A slow start by the Bears on both sides of the ball enabled the Cardinals to race to a 21-7 lead en route to a 33-22 victory Sunday at Soldier Field.
The Bears offense committed turnovers on its first two possessions and the defense allowed touchdowns on its first three drives, enabling Arizona to take control early on a windy, cold and rainy afternoon in Chicago.
Andy Dalton threw four interceptions that the Cardinals converted into 23 points. Arizona took over following the four picks at the Bears' 28, 15, 28 and 12.
"Big picture when you look at this game, stating the obvious is the turnovers," said coach Matt Nagy. "Having the four interceptions, the short fields, they came away with three touchdowns and a field goal. That's what it comes down to is those turnovers. The momentum and the short fields for them against that offense and that team, it's hard to overcome."
Returning to action after missing three games with an ankle injury, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray accounted for all four Arizona touchdowns with passes of 20 yards to receiver DeAndre Hopkins and 23 yards to running back James Conner and runs of 9 and 3 yards.
Bears running back David Montgomery rushed for 90 yards and one TD on 21 carries and caught a game-high eight passes for 51 yards.
The Bears dropped to 4-8, losing for the sixth time in seven games. The Cardinals improved to 10-2, maintaining the NFL's best record.
Here's what transpired in the game:
The Bears committed a turnover on the game's third play from scrimmage as Dalton's high pass deflected off receiver Jakeem Grant Sr.'s hand and was intercepted by safety Jalen Thompson, who returned it six yards to the Chicago 28.
The Cardinals converted the takeaway into a 21-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Hopkins on fourth-and-3, giving Arizona a 7-0 lead. Hopkins made an excellent catch, beating Jaylon Johnson down the right sideline.
The Bears followed by advancing to the Cardinals' 20. But on third-and-six, Cole Kmet juggled a pass into the air and it was intercepted by safety Budda Baker, who returned it 78 yards to the Chicago 15.
Arizona capitalized again, as Murray scrambled for a 9-yard touchdown on third-and-goal, widening the margin to 14-0 late in the first quarter.
The Bears answered with an impressive 13-play, 77-yard drive capped by Montgomery's 1-yard TD run, cutting the deficit to 14-7 midway through the second quarter. The drive was highlighted by Montgomery's 24-yard run and Dalton's 11-yard pass to Grant on fourth-and-8.
The Cardinals responded quickly with a 7-play, 74-yard drive that took just 3:10 and was capped by Murray's 23-yard TD pass to Conner. Conner made a one-handed spinning catch of a high pass, broke a tackle attempt by Xavier Crawford and raced down the right sideline to give Arizona a 21-7 lead.
The Cardinals widened the margin to 24-7 on Matt Prater's 33-yard field goal on the opening possession of the second half.
But the Bears answered with a 13-play, 73-yard drive that took 7:03 and was capped by Dalton's 1-yard TD pass to Jimmy Graham, cutting the deficit to 24-14 with 2:49 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth period, Dalton's pass was deflected at the line by outside linebacker Chandler Jones and intercepted by cornerback Byron Murphy Jr., who returned it 13 yards to the Chicago 28.
The Cardinals turned the takeaway into Prater's 25-yard field goal, increasing their lead to 27-14 with 8:31 remaining in regulation. The kick came after Robert Quinn dropped Conner for a 6-yard loss on third-and-goal from the 1.
Dalton followed with his fourth interception of the game. His short screen pass intended for Montgomery was picked off by defensive tackle Zach Allen, who rumbled 26 yards to the Bears' 12.
Murray converted the turnover into a 3-yard TD run that made the score 33-14.
The Bears closed to within 33-22 on Dalton's 8-yard TD pass to Grant on fourth-and-4 and a two-point conversion pass to Graham with 2:45 to play.
See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off against the Cardinals in Chicago.