Good vibes were aplenty at Soldier Field on Sunday when Justin Fields made the first home start of his career against the Detroit Lions. After a week of embarrassing press conferences, unnecessary confusion, and a sad power struggle for playcalling responsibilities, the Chicago Bears looked like a competent professional football team in their 24-14 win over the Lions.
The offense totaled more yards on their first drive (75) than last week's total output (47) and the defense made sure Lions quarterback Jared Goff was uncomfortable, sacking him 4 times and recovering 2 fumbles. It was quite the turn of events after from last week's debacle, thanks to quite a few individuals both on and off the field. Here is this week's Chicago Bears Stock Exchange.
Rising: QB Justin Fields
It didn't take long for Fields to "wow" the Soldier Field crowd on Sunday. The rookie quarterback finally showed what he brings to the table in his second-career NFL start. Fields went 11-for-17 for 209 yards and 1 interception. The stats don't tell the story though as Fields was pushing the ball downfield with authority, finding players like Darnell Mooney and Allen Robinson with crisp, precise throws. His explosiveness was just what this offense needed. Now let's see if Nagy sticks to his word about keeping Andy Dalton as the starter. And speaking of Nagy...
Falling: HC Matt Nagy
Even when things actually go well for Matt Nagy, he finds a way to ruin it. This guy could win the lottery and decide not to collect the money because he's committed to the money his employer pays him. Nagy swallowed his pride by passing off playcalling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and it paid off in a big way with Fields at the helm. But after the game, Nagy essentially gave himself credit for signing off on the gameplan, then doubled down on his desire to see Dalton as the starting quarterback when healthy. It's comical at this point just how often he puts his foot in his mouth. But hey, at least he didn't screw it up on the sidelines this time, right?
Rising: WR Darnell Mooney
After having a somewhat slow start to the season, Darnell Mooney had arguably the best game of his young career on Sunday. The second-year wide receiver was the focal point of the passing game, catching 5-of-7 targets for 125 yards. He got behind defenders consistently and set up all three of the Bears touchdowns with long receptions. Mooney and Fields have been developing a rapport recently and he could be in for more huge days if the rookie QB continues to start.
Falling: TE Cole Kmet
Cole Kmet's production in the passing game is falling just like he did during Sunday's game. Though he seems to be doing well in run blocking, Kmet has not made an impact in the passing game like many thought he would. He had just one catch for six yards while also missing a prime opportunity on a Fields rollout. The quarterback had Kmet running a deep slant, but the tight end got turned around and fell to the ground, unable to make the catch. It's fair to say Kmet's production has been a disappointment through 4 games, but with Lazor taking over the playcalling, perhaps brighter days are ahead. Remember, Kmet really blossomed during the last part of 2020 when Lazor was calling plays.
Rising: EDGE Trevis Gipson
The Bears front seven continues to be one of the best in the league, with players like Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, and Akiem Hicks wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines. But one player who flew under the radar Sunday was reserve outside linebacker Trevis Gipson. The second-year pass rusher played just 24 snaps, but made them count with 4 total tackles (2 for loss), 1 sack, 1 pass defended, and 2 QB hits. Gipson likely won't take time away from Mack or Quinn anytime soon, but his play is worth monitoring as he'll likely see more opportunities in passing situations.
Falling: NT Eddie Goldman
Bears fans were thrilled to see nose tackle Eddie Goldman finally return to the starting lineup after missing the first three weeks with an injury. The veteran run stuffer hadn't played a meaningful snap since 2019 due to opting out of last season for COVID-19 health and safety reasons. His return would certainly boost the run defense, right? Not quite. Goldman failed to make an impact in his first game back as he did not record a single stat on the day. Goldman looked out of place and seemed to give up on certain plays throughout the day. He had been out of the game for quite some time, but this wasn't the return many had envisioned when No. 91 took his place in the middle of the line.
Rising: ILB Alec Ogletree
Both Bears linebackers played out of their minds on Sunday, but let's give some shine to Alec Ogletree. He led the team in tackles with 12 total (1 for loss) and had a key pass deflection to save a touchdown early in the game. Ogletree seems to have earned a firm place in the starting lineup with Roquan Smith, even with Danny Trevathan getting healthy. He's becoming a key part of the defense and is one of Ryan Pace's shrewdest moves in recent memory.
Falling: WR Marquise Goodwin
Though the Bears got a "good win" on Sunday, Marquise Goodwin wasn't much of a factor. After leading the Bears in receiving yards in week one with 45, Goodwin has just 1 catch for 10 yards combined over the last three weeks. The speedster was hyped up in camp and looked to be a valuable asset, particularly in the vertical passing attack. He's bound to have a breakout performance at some point, but his involvement has been next to nothing as of late.
Stay on top of the Bears all season long, sign up for the free Midway Minute newsletter by clicking here. It's free.