Bears Observations: Justin Fields, Offense Come Up Short in Loss Vs. Falcons

What we learned as Bears fall short in 27-24 loss vs. Falcons originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago ATLANTA – Another Sunday, another chance for Justin Fields and the Bears‘ offense to author a game-winning drive. But it was another Sunday where the Bears came up short in the critical moments as the Atlanta Falcons held on for a 27-24 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Fields had a solid day. He went  14-for-21 for 153 yards, one touchdown, and one 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 on third-and-5 sailed high and was picked off by Jaylinn Hawkins to send the Bears to their seventh loss in eight games. Here’s what we learned in the Bears’ 27-24 loss vs. the Falcons: Finding the “T” The Bears entered Sunday having only forced one turnover in their previous three games. The inability to find “T” in head coach Matt Eberflus’ H.I.T.S principle has hampered a defense that has been unable to get off the field during the current losing streak. The Bears found the “T” on Sunday in Atlanta. At the end of the first quarter, DeAndre Houston-Carson punched the ball out of Falcons punt returner Avery Williams’ hands. Jack Sanborn recovered the fumble, setting the Bears at the Falcons’ 41-yard line. The Bears, however, were unable to cash in the good field position as a calamity of errors led them to punt after a four-play drive. After taking a 10-7 lead midway through the second quarter, the Bears’ defense found the “T” again. Cordarrelle Patterson opened the Falcons’ drive with a 19-yard run, but rookie safety Jaquan Brisker punched the ball loose at the end. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson recovered the fumble and returned it 17 yards to the Falcons’ 29-yard line. Fields and the offense cashed in this time, marching 29 yards in seven plays, with Fields capping off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to give Chicago a 17-7 lead.Return game sparks Both the Bears and Falcons found some magic in the return game Sunday at the Benz. After the Falcons opened the game with a touchdown, Bears rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. took the kickoff back 55 yards. Fields took advantage of the short field, driving the offense 44 yards in seven plays, capped off by a 16-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney. While Jones’ return fireworks were a breath of fresh air for the Bears, the Falcons employ one of the best return men the NFL has ever seen. Patterson was not to be outdone. After the Bears went up 17-7 midway through the second quarter, Patterson put on a show. The former Bear took the kickoff and raced 103 yards for a touchdown. The touchdown was Patterson’s ninth career return score, the most in NFL history. Offensive issues The Bears rolled into Atlanta with the hottest offense in the NFL. It didn’t follow them to Georgia. Outside of a few well-executed plays, the Bears’ offense was sloppy and disjointed Sunday afternoon. The offensive line struggled to keep the pressure off Fields, and the play-calling was too predictable. Facing the NFL’s worst passing defense, the Bears insisted on trying to pound the rock. Chicago’s run game found 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 registered nine tackles for loss. This was a game that should have seen the Bears open up the passing game. Instead, the combination of a bad showing by the offensive line and some stubbornness from offensive coordinator Luke Getsy got the Bears into a grind-it-out game with the Falcons. Failure to finish The theme for the Bears over the past two weeks has been their inability to finish. They got another opportunity Sunday to change that narrative. Entering the fourth quarter trailing 24-17, Fields marched the offense on a 13-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game. The scoring march included a few nice moments from Fields, including this 32-yard dime to David Montgomery down the sideline. Fields also used a magic act to convert a critical third-and-12. The second-year quarterback evaded three defenders, bought time with his legs, and eventually found Equanimeous St. Brown for a 14-yard gain. Four plays later, Montgomery plowed into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown to tie the game. The Falcons retook the lead with a 53-yard field goal with 1:47 remaining, leaving just enough time for Fields to play the role of hero. But once again, the Bears’ offense couldn’t deliver with all the chips on the table. Fields rushed for 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 picked off by Hawkins as another Bears’ game-winning drive went up in flames. Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast. DownloadDownload MyTeams Today! This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

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