The Bears opened Sunday's game against the Lions by scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead en route to a 24-14 win.
It was a complete about-face from a week earlier when the offense sputtered throughout a 26-6 loss to the Browns. In that game, the Bears failed to score a touchdown, mustered only 47 total yards and yielded nine sacks.
Sunday versus Detroit, the offense produced three TDs and 373 total yards while limiting the Lions to only one sack.
"I want to just give our players a lot of credit for stepping up," said coach Matt Nagy. "They came out here and they won the game. They played hard. They accepted the challenge, in particular our offensive unit with that offensive line, the tight ends, running backs, Justin [Fields], wide receivers, all in all from the start.
"They did it the first two drives, got a nice little lead, let our defense play. We talked about, 'Let's have all three phases come out, let's play together, let's fight, let's be tough.' That's what we're about, and responding to adversity. They did that. The players should get a lot of credit for being able to come out here and do what they did."
Major improvement: Fields' second NFL start Sunday was much more impressive than his first in Cleveland. The rookie quarterback completed 11 of 17 passes for 209 yards—including a 64-yard bomb to Darnell Mooney—and picked up a key first down with an 11-yard scramble on third-and-4 from the Lions' 20 that sustained a touchdown drive.
"With Justin bouncing back from last week, what a great job for him to be able to respond to what happened; to learn, to get better," Nagy said. "That's what this game is all about, right? You're a rookie quarterback in a tough environment your first start, you come back at home and you bounce back, and he did that. He made great plays. He made great throws, great decision-making. His teammates stepped up for him: the defense did, the special teams, his coaches did, and for that I am proud of all those guys."
Seeing red: Just as noteworthy as the offense bouncing back was the defense's stingy performance in the red zone. The Bears held the Lions to just one touchdown on five trips inside their 20. Detroit did not score after reaching the 8, 5 and 3 on its first three possessions and then again from the 8 late in the game.
On those four drives, the defense generated two takeaways and twice forced the Lions to turn the ball over on downs via fourth-down incomplete passes. Bilal Nichols recovered a botched shotgun snap and Robert Quinn's strip/sack of Jared Goff produced a fumble that Khalil Mack recovered.
"[To] get those stops, that's important," Nagy said. "You're taking points off the board. When you play that way, you can win football games."
On the ground: You can also win football games when you rush for 188 yards and three touchdowns on 39 carries like the Bears did Sunday. David Montgomery ran for 106 yards and two TDs on 23 attempts, while Damien Williams added 55 yards and one TD on eight carries.
Unfortunately, both running backs exited Sunday's game with injuries. Montgomery left after hurting his knee on a 5-yard carry with 11:00 left in the fourth quarter, and Williams injured his quad while being dropped for a 3-yard loss with 2:35 to play. Rookie Khalil Herbert finished the contest in the backfield.
Dating back to last season, Montgomery has rushed for 10 touchdowns in his last nine games and topped 100 yards five times in his last 10 contests.
"David's a leader," Fields said. "He's one of the team captains. He talks to us before every game. I mean, he's a dog. He's bringing the same energy every day at practice and every game. I hope it's not too serious. But you know, even if it is, he's still going to be a leader on this team and still going to continue to lead this offense each and every day."
The Bears also lost defensive tackle Akiem Hicks to a groin injury he sustained on the Lions' first play from scrimmage when he tried to tackle running back Jamaal Williams.
Group effort: Nagy acknowledged that offensive coordinator Bill Lazor called plays Sunday but also stressed that game-planning is a group effort.
"In regards to the play-calling, Bill did a great job," Nagy said. "But we all get together, we all talk through how we're going to call the game, and we do that when I'm calling plays too. Us as a staff, we get together. I think that's important for everybody to know.
"When we build a gameplan together, whether it's the offensive line coach with Juan [Castillo], or it's our tight ends coach (Clancy Barone), or wide receiver coach (Mike Furrey), etc., we do it together. Then, in the end, I have a great opportunity to say, 'Yes, I like this,' or, 'no, I don't,' as the head coach."
Welcome back: Nose tackle Eddie Goldman played in his first regular-season game since December 2019. The 6-3, 325-pounder opted out of the 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 concerns and then missed the first three games this year with a knee injury.
"Eddie Goldman affects plays by just being out there," Nagy said. "He can affect other players having good results by him being out there. He's very, very underrated. I'm excited to watch the tape and see what he did and how he helped impact the game."
Watch the Bears' Week 4 game against the Detroit Lions unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers at Soldier Field.