The 2022 Chicago Bears now own the longest losing streak in a single season in franchise history.
The Bears’ disastrous 41-10 loss to the Detroit Lions on New Year’s Day at Ford Field was their ninth straight, topping the eight-game streaks in 1978 and 2002. The Bears last won a game 69 days ago, a 33-14 victory over the Patriots in New England.
At 3-13, they also tied the franchise record for losses with the 1969 (1-13) and 2016 (3-13) teams. If they lose in the season finale against the Minnesota Vikings, they would set a new team record for losses in the second year of the NFL’s 17-game season.
The 31-point margin of defeat was the Bears’ worst this season, in front of the 22-point loss to the Buffalo Bills a week earlier. There weren’t many positives for the Bears in the game, except that the loss doesn’t hurt their chances at a high draft pick.
The Lions (8-8) kept their playoff hopes alive in front of a noisy crowd. They built a 24-10 halftime lead and then scored on their first two drives out of halftime to extend the lead to 38-10.
On the Lions’ first drive, D’Andre Swift broke for a 35-yard run, Jameson Williams had a 40-yard run and Jamaal Williams scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. Jared Goff hit Swift for a 21-yard touchdown pass on their second drive.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff threw for 255 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, while Jamaal Williams and Swift combined to rush for 222 yards.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed just 7 of 21 passes for 75 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked seven times. Fields also rushed for 132 yards and lost a fumble.
The Bears lost right guards Teven Jenkins (neck) and Michael Schofield (knee), cornerback Jaylon Jones (concussion) and wide receiver Dante Pettis (concussion) to injuries during the game.
Here’s how Week 17 unfolded.
The Bears offense will be healthier than it has been in weeks Sunday against the Lions.
Wide receivers Chase Claypool (knee) and Equanimeous St. Brown (concussion) return after missing games with injuries. Wide receiver Dante Pettis, who injured his ankle in practice during the week, also is active. On the offensive line, right guard Teven Jenkins (neck) and left guard Cody Whitehair (knee) are back.
Quarterback Tim Boyle, defensive back Breon Borders, running back Darrynton Evans, defensive back Michael Ojemudia, linebacker Sterling Weatherford and offensive linemen Ja’Tyre Carter and Alex Leatherwood are inactive.
For the Lions, safety DeShon Elliott, guards Kayode Awosika and Ross Pierschbacher, defensive linemen Michael Brockers and Austin Bryant and running back Justin Jackson are inactive.
Halftime: Lions 24, Bears 10
The Bears defense forced Detroit to punt just once in the first half as the Lions lead 24-10 at halftime.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff completed 16 of 20 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns in the half. Meanwhile, Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed just 3 of 8 passes for 33 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Fields rushed for 113 yards, including a 60-yard run on their second drive. But Fields was sacked five times for a loss of 26 yards, and the Bears had just seven net passing yards.
The Bears took a 7-0 lead on their opening drive on Fields’ 13-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Cole Kmet. Fields kept the drive alive with a 31-yard run on third-and-1 from the Bears 48.
The Lions hit back with Goff’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Brock Wright. The Lions got into scoring position when Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon was called for pass interference against D.J. Chark in the end zone on fourth-and-4 from the 35. It was a 34-yard penalty.
Fields broke for a 60-yard run on the next drive, but the Bears settled for Cairo Santos’ 23-yard field goal.
The Lions took a 14-10 lead on D’Andre Swift’s 17-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. Goff had a 28-yard pass to Chark on the drive.
The Lions extended their lead to 21-10 on Goff’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Wright and then got the ball back three plays later on a Fields fumble. Fields scrambled for 3 yards, but defensive lineman James Houston punched the ball out from behind and Aidan Hutchinson recovered it.
Michael Badgley hit a 23-yard field goal late in the second quarter for a 24-10 lead.
Velus Jones Jr. had a 63-yard kickoff return to get the Bears to the Detroit 45-yard line with seven seconds to play in the half. But Fields threw an interception to Hutchinson to end the half.
Right guard Teven Jenkins left the game on the Bears’ first drive with a neck injury. It was Jenkins’ first game back since being carted off with a neck injury against the Philadelphia Eagles. He was listed as doubtful to return later in the first quarter.
Backup right guard Michael Schofield left with a knee injury in the second quarter and was replaced by Dieter Eiselen.
Cornerback Jaylon Jones left to be evaluated for a concussion.
Next Bears president?
The Bears search for a new team president is progressing with Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren emerging as one of the organization’s top candidates, according to ESPN.
Warren became Big Ten commissioner in 2020 after a 14-year stint as an executive in the Minnesota Vikings front office. He was the Vikings chief operating officer from 2015-19 and before that served as the executive vice president of legal affairs and chief administrative officer.
He was integral in the Vikings’ efforts to build a new stadium with the team opening U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016. As the Bears pursue a potential new stadium venture in northwest suburban Arlington Heights, Warren’s expertise and experience in a similar process would prove valuable.
‘We’re starting to believe’
Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell felt anxious. Frustrated. “Irritated,” to use his words. Sure, it was only mid-August, and his young and evolving football team was still working through the preseason and grinding to establish an identity. But Campbell couldn’t find it within himself to look past the missteps his players made in the late stages of a 27-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in their preseason opener.
No one outside the Lions’ facility was ever going to remember that Friday evening failure at Ford Field, a defeat that ended with reserve quarterback David Blough trying to lead a game-winning rally while throwing passes to Tom Kennedy, Kalil Pimpleton and Derrick Deese Jr.
Heck, most of the Lions players weren’t going to carry that night forward beyond that weekend. The NFL preseason, after all, is so often a “Who’s who of who cares” with so little relevance to what occurs when the games matter.
The 10 most significant days of 2022 for the Bears
The Bears held their final practice of 2022 on Friday afternoon in Lake Forest, then flew to Detroit to ring in 2023 with a New Year’s Day game against the Lions at Ford Field.
At Halas Hall, it has been an extraordinarily eventful calendar year complete with a regime change, a major roster overhaul and a flurry of Justin Fields highlights. After Sunday’s game in Detroit, a Week 18 date with the Minnesota Vikings will wrap up the season.
As the countdown to 2023′s arrival nears, here’s our look back, in chronological order, on the 10 most important dates of 2022 for the Bears.