THE MORNING AFTER: A run for the moment and the future

Bears Report

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 31: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field on October 31, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Sometimes the future holds the key to happiness, and that may very well be something worth repeating for the final two-and-a-half months of the NFL season for the Bears.

Sunday’s 33-22 loss to the 49ers is the third in a row for the team that’s faded after briefly going over the .500 mark in early October. A Khalil Mack-less defense lacked punch, which is concerning considering a nagging foot injury could land the outside linebacker on IR at some point.

The offense still has its own issues despite continuing to be able to run the ball, with the passing game lacking enough to get the Bears’ offense anywhere near the middle of the league. Getting the right mix to get quarterback Justin Fields going remains a work in progress for both Matt Nagy and Bill Lazor.

At 3-5 on the season, the Bears aren’t out of the race for a spot in the playoffs, since the seventh and final spot is occupied by a 4-4 Panthers’ team. Nine games still remain for the team to squeeze into a Wild Card spot, which appears to be the only way in since the Packers have a four-game lead in the NFC North division.

Staying afloat will be difficult from now through December, with four of the next five opponents currently having .500 records while three of them (Baltimore, Green Bay, and Arizona) currently lead their division. So if Ryan Pace gets any calls before Tuesday’s trade deadline for some veterans that could get the Bears some young players or draft picks, there’s a shot he might listen.

These prospects might be depressing to Bears’ fans who’ve watched hopes for a team that could compete for a Super Bowl title sink slowly since the start of the 2019 season. So let’s take a look at a play that not only brought some warm feelings during a spooky Halloween performance against San Francisco but something that could be the reason for hope for the future.

With 9:49 left to go in the fourth quarter, Fields made a play that fans are still talking about on Monday and may do so for a long time in 2021 and into 2022. On 4th-and-1, he went to his right, but was met immediately by a defender, whom he managed to shake off before going down.

He went back to his left, managing to race past two defenders before turning towards the sidelines and Darnell Mooney, who was blocking a defender. He cut inside then turned his sights for the endzone, where he easily made his way past the goal line for the touchdown.

Electricity went through the crowd perhaps like never before this season as the Bears were in a position to tie the 49ers and perhaps make a run at the victory.

“Yeah, I’m not going to lie, that was awesome. I was excited, as y’all you could see,” said Fields of the play and the crowd’s reaction to it. “But yeah, it was awesome. Glad to celebrate with my teammates, and we’re just going to continue to get better, like I said.”

They wouldn’t on Sunday, as the extra point by Cairo Santos was missed, and then San Francisco scored ten more points to win by 11. It’s a loss that continues a downward trend, but this play stands out as something special to hold onto as the team and fans look forward to Fields’ future.

It was part of his 103-yard rushing day – the first rookie quarterback to do so since Bobby Douglass in 1973. He also threw an impressive touchdown pass to Jesse James in the first half in which he threw on the run and found the tight end in a tight window for the score.

These are moments of great potential that are still existing around other plays that show the need for improvement from the quarterback and the rest of the offense. But right now, they are moments of hope that Fields can be the signal caller the franchise has been looking for since their last Super Bowl title.

Focus on that as it appears the Bears’ future instead of the present will bring the most positivity.

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