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Quick Hits: Montgomery excels in Bears' loss to Cardinals

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Bears running back David Montgomery provided a bright spot in Sunday's 33-22 loss to the Cardinals, generating a season-high 141 yards from scrimmage.

The 2019 third-round pick from Iowa State rushed for a game-high 90 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries and caught a team-leading eight passes for 51 yards.

"I thought it was great to get David going," said coach Matt Nagy. "That was an emphasis for us; we [wanted] to come in and get him going a little bit more this game, be it the run and the pass. He had some good targets and they did a good job checking it down when we had him or throwing it to the flat.

"I thought he ran hard. David was motivated after the Detroit game. He wanted to be able to really get back. He's hard on himself. But to have 21 carries and average 4.3 yards per rush, that was good for the offensive line."

Despite his impressive performance, the only number that mattered to Montgomery was the final score.

"I really don't care about it individually," he said. "Honestly, I couldn't care less. I'll be way more happy if I had 12 yards averaging 0.1 yards per carry if we got the win. I couldn't care less about individual stats because the feeling that you get when you win is completely different than having good stats when you lose. I'm telling you that from my perspective. So, individual stats, I don't care. I couldn't care less. I just want to win."

Pick four: Andy Dalton threw four interceptions for the first time since Dec. 15, 2019 when he played for the Bengals in a 34-13 loss to the Patriots. But he was the victim of some bad luck, with his first two picks caroming off receiver Jakeem Grant Sr. and tight end Cole Kmet and the third being deflected by outside linebacker Chandler Jones.

"The one thing from Andy is Andy has done a great job in his career of being smart with the football," Nagy said. "He's very smart. He knows where to go. He knows when to get the football out. There's no stat in the NFL for interceptions that occur that aren't on the quarterback, but there probably should be."

Showing improvement: Montgomery's performance wasn't the only positive on offense Sunday. The unit scored three TDs for the first time since a Week 2 win over the Bengals; converted 6-of-15 third-down opportunities and 4-of-4 fourth-down plays; scored TDs on all three red-zone possessions; and produced a season-high 26 first downs.

But Nagy took little solace in those bright spots, saying: "That stuff is nice to have happen when you win. The only thing that matter is winning and losing."

Gadget play: The Bears' longest play from a scrimmage, a 34-yard pass, came on a trick play in the third quarter. Montgomery took a direct shotgun snap out of the Wildcat formation and handed off to Grant, who pitched the ball to Dalton. Dalton then eluded a rusher and hit Grant streaking down the right sideline.

"We've had that in a little bit," Nagy said. "They played it well, and that was the secondary part of the play, throwing it to '17' down the sideline. Andy did a great job because he had a guy right in his face, made him miss, and went right from his first progression to his second progression, made a good throw. So, give those guys credit for executing it."

Man in the middle: Despite a hamstring injury that forced him to exit the Bears' Thanksgiving win over the Lions, Roquan Smith not only started Sunday but registered a team-high eight tackles and one tackle-for-loss. Smith was listed as questionable on the injury report after returning to practice Friday on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday. He entered Week 13 tied for fourth in the NFL with 112 tackles.

On the shelf: Bears players who sat out Sunday's game with injuries were quarterback Justin Fields (ribs), running back Damien Williams (calf), receivers Allen Robinson II (hamstring) and Marquise Goodwin (foot/ribs), defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (ankle) and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. (ribs). Safety Teez Tabor was also inactive.

Back at it: Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and receiver DeAndre Hopkins both returned after missing three games with ankle and hamstring injuries, respectively. Murray, who entered Week 13 leading the NFL with a 110.4 passer rating, completed 11 of 15 passes for 123 yards with two touchdowns and a 136.9 rating and rushed for 59 yards and two TDs on 10 carries. Hopkins caught two passes for 32 yards, including a 20-yard TD on Arizona's first drive of the game.

Top guys: The Bears fell to 3-3 this season against quarterbacks who have been selected with the first overall pick in the draft. They've defeated the Bengals' Joe Burrow (2020) once and the Lions' Jared Goff (2016) twice and lost to the Rams' Matthew Stafford (2009), the Browns' Baker Mayfield (2018) and Murray (2019).

Hitting the road: The away team has now won the last six meetings between the Bears and Cardinals, with the clubs alternating wins and losses. The Bears have won matchups in 2006, 2012 and 2018 and lost in 2009, 2015 and 2021.

Statistically speaking: The Bears defense has now limited its last four opponents to 280, 299, 239 and 257 total yards after permitting 408 and 467 in its previous two outings in losses to the Buccaneers and 49ers … The Cardinals improved to 7-0 on the road this season and have won all seven games by at least 10 points, becoming just the third team in NFL history to record seven double-digit road victories in a season … After committing four turnovers in their first five games, the Bears have 15 turnovers in their last seven contests.

See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off against the Cardinals in Chicago.

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