DETROIT – Justin Fields once again demonstrated his game-breaking ability early in Sunday's 41-10 loss to the Lions at Ford Field.
The second-year quarterback rushed for 105 of his team-high 132 yards in the first quarter—including runs of 31 and 60 yards—staking the Bears to a 10-7 lead.
The 31-yarder came on a nifty play design. On the Bears' opening possession, they faced third-and-1 from their own 48. Tight end Cole Kmet went in motion, stopped behind center Sam Mustipher, took the snap and pitched the ball to Fields, who was lined up in shotgun formation.
Fields raced to his left, picking up key blocks by right guard Teven Jenkins, left tackle Braxton Jones, receiver N'Keal Harry and running back David Montgomery. It was a new wrinkle to a play that the Bears ran Nov. 6 against the Dolphins when Kmet went in motion, took the snap and picked up a first down by powering forward for a 1-yard gain on third-and-1.
"We've had it in for a quite a while," Kmet said. "When we did the first sneak, we had it in the next week. We just haven't had an opportunity to call it. [Offensive coordinator] Luke [Getsy] wanted to get it off the script and wanted to see how it looked, so we get to that short yardage situation. It worked out pretty well."
With the 31-yard gain, Fields passed Michael Vick (1,039 in 2006) for the second most rushing yards in a season by an NFL quarterback. With 1,143 yards, Fields needs 64 yards to eclipse Lamar Jackson's record of 1,206 yards set in 2019.
On the Bears' second drive, Fields scrambled up the middle on third-and-four from his own 31 and raced all the way to the Lions' 9, setting up a field goal.
Fields' 105 yards in the first quarter were the most rushing yards by an NFL quarterback in any quarter over the past 45 seasons. In addition, the 105 yards were the most by a Bears player in the first period since at least 1991.
Downhill from there
After the promising start, the Lions dominated the final three quarters of Sunday's game, outscoring the Bears 34-0. For the second straight week, the Bears (3-13) produced their only touchdown of the game on their opening drive. They've now been outscored 46-3 in the second half by the Bills (29-3) and Lions (17-0) in back-to-back defeats.
While Fields excelled on the ground, the passing game struggled. He completed 7 of 21 passes for 75 yards with one TD, one interception and a 40.8 rating while being sacked a season-high seven times. Bears wide receivers combined for just three receptions for 36 yards, with Equanimeous St. Brown catching two passes for 20 yards and Harry having one reception for 16 yards.
"Their pass rushers are pretty good," said coach Matt Eberflus. "I felt like they had pressure inside and also pressure on the edge. They had that one series where they had back-to-back sacks, but I just felt like they were collapsing the pocket pretty good."
After scoring at least 24 points in five straight games, the Bears have now failed to top 20 points in their last five contests.
"That's our charge as coaches to figure it out," Eberflus said. "That's our charge to move the ball down the field and score points, and we did that the first couple drives. We've got to continue doing that in the course of the game. We've got to continue doing what we're doing at the beginning of the game and just extending that."
Injuries mounting again
The Bears were down to their third right guard before halftime Sunday. Jenkins exited with a neck injury in the first quarter and replacement Michael Schofield III left with a knee injury in the second period. Third-year pro Dieter Eiselen entered the contest and played the rest of the game.
"It's tough, but that's the nature of being a center," Mustipher said. "You've got to be able to get guys on the same page and get everybody moving in the same direction as a unit. It's definitely a challenge when you have guys rotating in and out, going down with injuries. It's tough. It's a violent sport. But I thought the guys who stepped up today did so admirably."
This and that
Sunday marked the Bears' most lopsided loss to the Lions since a 55-20 defeat on Thanksgiving Day 1997 … With Fields' 13-yard TD pass to Kmet, the Bears have now scored on their opening possession in NFL-high 12 games this season (four TDs and eight field goals) … Cairo Santos made his only field-goal attempt of the game, a 23-yarder, and has now converted 45 straight field goals under 40 yards … The Bears were a held to a season-low nine first downs.
On the shelf
Linebacker Sterling Weatherford (illness) and guard Ja'Tyre Carter (back) sat out Sunday's game. Other Bears inactives were quarterback Tim Boyle, cornerback Breon Borders, running back Darrynton Evans, cornerback Michael Ojemudia and tackle Alex Leatherwood.