent and seethe the way we did after the Bears got their doors blown off by the Buccaneers last week.

Nope. The 33-22 loss to the 49ers at Soldier Field was just annoying, particularly because the Bears held a halftime lead (though it should have been bigger). It stung because you also didn't have to squint to see how the Bears might have won this game. (Just play better defense.)

But if we came into this season armed with the knowledge it would be a losing proposition, this is what we would've wanted the losses to look like.

Which is a long way of saying Justin Fields looked good.

At times, really good.

That might have been the first time I shouted for a good reason all year.

Fields had himself a day against the Niners defense, completing 70 percent of his passes (19-of-27) for 175 yards and a touchdown on a great throw to a diving Jesse James.

He also rushed 10 times for 103 yards, a total which included the unreal 22-yard score above. If you're among our group that suspects the Bears might have a unicorn in Fields, Sunday provided some evidence.

If you're among the group who believes Matt Nagy is holding him back, this was a good game for you, too. With Nagy at home due to COVID protocol, acting coach Chris Tabor and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor were apparently allowed to admit that Fields owns legs. Fast ones.

The game plan had some rough patches, but it put Fields in a position to succeed. It gave him a chance to roll out and improv and keep the defense off balance with some designed runs.

Hopefully Nagy was feeling well enough to take notes while watching as a fan because this is what we want to see in the remaining nine games, no matter the results.

And, look, this season might continue heading south. An already deficient roster has been rocked by injuries. Khalil Mack didn't dress for this game and he was soon joined on the sideline by safety Eddie Jackson and running back Khalil Herbert. Akiem Hicks wasn't 100 percent in his return to the field and it showed.

The Bears gave up over 30 points for the third time this season.  While that might be expected going against the Rams and Bucs, giving up 322 yards to Jimmy Garoppolo shouldn't be.

Also bad: Allowing Elijah Mitchell to average 7.6 yards per carry on a 137-yard and one score day. The 49ers scored touchdowns on three straight possessions during their 24-point second half.

The wilting defense was a reminder that the Bears still have so much to worry about in the future than just the quarterback position.

But none of it matters unless Fields shows signs this season that he can be a future star. We got some on Sunday, so I'm calling it a win.

“It's embarrassing and it's not the standard. There's not much else to be said about it besides it sucked and we've got to do better." — Roquan Smith

News and results

Zach LaVine Chicago Bulls
(USA Today Sports)

Bulls: Heading east after big win over Utah

The Bulls' loss to the Knicks on Thursday was followed by the bummer news that Patrick Williams is done for the season with a dislocated wrist.

But the team rebounded in big fashion on Saturday with a 107-99 win over the previously undefeated Jazz. DeMar DeRozan scored 32 while Zach LaVine scored 26. More importantly, they showed they're serious about defense, forcing 20 Jazz turnovers.

Williams' absence is going to test the team's forward depth and we'll continue to get a better idea of what his absence means. The team is in Boston tonight, followed by a trip to Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Hawks: Still winless through nine games

The team was throttled in Carolina on Friday night and came up short in a 1-0 loss to St. Louis that set the franchise record for worst start to the season. The 3-4 Senators are at the UC tonight; is this the night the Hawks finally get in the win column?

College football results

  • Rutgers 20, Illinois 14: 357 rushing yards against Penn State. 107 against Rutgers. You figure it out.
  • Minnesota 41, Northwestern 14: Another Saturday, another team running wild on the Wildcats. Gophers rushers compiled 308 yards in the blowouts as the Wildcats fell to 1-4 in the Big Ten. They have quarterback issues, too.
  • #11 Notre Dame 44, North Carolina 33: You have to do a lot to land on the list of all-time great Irish plays. Kyren Williams' 91-yard touchdown run fit the bill.

• The latest mailbag for Midway Minute members is out. Midway Minute

• Ben Pope takes aim at John McDonough. Sun-Times

• Cubs prospect Nelson Velazquez is the top hitter in the Arizona Fall League. Bleacher Nation

• Knicks center Mitchell Robinson says he feels bad for knocking Patrick Williams out for the season with a flagrant foul. New York Post

• Edward McClelland wants to take Lake Michigan away from Indiana. Chicago Mag

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