Well, that was certainly exciting, wasn’t it?
The Chicago Bears hosted the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The expectation after the team traded Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith in successive weeks was that the defense was going to be horrible and that the offense was going to have to try to keep up.
That’s exactly what happened.
The Bears defense had no answer for the explosive combination of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle and the Bears offense had to score a bunch of points as well just to keep up. In the end, not even a Superman effort from Justin Fields could stop the Dolphins from winning, 35-32.
The loss for the Bears spoiled what was a record-setting day for Fields. He set the single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 178. He also added four touchdowns, one by land and three by air.
David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert obviously took a backseat to Fields as the former ran for just 36 yards on 14 carries while the latter had just 23 yards on 7 attempts.
In the passing game, Fields didn’t have a lot of success, but that’s been par for the course this season. The team tried to integrate new wide receiver Chase Claypool almost immediately, targeting him twice on the opening drive. The first was a one-yard quick strike that got blown up immediately. The second was a deep pass down the sideline that drew a pass interference.
Claypool ended the day with two catches on six targets for 13 yards, including one drop that I’m sure he’d like to have back.
That’s obviously not an eye-popping stat line from a guy they paid a likely Top 40 draft pick for, but it was not a bad offensive integration for a guy who has been with the team for less than a week. I guarantee better games are ahead.
On defense, Jack Sanborn saw a lot of action in the absence of Roquan Smith. He was second on the team with seven tackles. But he, like pretty much the entire defense, had trouble in coverage.
That defensive line couldn’t get much pressure on Tua Tagovailoa, but when they did they were able to rattle the Dolphins’ quarterback. I think this only enhances the need for help along the defensive line in the offseason, and also illustrates why I believe they should give the money they refused to give Smith to a pass rusher instead. It would be a much wiser investment.
Obviously when a player sets a record, you have to ask yourself if the performance was an anomaly or a harbinger of things to come. He’s not likely to hit that mark again — which is why it’s a record in the first place. But, there’s no reason to believe he can’t hit the century mark more times, at least until he gets some better weapons around him and is able to make strides in the passing game.
One time is special. Twice is encouraging. Three or more times becomes a sign of things to come. Fields and the offense have now strung together three-straight solid performances. And it’s been a long time — if not a lifetime — since Bears fans have said, “Boy, I hope the defense can get off the field so we can watch what this offense will do next.”
Next Sunday against the division rival Lions — who did Bears fans a favor this week in toppling the Packers — we will get that chance to see what’s next for Fields and the offense.
And I’m all in for that show.