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Rapid Recap: Bears' strong start leads to win over Cardinals


The Bears rushed for a season-high 250 yards on 39 carries and Justin Fields threw for one touchdown and ran for another in a 27-16 win over the Cardinals Sunday at Soldier Field.

The running game was led by Khalil Herbert's 112 yards on 20 attempts and Fields' 97 yards on nine carries. Roschon Johnson added 37 yards on nine runs.

"The offensive line did a great job," Fields said. "In the first quarter, we were dominant in the run game. I felt like after I tossed the ball or handed the ball off, Khalil had a lot of space to run. They were like highways out there. The Cardinals adjusted well in the second half and there weren't as many big gaps as there were in the first half. [But the] O-line did a great job blocking [and] Khalil [and] Roschon did a great job running the ball."

The Bears defense was led by nickel back Kyler Gordon, who tied for the team lead with nine tackles while also recording a sack and a pass breakup.

"He's great," said coach Matt Eberflus. "He's another energy guy, another passion guy like [Jaquan] Brisker and a lot of our guys, and he brought it today. That position is a highlighted position on our defense. You need a special guy. He does a lot of things in the run and the pass, in the pressure game, and he's pretty much good at all of it. He's going to be a heck of a talent."

Cole Kmet caught four passes for a career-high 107 yards before sustaining a knee injury on a 29-yard reception late in the first half. The fourth-year pro returned for a few plays but sat out the entire second half.

Fields completed 15 of 27 passes for 170 yards with one TD, one interception and a 71.5 passer rating. Arizona's Kyler Murray connected on 24 of 38 passes for 230 yards with two TDs and a 97.5 passer rating. He also rushed for 32 yards on five carries.

With Sunday's victory, the Bears improved to 6-9. They've now won four straight home games and three of their last four contests overall.

The Bears took control of Sunday's game in the first half, bolting to a 21-0 lead as their defense forced three straight Arizona punts and their offense scored three consecutive touchdowns on drives of 74, 90 and 54 yards.

Fields' 3-yard touchdown scramble gave the Bears a 7-0 lead with 6:16 left in the first quarter. The score came one play after a defensive holding penalty nullified a third-down sack of Fields, giving the Bears an automatic first down.

The TD was set up by Kmet's career-long 53-yard reception on the first play of the drive. Fields rolled to his left and heaved downfield to Kmet, who came back to catch the ball.

The Bears extended their lead to 14-0 on Herbert's 11-yard touchdown run around left end with 12:54 remaining in the second quarter. The 11-play, 90-yard drive was highlighted by Fields' 20-yard completion to Kmet between two defenders and Fields' 24-yard gain on a designed run around left end.

On the Bears' next possession, Fields hit Marcedes Lewis for a 1-yard score to make it 21-0 with 7:12 to play in the first half. The TD was set up by Fields' 29-yard pass to Kmet, who surpassed 100 yards on the play for the first time in his career.

The Cardinals cut the deficit to 21-7 as Murray beat a Bears blitz by hitting running back James Conner in the left flat for a 16-yard touchdown with 2:27 left in the half.

Arizona closed to within 21-10 on Matt Prater's 55-yard field goal on the opening possession of the second half.

The Bears answered with Cairo Santos' 49-yard field goal into the wind, increasing their lead to 24-10 with 1:04 remaining in the third quarter.

Fields' 39-yard scramble later gave the Bears a first down at the Arizona 14. But on the next play, his pass intended for Herbert in the left corner of the end zone was intercepted by safety Jalen Thompson.

"Offensively, we have to do a better job of seizing that momentum," Eberflus said. "Justin gets that big run in the second half; we have to score there. We'll focus on that because we've been talking about sudden change and momentum … We've got to cash in there at that time in the fourth quarter."

The Cardinals capitalized on the turnover, as receiver Greg Dortch turned a short pass over the middle into a 38-yard touchdown with a nifty run. Arizona was unsuccessful on the subsequent two-point conversion but trailed only 24-16 with 6:37 to play.

On their next possession, however, the Cardinals turned the ball over on downs when Murray threw an incomplete pass deep down the right sideline on fourth-and-6 from the Arizona 27 with 2:57 remaining.

Santos all but sealed the win with a 29-yard field goal with 1:02 to play, giving the Bears a two-score lead at 27-16.

"Overall, our guys did a really nice job of finishing the fourth quarter, did what they had to do to get this win," Eberflus said. "[I'm] certainly happy for those guys."

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