Bears @ Vikings
Final Score: Bears 12, Lions 10
Writer: Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL on Twitter)
Well this was certainly one of the games of all time. No, that is not a typo. Did anyone really come away a winner? Despite Justin Fields‘ best efforts to fumble the game away in the 4th quarter, Chicago somehow snuck away with a two point victory over their division rival in a game that featured six turnovers. A missed field goal by Cairo Santos on Chicago’s first drive nearly cost them the game, but Fields and company bounced back and led Chicago down the field to set up Santos to make his fourth field goal of the game, a game winner with 10 seconds to play. DJ Moore went off, Josh Dobbs threw four interceptions, and America was once again subjected to a poor primetime game.
- DJ Moore – The lone true bright spot in a sea of crap for both teams
- T.J. Hockenson – Two catches for 33 yards and a score on Minnesota’s second to last drive salvaged an otherwise dismal night. In a normal game he wouldn’t be featured here.
- Joshua Dobbs – Yikes. Four interceptions and he looked completely overmatched for much of this game.
- Justin Fields – He deserves to be here thanks to his two epically bad fumbles despite still leading them down the field on a game winning drive
- America – For having to sit through this garbage
Justin Fields: 27/37, 217 yards, 3 sacks, 2 fumbles (2 lost) | 12 carries, 59 yards
Justin, what are you doing? This was quite the roller coaster of a game for Justin Fields from beginning to end. Let’s start with Fields’ passing chart, which illustrates just how many times he threw the ball behind the line of scrimmage.
Justin Fields completed 14 of 16 attempts behind the line of scrimmage, both career highs.
? Air Yards/Attempt: 2.7 (Career Low)
? U10 AY: 24/27, 155 yds (+9.3% CPOE)
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 28, 2023
It really felt like every pass was a wide receiver screen to DJ Moore at least through the first half. Sure, I get it, put the ball in the hands of your best player and let him do his thing. We’ve been calling for exactly that for a while now, haven’t we? However, it got to the point where it was so predictable that defenders started guessing correctly and tackling the receiver five yards behind the line of scrimmage. It seemed like Fields started to look more downfield after that, thankfully, but Fields was never going to have a big day with that kind of gameplan. It honestly was very strange.
Now, the two fumbles. They were nearly killers. After Joshua Dobbs‘ fourth interception of the game a few minutes into the fourth quarter, all the Bears needed to do was burn some clock and kick a field goal to make it a two score game and basically ensure a victory. There was no threat of Minnesota driving down the field and scoring nine points in six minutes of game time. Fields, however, dropped back to pass and stepped up in the pocket to avoid pressure. That’s when he put it on the ground for the first time.
Josh Metellus forces a fumble and the Vikings take over ?
— NFL (@NFL) November 28, 2023
He obviously stepped up while under pressure and had the ball knocked away. In year three, I would expect Fields to be able to protect the football better in that situation. Minnesota took over and scored a touchdown, giving themselves the lead and Chicago a chance to drive down the field and win the game. Fields then coughed up the football once again.
Josh Metellus forces the fumble and the @Vikings get it back!
— NFL (@NFL) November 28, 2023
Brutal. Again, in year three, Fields has to protect the football better. Chicago’s defense played very well in this game and gave the Bears one more shot, and that’s where Fields got his redemption. Scroll back up to Fields’ passing chart – see the one green dot downfield in the middle? That came on Chicago’s last drive, arguably Fields’ best throw of the game. DJ Moore found himself wide open and Fields threw him an absolute laser. It was a great way to cap off a largely up and down game, as Fields started the game off with a fantastic drive, avoiding pressure with his legs and finding open receivers (and running backs) downfield to move the chains. A nice bookended game for Fields with some real stinkers in the middle.
Roschon Johnson: 10 carries, 35 yards, fumble (recovered) | 5 targets, 5 receptions, 40 yards
Khalil Herbert: 6 carries, 24 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 14 yards
Offensive line is an issue for the Bears, and therefore it is an issue for both of these running backs. Minnesota’s defense is also much improved this year, and they did a good job of containing this unit. I felt Roschon Johnson did the most with his opportunities in this game, but he really didn’t pass the eye test. Khalil Herbert certainly didn’t. Neither back looked explosive by any means. Johnson’s best play was a 22 yard catch and run on Chicago’s second drive, a play where he had plenty of blockers in front of him and he was pretty much just asked to run straight. He also missed a block that killed all momentum on their opening drive, leading to a sack of Fields that set up third and long.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
DJ Moore: 13 targets, 11 receptions, 114 yards
DJ Moore is a certified stud, that’s all you really need to know. He is Justin Fields‘ most trusted receiver, and the expanded playbook with Fields under center as opposed to Tyson Bagent really helps Moore out the most. They absolutely tried to get the ball in his hands as much as possible in this game, and it helped lead them to a victory. He is primed to help lead your team to a fantasy championship after their bye in Week 13.
