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Justin Fields throws for a TD, runs for another score, leading the Bears past Cardinals 27-16

  • AP
  • Dec 25, 2023

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bears were rolling along with a comfortable lead before things got a little tense, only this time there was no big collapse.

They gathered themselves and came away with the bounce-back win they were seeking.

Justin Fields threw for a touchdown and ran for another score, and the Bears beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-16 on Sunday night.

Tight end Cole Kmet caught four passes for a career-high 107 yards despite missing the second half because of a knee injury.

Khalil Herbert ran for a season-high 112 yards and a touchdown, and the Bears (6-9) came out on top after collapsing down the stretch at Cleveland a week earlier.

Chicago scored touchdowns on three straight possessions in the first half to go up 21-0 against Arizona (3-12). The Bears hung on after blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of a 20-17 loss to the Browns, though things got tight in the closing minutes.

“It’s just about being resilient,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “It was attention to detail on some things that we need to do better. You have to do that in the fourth quarter. You have to bring it to the guys’ attention and the coaches’ attention, and we’ve got to just keep doing a better job.”

Things once again got a little tricky down the stretch. But one week after blowing a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of a loss for the third time this season, the Bears regrouped after a lull in this one.

The Cardinals cut it to 24-16 with 6:37 remaining on Kyler Murray’s 38-yard touchdown pass to Greg Dortch, though the 2-point conversion pass was incomplete. Chicago’s Cairo Santos kicked a 29-yard field goal with just over a minute to play.

“We got that dog in us,” said receiver DJ Moore, hobbled almost the entire game with an ankle injury. “We don’t give up, no matter what. I’m proud of us, and keep doing that.”

The Bears finished with 420 yards, including 250 rushing after being held to 88 against Cleveland.

Fields didn’t exactly put up eye-popping passing numbers with Kmet exiting and Moore hurt. He was 15 of 27 for 170 yards after throwing for 166 the previous week. He added 97 yards rushing.

Fields scored from the 3 on Chicago’s second possession and threw a 1-yard TD pass to Marcedes Lewis in the second quarter that made it 21-0. He also had the longest run by a Bears player this season when he broke off a 39-yarder to the 14 in the fourth, only to be intercepted by Starling Thomas V in the end zone on the next play.

As for his stat line?

“I’m cool with whatever as long as we win the game,” Fields said. “If I have 100 passing yards and zero touchdowns and we get the win, I’m cool with that. I know people love stats and say ‘he only throws (blah, blah, blah).’ I don’t care, we won the game. As long as we win, I’m not really a numbers guy. All I know is one win up in the win column today and that’s all I care about.”

Kmet needed just two quarters to surpass his previous high of 87 yards in a loss at Pittsburgh in 2021. He helped set up the game’s first TD with a diving 53-yard catch, and his 29-yarder on the next drive led to Fields’ TD pass to Lewis.

Herbert ran for an 11-yard score early in the second quarter.

Murray threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns in his sixth game since his return from a torn ACL in 2022 that caused him to miss roughly 11 months.

James Conner caught five passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 45, and the Cardinals finished with 93 yards rushing after racking up 234 in a blowout loss to San Francisco.

“When you spot them 21 points, it’s tough,” Murray said. “As an offense, we have to go out there and put points on the board. Tough on the defense. That’s tough. So take it on the chin. We’ve got to be better.”

SANTOS SIGNED

Santos was looking forward to remaining in Chicago after signing a four-year extension on Saturday. The deal runs through the 2027 season.

“To have another four years in a place that I call home now, we’re super excited, my family’s excited,” Santos said. “We just love it here.”

The 32-year-old Santos is 29 for 31 on field goals and 27 for 29 on extra points after Sunday’s game against Arizona. He is 6 for 6 on field-goal attempts from 50-plus yards this season.

The 5-foot-8 Santos played for Tulane University before breaking into the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014. He is 214 for 250 on field goals and 278 for 293 on extra points for his career.

INJURIES

Cardinals: DE Jonathan Ledbetter (knee) was helped to the sideline early in the fourth quarter. … LB Zaven Collins suffered a foot injury in the first half, though he returned.

Bears: Moore went to the medical tent with an ankle injury after the game’s second play from scrimmage. He returned late in the first quarter and finished with three catches for a season-low 18 yards.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Visit Philadelphia on Dec. 31.

Bears: Host Atlanta on Dec. 31. —

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL

Copyright 2023 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

1234T Cardinals 3-12073616 Bears 6-97143327

Soldier Field Chicago, IL

213PASS YDS170
93RUSH YDS250
306TOTAL YDS420

Arizona

OFFENSE

PASSINGCP/ATTYDSTDINTFPTS
K. Murray24/382302024
RUSHINGATTYDSTDLGFPTS
J. Conner124501621
K. Murray53201224
E. Demercado2100712
R. Moore16065
RECEIVINGTARRECYDSTDLGFPTS
J. Conner556712021
G. Dortch524513812
E. Demercado874002212
T. McBride86310109
R. Moore32300225
E. Higgins32170123
M. Carter100000
M. Wilson400000

Chicago

OFFENSE

PASSINGCP/ATTYDSTDINTFPTS
J. Fields15/271701125
RUSHINGATTYDSTDLGFPTS
K. Herbert2011211518
J. Fields99713925
R. Johnson9370107
V. Jones Jr.14040
RECEIVINGTARRECYDSTDLGFPTS
C. Kmet5410705314
D. Moore6318074
R. Johnson33160107
R. Tonyan11140142
K. Herbert2190918
D. Mooney425062
M. Lewis111117
V. Jones Jr.100000