A stroll through the Chicago Bears locker room after their 31-28 comeback loss to the Denver Broncos was fittingly somber. The team, now 0-4, looked to be on their way to their first win of the season staked to a 21-point lead.
Instead, they were outscored 24-7 in the second half and 17-0 in the fourth quarter alone. One of those fourth-quarter scores was a sack-fumble on Justin Fields that went for a touchdown.
Fields finished with career-highs of 335 passing yards on 80% completion with four touchdowns on the day. He ran the ball just four times four 25 yards while spreading the ball around to eight different receivers. But he was also sacked four times, had the fumble-6, and threw an interception on the Bears’ final drive with a chance to tie or go for the win.
“It hurts,” Fields said at the podium after the game.
Loss to Broncos ‘Hurts’ Bears, And It Showed
“Just to come out with … the lead that we had, and we weren’t able to finish it off. Well, I wasn’t able to finish it off. So, of course, it hurts.”
The quarterback said “I don’t know” when asked how he turns that emotion into a positive for a locker room that found itself shellshocked. After all, their 21-7 lead at halftime was the largest since Week 17 of the 2021 season.
And Denver had arguably looked even worse in their 70-20 loss against the Miami Dolphins than the Bears did versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3, though they still lost 41-10. Russell Wilson also had been struggling to finish games while the Broncos lost starting running back Javonte Williams to injury during the contest.
Instead, the Bears’ pass rush failed even with the big lead and the defense collapsed.
The Bears blew a 21-point lead in their loss to the Broncos, tied for the largest blown lead in franchise history (2002 vs the Patriots, 1953 vs the 49ers). pic.twitter.com/QQrkOWxMBj
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 1, 2023
They got just one sack on the day, which was split between Zacch Pickens and Dominique Robinson.
“At the moment it felt good,” Robinson said of his first sack – and the Bears’ second – of the season. “At the end of the day, we lost. When you lose like that, it don’t really matter.
“I feel like we just didn’t execute the way we needed to, Keep Russell contained in the pocket the way we needed to – like we did in the first half. So that’s what happens … We got a quick turnaround so can’t really sit on this like we usually could in a normal week.”
That was a common theme.
Bears ‘Disappointed’ After Loss to Broncos
Wilson hit a chunk pass down the field to Marvin Mims Jr. for 48 yards and Jerry Jeudy got 24 yards on another on two separate drives that both ended in touchdowns in the second half.
“Just disappointed, frustrated. But that’s how it goes,” linebacker T.J. Edwards said after the game. “Gotta figure out a way to get this thing turned around, for sure. … We just keep going There’s no quit. We just gotta keep going. Figure out ways to pull those out, and we will.”
Edwards led the team with seven solo tackles. Right behind him was Tremaine Edmunds who had six and spoke with a similar tone at his locker after the game, noting the tough loss but that all they can do is push forward. Both players came from organizations that were competing for or played in Super Bowls in the last few years.
— Clocker Sports (@ClockerSports) October 2, 2023
“Just learn from it,” Edwards said. “This next week’s coming up quick so we gotta get ready.”
The Bears host the 2-2 Washington Commanders who just took Edwards’ former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, to overtime, falling 34-31. It was notably after a loss to the Commanders last season that sparked an offensive turnaround for the Bears.
“Just think we gotta execute a little better, and that’s everybody,” Edwards said. “There’s no pointing fingers or anything like that. We just gotta be better as a unit.”
Bears Offense Comes Up Short
Running back Khalil Herbert had the second-best day on the ground of his career with 103 yards versus the Broncos on just 18 carries. He out carried backup Roschon Johnson 18-5. But, like Robinson, Herbert was unable to truly relish his best day as the Bears lead back because of the outcome.
“O-line was just doing a great job of opening up holes,” Herbert said. “I always come in with the mindset no matter how many carries I get, trying to go score, trying to make a big play. It just happened today, they let me do my thing so I was able to do something.
Herbert got the carry on fourth down on the Bears’ penultimate possession, coming up just short on a play that was blown up by Broncos linebacker Alex Singleton.
“I think it’s a lot of execution, critical errors at times,” rookie Darnell Wright said. “I had holding and a block in the back. So just critical errors, trying to play hard but within the rules of the game.”
Add this disappointment to the sour turn the situation around Chase Claypool and the Bears are still falling apart faster than they can pull things together.