The Bears win over Belichick and the Patriots wasn't shocking. Here's why.

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) celebrates after his touchdown against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. At left is Chicago Bears wide receiver Velus Jones Jr.

    Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) celebrates after his touchdown against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. At left is Chicago Bears wide receiver Velus Jones Jr.

Updated 10/27/2022 9:41 AM

The Mass Pike Miracle wasn't necessarily a shocking result as much as it was an illustration of all things that haven't gone that badly for the Bears this season.

As we've pointed out, the offense has been moving the ball, the defense is better than expected and the Bears have shown a competitive spirit in every game. While the pass protection hasn't been great, the run blocking is solid.


In other words, a lot of things have gone surprisingly well in what is essentially a rebuilding year. It all came together on a Monday night with muskets blaring.

Film Study would give the first game ball to defensive tackle Justin Jones and maybe a second to Armon Watts. Patriots coach Bill Belichick is renowned for taking away what the other team does best. Well, the Bears and Matt Eberflus turned the tables this time.

While fans across the country pondered which New England RB to start on their fantasy team, Kahlil Herbert and David Montgomery both outrushed counterparts Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris.

Jones, Watts, Roquan Smith and others shut down the Patriots run game, which set the stage for everything that happened.

The performance of the Bears defense in general is cause for optimism. GM Ryan Poles plugged in a bunch of low to midrange free agents, mostly guys who were backups on other teams, and it's worked fairly well. At the moment, the Bears rank 29th in rush defense, but 12th in total defense and seventh in scoring defense.

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Jones, Watts, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Mike Pennel, Joe Thomas and rookie fifth-rounder Dominique Robinson have all done well. LB Nicholas Morrow has been an upgrade over Danny Trevathan. Imagine what the defense might look like with a few offseason improvements.

Quinn one for defense

The trade of Robert Quinn probably won't have much effect on the Bears defense. The veteran had recorded just 1 sack this season. Sometimes standout rushers draw attention, which helps others on the line. But that doesn't seem to be the case here.

On Monday, there were just two plays when left tackle Trent Brown got help from the tight end against Quinn. So he wasn't really drawing double teams. No Bears pass rushers get upfield as fast as Quinn, but he also has a tendency to run himself out of the play since tackles try to push him beyond the QB.

Robinson was on the field for two of the three New England interceptions, tipping one of them at the line of scrimmage. Quinn did have one QB hit and he forced the fumble just before halftime. That was an odd play, with the Patriots counting on Stevenson to block Quinn while they handed the ball to WR Jakobi Meyers. Stevenson whiffed and the Bears had another turnover.


Field tripping

QB Justin Fields showed some growth Monday on a couple of plays in particular.

In the first half, he scrambled out of the pocket and kept his eyes downfield, hitting Equanimeous St. Brown for 19 yards.

Early in the third quarter, Fields rolled to his left and was looking deep, but wisely settled for a short throw to St. Brown, which ended up gaining 11.

Fields scrambling for 5 first downs every game is probably not sustainable and there are hills to climb when it comes to reading defenses. But for a second-year QB with shaky protection and no great receivers, he's done pretty well.

One good thing about adding so many QB runs is Fields was able to get on the ground or out of bounds. He was in greater danger of a hard hit while standing in the pocket. Patriots starter Mac Jones was oddly nervous at the start of the game, running out of the pocket with little pressure and open receivers downfield.

Pound the rock

The last edition of Film Study asked for more fullback-multiple tight end sets on running plays and quicker routes so Fields doesn't have to sit in the pocket too long. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy delivered on both fronts, and the Patriots helped out by giving Fields the zone-beater throws over the middle all night long.

FB Khari Blasingame was on the field for the first two plays. On the first one, he was split wide and it looked like Fields either forgot or declined to motion him into the backfield, because Blasingame game him a look after the play. His final snap count was 14, an improvement over 15 snaps in the previous two games combined. But the Bears could still use a lot more fullback.

Best play I

This was actually a series of plays, but ever since the Green Bay game, it's been obvious the Bears are pretty good at loading up the run game. For the final TD in Foxboro, five runs covered 26 yards and it was beautiful.

Blasingame led Montgomery on a sweep, then the Bears lined up all three tight ends on the left side of the line. They followed that with Trevon Wesco at H-back, then the traditional fullback and split tight ends for the TD.

Best play II

Fields made arguably his second-best throw of the season in the third quarter. He eluded a rusher in impressive fashion, had a blitzing DB in his face and put a perfect back-shoulder throw to Cole Kmet for 26 yards. The touchdown to Dante Pettis against Washington is probably No. 1.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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