The smoke could barely clear the field between Chicago Bears touchdowns on Sunday, which is an opening line that seemed almost impossible to even fathom just a few days ago. Facing an equally down-trodden if not more so Denver Broncos team at home in Week 4, the Bears got a banner first half from quarterback Justin Fields.
Fields completed his first 13 passes and finished the half 16-for-17 for 231 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to tight end Cole Kmet. The showing drew praise from former Bears quarterback Tyler Bray, who backed up Mitchell Trubisky in 2021.
“Fields is back baby,” posted Bray on October 1. “Waited four weeks for this”
Ex-Bears QB: Justin Fields ‘Is Back’
Justin Fields’ Perfect Half
Chicago tallied 224 yards of total offense to 110 yards for Denver by halftime and held a 21-7 lead. It was the most points they have scored in the first half since Week 17 of the 2021 season.
The Bears won that game 29-3 over the New York Giants. And, while the Broncos surpassed New York’s tally, they looked equally as incapable of stringing together enough plays to take advantage of a short-handed Bears secondary down three starters including veteran former All-Pro safety Eddie Jackson.
Still, they held Russell Wilson to 88 yards and one touchdown.
He completed 12-of-13 passes and escaped the pressure from the Bears’ defense multiple times. But the pass rush did get home once, with second-year EDGE Dominique Robinson and rookie defensive tackle Zacch Pickens combining for the takedown.
Chicago also started to find running lanes, with Khalil Herbert breaking off a 24-yarder on the drive that resulted in Fields’ third touchdown of the half leading to their largest lead at the break since Week 7 of last season when they went on to beat the New England Patriots 33-14. Herbert tallied 37 yards on five carries, thanks in large part to that big run.
He still split carries with rookie Roschon Johnson, though the latter had just two totes for four yards, perhaps cementing Herbert as the lead back barring some unforeseen change.
It was also the third game in a row that running back D’Onta Foreman was inactive.
Bears Bench Chase Claypool
Foreman was not the only healthy scratch, with wide receiver Chase Claypool also being made inactive amid a slow start and following comments that he did not feel he was being put in the best position to succeed.
Claypool impressed teammates and coaches during training camp. But these are recurring issues that have been with him since he was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Chicago is now seeking to trade the former second-round pick, per NFL insider Jordan Schultz.
Sources: The #Bears are looking to trade WR Chase Claypool, asking for a 5th-or-6th round pick in return.
GM Ryan Poles has been actively calling teams he believes are in the market for a receiver.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) October 1, 2023
Bears general manager Ryan Poles surrendered a pick that ended up being No. 32 overall since the Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick. Settling for a sixth or seventh-round pick so soon after acquiring Claypool – if true – shows how dire the front office feels it is to rectify the situation before it deteriorates further.
Claypool had said that he and the coaches were working towards making the fit “ideal”. That may mean yet another change of scenery for the pass-catcher.