CLEVELAND — Key third- and fourth-down stops by the defense and booming punts by Pat O'Donnell kept the Bears in Sunday's road game against the Browns for a while. But they ultimately couldn't overcome an anemic offense in a disappointing 26-6 loss at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Through the first three quarters, the Bears defense held the Browns to 13 points and registered five sacks. But the offense failed to score a touchdown in the game while mustering six first downs and 47 total yards, converting 1-of-11 third downs and allowing nine sacks.
Making his first NFL start in place of the injured Andy Dalton, rookie quarterback Justin Fields completed 6 of 20 passes for 68 yards and a 41.2 passer rating.
The loss dropped the Bears to 1-2.
Here's a blow-by-blow account of what transpired in the game:
The Bears defense registered key fourth-down sacks on each of the Browns' first two possessions of the game. First, Robert Quinn and Angelo Blackson teamed by to drop Baker Mayfield for a nine-yard loss on fourth-and-5 from the Bears' 38. Mayfield entered Week 3 leading the NFL with an 81.6 completion percentage after connecting on 19 of 21 passes last Sunday in a win over the Texans but was 1 of 5 on Cleveland's first possession.
The Bears offense took advantage of the good field position, taking a 3-0 lead on Cairo Santos' 47-yard field goal midway through the first quarter. The kick was set up by David Montgomery's 16-yard run on his team's first play from scrimmage.
The Browns were on the move again, but Khalil Mack sacked Mayfield for an 11-yard loss on fourth-and-1 from the Bears' 21. On the previous play on third-and-1, Duke Shelley dropped running back Demetric Felton for no gain on a swing pass with an excellent open-field tackle.
The Browns tied the score 3-3 on Chase McLaughlin's booming 57-yard field goal with 12:31 left in the second quarter. There have only been three longer field goals by Bears opponents in franchise history.
At one point midway through the second quarter, the Browns held huge advantages in first downs (11-1) and total yards (135-14). But the game remained tied 3-3 thanks to key stops by the Bears defense and O'Donnell punts of 61, 61 and 52 yards that flipped the field.
The Browns eventually took a 10-3 lead on Mayfield's 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Austin Hooper with :19 left in the first half.
After the Bears opened the third quarter with a three-and-out, the Browns extended their lead to 13-3 on McLaughlin's 41-yard field goal. The kick was set up by Mayfield's 26-yard pass to Odell Beckham Jr. Cleveland settled for the field goal after Mack, who had returned after missing the second quarter with a foot injury, recorded his second sack of the game.
The Bears closed the gap to 13-6 on Santos' 22-yard field goal with 1:43 left in the third quarter. The kick followed a 42-yard pass interference penalty on safety John Johnson III that nullified his interception and gave the Bears the ball at the Browns' 12.
But the Browns answered with a 6-play, 75-yard drive capped by Kareem Hunt's 27-yard touchdown run that widened the margin to 20-6 early in the fourth quarter. Deon Bush, Khyiris Tonga and Eddie Jackson all missed tackles on the play.
McLaughlin followed with field goals of 52 and 28 yards on the Browns' next two possessions, increasing Cleveland's lead to 26-6.