Through three quarters Sunday at Soldier Field, the Bears were outplaying the rival Packers fairly decisively on both sides of the ball.
Returning to action after missing one game with a left shoulder injury, Justin Fields picked up where he left off before getting hurt. The dynamic second-year quarterback produced more highlight-reel plays with a sensational 55-yard touchdown scramble and a 56-yard completion to Equanimeous St. Brown that set up another TD.
The Bears defense, playing without several injured starters, was making longtime nemesis Aaron Rodgers look mortal for the first time in recent memory, punctuated by back-to-back three-and-outs to open the second half.
It appeared that all was well when the Bears entered the fourth quarter with a 19-10 lead. Until it wasn't.
In the final period, the Packers tallied two touchdowns and one field goal on three straight drives and intercepted two Fields passes in the final 2:52 in outscoring the Bears 18-0 in the fourth quarter to win 28-19. Fields' passer rating dropped from 114.0 after three quarters to 75.7 for the game.
Stepping up: With leading receiver Darnell Mooney out for the season due to an ankle injury, St. Brown and N'Keal Harry helped fill the void.
St. Brown caught three passes for 85 yards, including a career-long 56-yard reception. Midway through the second quarter, St. Brown beat Pro Bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander downfield and caught a perfectly thrown long pass from Fields in stride. On the next play, David Montgomery's 7-yard touchdown run gave the Bears a 16-3 lead.
Harry also produced a career long reception, hauling in a 49-yard pass from Fields early in the fourth quarter. The Bears quarterback scrambled out of the pocket and chucked the ball downfield to Harry, who made an acrobatic leaping catch.
"Just instincts really," Harry said. "It was a good job by Justin getting out of the pocket. He threw it up and I just went and did what I'm used to doing."
The Bears acquired Harry in a trade with the Patriots July 13. He hurt his ankle in training camp and missed the first six games of the season. He played in three contests and then was a healthy scratch for three straight weeks.
Sunday marked his first game action since Nov. 6 against the Dolphins.
"It feels good, but at the end of the day I know I could do more," Harry said. "I know I could make a bigger impact. So I've just got to really lock in these last few weeks and make sure I'm ready to go.
"I've been working really hard trying to make sure I stay mentally ready, physically ready, so I've just got to take advantage of every opportunity moving forward."
Adjusting on the fly: The Bears running game took two hits when fullback Khari Blasingame came down with an illness Saturday night and was unable to play and tight end Trevon Wesco exited with a leg injury on the third play from scrimmage.
"When you have a fullback like Khari that we have, he's instrumental of our offense being able to do all the lead blocking and all the different things that we do," said coach Matt Eberflus. "I thought the offensive coaches did a really good job of getting Wesco ready to go because he's our guy that really steps into that role. Then Wesco gets hurt … so then our offense had to move and do a good job with adjusting during those two things that happened. I think they did a good job."
The Bears rushed for 155 yards and two TDs on 25 carries. Fields ran for a team-high 71 yards on six attempts, while Montgomery added 61 yards on 14 carries.
No excuses: The normally reliable Cairo Santos missed both a field goal and an extra point for the first time in 47 career games with the Bears.
After pushing an extra point attempt wide right in the second quarter, Santos' 40-yard field goal try early in the fourth period was blocked by Green Bay defensive lineman Dean Lowry. The kick could have extended the Bears' lead to 22-17.
"It just didn't go my way today," Santos said. "Just got to do my job. I'm done making excuses out there. It's frustrating. I try putting my 'A' product every day and I feel like I've done a great job of that all year. I feel confident in saying that, [but] on Sunday the extra point consistency is not there. I've just got to do my job."
Santos has now missed four extra points this season, the most in his nine-year NFL career. Two came in monsoon-like conditions in a Week 1 win over the 49ers, but the third proved to be costly in a 31-30 loss to the Lions Nov. 13.
Santos' missed field goal Sunday was only his second of the season. He made his two other attempts from 40 and 28 yards and is now 18 of 20 this year (90.0 percent) and 75 of 84 over four seasons (89.3 percent) with the Bears.
Check out the on-field action as the Bears and Packers renew the NFL's oldest rivalry Sunday at Soldier Field.
Skid continues: The Bears have now lost six straight games and have dropped nine of 10 for the first time since 2002. In their series with the Packers, they've now lost eight in a row, 13 of 14, 17 of 19 and 23 of 26 … Rodgers' 85.7 passer rating was his lowest in his last six games against the Bears, but he has now thrown 43 touchdown passes and two interceptions in his last 17 starts versus Chicago. Rodgers completed 18 of 31 passes for 182 yards with one TD Sunday.
This and that: With Santos' 40-yard field goal, the Bears have now scored on their opening possession in an NFL-high 10 games this season (two touchdowns and eight field goals) … The Bears offense generated a season-high 409 total yards in the game … The Bears failed to record a takeaway for the fourth time in five games … The Bears matched a season-high with three giveaways. It was their first contest with more than one giveaway since Week 6 against the Commanders … The Bears also did not register a sack for the third time in their last five games and had no quarterback hits.