Bears offer 'proof' of upward trajectory with win over Lions

CHICAGO -- Three weeks ago, the Chicago Bears squandered their chance at victory after blowing a 12-point lead to the Detroit Lions in the final 4:15 of a 31-26 loss. In Sunday's Week 14 rematch against their NFC North rival, the Bears built an identical 12-point lead in the final period and took down the top team in their division after holding the Lions scoreless in the second half.

The 28-13 win marked Chicago's first back-to-back victories over division opponents since the 2019 season. Sunday was also the first time Chicago won consecutive games under coach Matt Eberflus.

The redemption the Bears earned at Soldier Field came via another dominant performance from Chicago's defense, which forced three turnovers and held Detroit's top-five offense to 13 points. The Bears offense scored 18 second-half points.

"It's just like anything. You want to see the proof of it," Eberflus said. "To have a win like this, it's proof for those guys. It's proof for our staff. It's proof really for the Chicago Bears fans."

Chicago (5-8, 2-3) has won three of its last four games against the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings and Lions after starting the season 2-7. The Bears face two teams with losing records over the final four games -- the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons -- and aim to lean on the momentum they've built over the past month to reach their next milestone: doubling their 2022 win total (3).

"It's big time," wide receiver DJ Moore said. "We should have won when we went there, and we had to get them back when they came to our house. To have this one is extra special. To have back-to-back is extra special, too. It hasn't been done. We're looking to stack more."

Quarterback Justin Fields completed 19 of 33 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown in his first home game since dislocating his thumb on Oct. 15. Fields also notched 12 rushing attempts for 58 yards and a touchdown. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Fields is averaging 90 rushing yards per game in his career against the Lions, the most by any quarterback against a single opponent in NFL history (minimum 5 games).

A creative play design from offensive coordinator Luke Getsy led Moore to record his first career rushing touchdown after he received a direct snap on the Bears' opening drive. For the rest of the first half, Chicago's offense struggled to move the ball and fell behind 13-10.

It wasn't until the end of the third quarter that a momentum-changing play would swing the game in the Bears' favor for good. Six plays after getting the ball at the 50-yard line, Chicago's offense stayed on the field on fourth-and-13 in an attempt to draw Detroit offsides.

Fields barked out a "dummy" protection adjustment with the Bears spread out on the Lions' 38-yard line. When Detroit defensive end Aidan Hutchinson jumped into the neutral zone, Bears center Lucas Patrick quickly snapped the ball to Fields, who connected with Moore for a touchdown.

"It usually doesn't work," tight end Cole Kmet said. "I gave [wide receiver [Darnell] Mooney some weird sign and Mooney looked at me like 'What the hell?' I just knocked my head. Made a call or whatever. I can't believe they jumped, but they did. We took advantage."

Eberflus credited Fields with his execution of a play that the Bears have routinely repped but not often executed with such precision.

"It's Justin," Eberflus said. "It's the hard count. He did a really good job of hard counting and just a really good job there, and they got them to jump. His use of cadence. That's what it was."

Fields added: "It's not a challenge because we practice it multiple times a week. We're used to it. Might have happened like three times this week during practice and walk-throughs. We practice it. It happens every week, and the guys are ready for it, and we executed it. It ended up being a big play."

The Bears scored again on their next possession after linebacker T.J. Edwards recovered a fumbled snap by Lions quarterback Jared Goff on first down. Fields found the end zone on an 11-yard scramble on third-and-11 to give the Bears a familiar 12-point lead.

Unlike three weeks ago, Chicago remained in the drivers' seat by keeping the Lions out of the end zone in the third and fourth quarters after intercepting Goff twice and sacking the Detroit QB three times in a span of six plays late in the fourth quarter.

Chicago's nine interceptions since Week 10 are the most in the NFL in that span. From Weeks 1-9, the Bears totaled six interceptions.

"We're just trying to get to the playoffs," cornerback Jaylon Johnson said. "We know what we've got to do to be able to get to the playoffs, so we're just trying to do what we can and just keep fighting like we've been playing with all season."