By Ben Morse, CNN
(CNN) — The Chicago Bears’ season has had more downs that ups, but with over half the campaign gone there are signs of promise for 2024-25.
The latest came on Monday night when a stellar defensive display and a late field goal was enough to help Chicago beat the Minnesota Vikings 12-10 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
It wasn’t pretty – the Bears didn’t score a touchdown all game and relied on the boot of Cairo Santos in the victory, including the 30-yard with 10 seconds remaining to clinch the win – but the team will take all the positives it can get as it looks towards the future.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields’ second game back from injury wasn’t necessarily a classic, but he continues to show glimpses as to why he can be trusted as the team’s long-term No.1.
He finished with 217 passing yards – 114 of which went to his favorite wide receiver DJ Moore – as well as 59 rushing yards. Importantly, he also helped orchestrate the fourth-quarter drive which led to Santos’ game-winning field goal.
Fields was supported by an excellent defense, one which intercepted Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs four times. In the last two games, the defense has now had eight takeaways while this was the Bears’ third game this season with three or more interceptions.
With the team holding the Carolina Panthers’ first-round pick in next year’s draft, following a blockbuster trade which culminated in Carolina drafting Bryce Young earlier this year, Chicago also holds the No. 1 overall pick as well as the fourth pick in 2024.
Afterwards, Fields praised the camaraderie in the dressing room, in particular after his two self-confessed “backbreaking” fumbles.
“First off, can’t fumble. Need better ball security on that,” Fields told reporters. “Guys never wavered, so the guys in the locker room, I appreciate them for sticking beside me and believing in me.
“The defense did a great job by getting the ball back for the last drive and the offense did a great job executing those plays, so it felt great.”
‘The Passtronaut’ comes back down to Earth
Vikings quarterback Dobbs has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in 2023.
Entering the season as an unheralded back-up, he completely reorientated his NFL career during a stellar stint with the Arizona Cardinals before being traded to Minnesota weeks ago to replace the injured Kirk Cousins.
The 28-year-old has continued his gun-slinging way of playing with the Vikings, earning himself a new nickname: “The Passtronaut.”
However, Dobbs came down to earth on Monday with his four-interception performance. Although he could argue at least one wasn’t fully his fault – and he did connect with his tight end T.J. Hockenson for a 17-yard score for the only touchdown of the game – it was a sobering evening for the signal-caller and one which means he has turned the ball over six times in two straight defeats for Minnesota.
After the defeat, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell would not commit on whether Dobbs would remain as the team’s starter. Dobbs himself, meanwhile, said he could not focus on a coaching decision.
“I just focus on myself, focus on how I can help this team win, focus on how I can be a better teammate, a better quarterback and focus on how I can make sure the offense is in the right play based on the scenario to go out and execute and play at a high level,” Dobbs told reporters.
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