Cole Kmet: 7 targets, 7 receptions, 43 yards
Cole Kmet caught four passes on Chicago’s stellar opening drive and six total in the first quarter. After that, I think he caught an early flight home and left the team hanging. He seriously disappeared. I don’t remember his seventh catch, I don’t remember seeing him on the field (he probably was), he was just left out of the offensive game plan for the rest of the game. The offense was really cruising when he was catching short throws in the middle of the field and turning them into easy four, five, or six yard catches. It was much more effective than the ground game. It’s something that should be corrected if the Bears want to be a better offense, but I don’t have faith in that coaching staff to do so.
Darnell Mooney: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 6 yards
Robert Tonyan: 1 target
Trent Taylor: 1 target
Joshua Dobbs: 22/32, 185 yards, TD, 4 INT, 2 sacks | 2 carries, 11 yards
Can he go back to not knowing anyone’s names? Honestly, the first time I watched this game (yes, I watched it twice. You’re welcome.) I thought he played terribly. On a rewatch, I don’t think he played all that bad. Listen – The Bears’ defense is much improved with Montez Sweat rushing the passer. He seems to have changed the tone in that locker room and the entire unit is playing better as a result. That mysterious early season dismissal of their defensive coordinator? No longer matters. This defense is – dare I say it – good.
With that said, let’s dissect Dobbs’ four interceptions. Here are the first two, and whoever narrates this does a good job of breaking it down, so listen up.
Defense was making the QB’s life real tough ? pic.twitter.com/EvTZIGxOdY
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 29, 2023
The one thing the narrator failed to mention was that the 2nd interception went right through Jordan Addison‘s hands and should have been caught. That’s not on Dobbs. The first one probably was, though I’d argue the defender did a good job of masking his coverage. Dobbs probably should have seen him, though.
Dobbs’ third pick came on fourth and short. With the pocked collapsing around him, he felt he had to get rid of the ball and he forced it to a covered K.J. Osborn, where the ball was tipped in the air and intercepted.
And Edwards follows it up with the Bears 3rd INT of the game ‼️
— NFL (@NFL) November 28, 2023
I put this one on Dobbs, not because he threw it into coverage but I felt that he had a bit more time here. My biggest problem with this throw is that, were he to wait another second he could have dumped it off to Ty Chandler coming out of the backfield for an easy first down. And had he not moved up in the pocket on the heels of his offensive line I don’t think he would have felt pressured, because he actually wasn’t under all that much pressure.
His fourth pick wasn’t his fault. His left tackle got beat and his left guard was on his heels. Dobbs had to get rid of the ball quickly and, once again, it was tipped.
Kyler-Man gets in on the fun ?️
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 28, 2023
Ultimately, I’d say two INTs were Dobbs’ fault and two weren’t. He also did almost throw a pick six in the second quarter (the defender dropped an easy one), so let’s call it three against him. Still, when it really mattered in the 4th quarter, Dobbs led the Vikings down the field to score the go ahead touchdown. He didn’t play as bad as the stat line suggests. This should be a good indication to be aware of what might happen when starting a QB against this Bears defense during the fantasy playoffs.
Alexander Mattison: 10 carries, 52 yards, fumble (recovered) | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 11 yards
Here’s what I saw from this game – Mattison had two plays with big, wide open running lanes. When he got those running lanes he turned on the jets, hit the holes hard, and gained extra yards by using his quick feet to bob and weave through defenders. On these two carries he gained 21 and 11 yards. He looked like the Alexander Mattison we all thought we were drafting.
When he doesn’t have a clear running lane, he’s got nothing. He’s not someone who is going to juke or make a cut to make something out of nothing. He’s not going to bump it outside and speed around the edge – that’s not something he’s able to do. He’s going to run into the line, try to take what’s given to him, and fall as soon as he’s touched, like he did pretty much every other carry in this game. He’s simply just not the elite playmaker that Dalvin Cook was, and he’s not going to make his own yards unless he gets started with a full head of steam. Taking out the two runs of 21 and 11 yards I mentioned before, he had eight carries for 20 yards, and one of them was for seven. Seven carries for 13 yards is an average of 1.86 yards. Not great, Bob.
Ty Chandler: 4 carries, 8 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 3 yards
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Jordan Addison: 10 targets, 6 receptions, 39 yards
Addison’s most notable play was the ball that went right through his hands and was intercepted midway through the second quarter. He was also targeted on Dobbs’ first interception, a ball to the sideline that was underthrown. Chicago’s secondary did a really good job of making sure he was never left wide open for a big play, and they were all over him whenever the ball was thrown his way.
T.J. Hockenson: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 50 yards, TD
Finally, a touchdown! Hockenson didn’t factor into this game much at all until the Vikings’ 2nd to last drive, when he caught two straight passes for a combined 33 yards and the score. It salvaged an otherwise poor night for the star tight end. At one point, he came up one yard short of the sticks on third and long, which was disappointing. He doesn’t have the chemistry with Dobbs yet that he had with Kirk Cousins, and that’s a problem heading into fantasy playoffs.
K.J. Osborn: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 34 yards, fumble (recovered)
Brandon Powell: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 45 yards | 1 carry, 2 yards
In looking at the box score, it felt like Powell was more involved with this. His contributions stood out more than anyone not named Hockenson in this game for the Vikings, He’s quick and speedy, but he’ll likely take a backseat to Justin Jefferson when he returns from their Week 13 bye.
Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis