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Instant Reactions: Bears post strong first half, then hang on for Christmas Eve win over Cardinals

CHGO Staff Avatar
December 24, 2023

Rejoice, Chicago! The Bears did not collapse at home on Christmas Eve.

Justin Fields and the offense rolled to touchdowns on three straight drives in the first half of Sunday’s 27-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals. The early outburst was enough to let the team hang on during a second half that was much less productive.

The Bears managed 420 total yards of offense, including 250 yards on the ground. The first-half touchdowns were scored on the ground by Fields and Khalil Herbert while Marcedes Lewis caught a one-yard touchdown pass.

Fields had his usual mercurial day, rushing nine times for 97 yards and throwing four passes to Cole Kmet for 107 yards in the first half. But he also completed just 15-of-27 passes for 170 yards and threw an end-zone interception in the fourth quarter when a field goal could have salted the game away early.

The win improves the Bears’ record to 6-9, doubling the team’s win total from 2022 while the Cardinals fell to 3-12. While the Bears’ playoff chances are technically still alive, they’re two games behind a playoff spot with four teams in front of them and just two games to play.

Here are our initial impressions on the game…

Adam Hoge

What should have been a comfortable win suddenly turned into a tight one in the fourth quarter — again. Fortunately the Bears were playing a bad team this week and held on. Jonathan Gannon’s decision to go for it on fourth down with three timeouts and three minutes to go felt like a good “tank” decision and did the Bears a favor. Justin Fields played well, but yet another fourth quarter interception — his sixth of the season — will linger throughout the week.

Nicholas Moreano

The Bears took advantage of the Cardinals early by scoring three straight touchdowns after the opening offensive drive ended in a punt. Justin Fields connected with Cole Kmet four times for 107 yards, which set a new career high for the fourth-year tight end. The Bears rushed for 250 yards after only finishing with 88 in the loss to the Browns. With the 27-16 victory, the Bears have officially doubled their win total from last season. Enjoy your Christmas, everyone.

Will DeWitt

Was I the only one who started sweating bullets as soon as the fourth quarter began with the Bears in the lead? Okay, I thought so. Justin Fields and the Bears coming out HOT was a great little Christmas gift, and even though they couldn’t keep their foot on the gas the entire time, it was good to see the Bears lead for all four quarters against a team they should beat. And hey — the Bears proved they can win a game where the defense doesn’t have to create multiple takeaways and extra possessions for the offense. It’s always nice to see another winning formula from time to time. Shoutout to Khalil Herbert for putting together his best game in quite awhile, that was a sight for sore eyes.

Mark Carman

Staying alive. It didn’t feel great but at least the Bears held on despite another curios Luke Getsy short-yardage fourth quarter play call. Are you serious? Wildcat with Roschon Johnson? Didn’t matter though because the Bears dominated the rest of the day. Score ended up closer than what happened. The Justin Fields decision remains as murky as ever after a productive day on the ground and in the air enough. 6-9 here we are.

Greg Braggs Jr.

When it comes to the Bears topics to pay attention to for the end of the year. The main one, to me, is the evaluation Ryan Poles has to make of the coaching staff and the quarterback. The main word in that evaluation? Consistency. And all that today’s win showed was they continue to lack that. The Bears shot out the gates to a 21-point lead, and the blowout was on. Until they completely hit a wall and let the Cardinals slowly but surely back into the game. Justin Fields started out hot but cooled off and threw a bad interception which almost gave the Cardinals an opportunity to win. And this was against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The other notable part of this game were the injuries piling up. Cole Kmet left with a knee injury, DJ Moore continues to play tough and play through injuries and Braxton Jones got rolled up on to end the game. The tone of this game was very somber. Even in a win. Had the Bears beaten the Browns, Chicago would be rejoicing in a legitimate playoff hunt with two weeks to play. But instead, missed opportunities have this team on the outside looking in. Moreso, consistency, or lack thereof.

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