The 3-9 Chicago Bears will play the 4-8 Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field in a Week 13 matchup. Here’s what you need to know.
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Halftime: Bears 16, Packers 10
Justin Fields didn’t appear to be held back by his left shoulder injury in the first half against the Packers.
After missing the Bears’ Week 12 game with the shoulder injury, Fields returned to throw for 126 yards and run for 70 yards and a touchdown in the first half as the Bears took a 16-10 lead into halftime.
Fields broke for a 56-yard touchdown run on the Bears’ second drive of the game for a 10-0 lead. First, Packers cornerback Keisean Nixon missed a tackle. Fields then shot through a hole and easily outran Packers defenders Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, Adrian Amos and De’Vondre Campbell to the end zone.
Kicker Cairo Santos made a 40-yard field goal on the Bears’ opening drive for a 3-0 lead.
The Bears showed they still were willing to run Fields on the opening drive. He had carries of 9, 1 and 6 yards. The latter came on a broken play on third-and-8, and the Bears turned to Santos.
Later in the first half, David Montgomery ran for a 7-yard touchdown for a 16-3 lead after Santos missed the extra-point attempt. That capped a two-play drive, with the touchdown set up by Fields’ 56-yard pass to Equanimeous St. Brown.
The Bears defense was strong on the Packers’ first three drives.
Safety DeAndre Houston-Carson had a big tackle for a loss, and linebacker Jack Sanborn had a third-down stop on the first drive. The Packers got to the Bears 11-yard line on the second drive. But Sanborn had a tackle for a loss, Aaron Rodgers ran for 6 yards and Rodgers threw incomplete while under pressure.
Kicker Mason Crosby then made a 24-yard field goal to cut the Bears lead to 10-3.
The Packers got a takeaway when Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool fumbled after a 17-yard catch, and the Packers got the ball at their own 40. But Rodgers threw incomplete on three straight plays to end the drive. On the third play on fourth-and-8 from the 37, Houston-Carson defended Randall Cobb in the end zone.
But late in the second quarter, Rodgers hit Christian Watson with a 14-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-4 to cut the Bears lead to 16-10.
Claypool was injured on the play during which he fumbled. He limped off the field on his own and went into the injury tent. He later was seen running on the sideline.
The Bears secondary will be missing several key players Sunday against the Packers.
Cornerbacks Kyler Gordon (concussion) and Kindle Vildor (ankle) and safety Jaquan Brisker (concussion) are all inactive. Those absences are on top of safety Eddie Jackson going on injured reserve this week with a Lisfranc injury in his foot.
Also inactive for the Bears are quarterback Tim Boyle, fullback Khari Blasingame and offensive linemen Ja’Tyre Carter and Larry Borom. Blasingame was ruled out with an illness this morning.
For the Packers, left tackle David Bakhtiari, wide receiver Romeo Doubs, safety Darnell Savage, linebacker Krys Barnes, cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles and defensive lineman Jonathan Ford are inactive.
Except for two years — 1922 and 1982 — the Bears and Packers have played each other every season since 1921.
They are the two oldest teams in continuous operation in the National Football League with a rivalry spanning 203 games, including two playoff meetings. The Packers hold a slight lead in the series with 104 wins to the Bears’ 95, with six ties.
Here’s a look back, decade by decade, at how the teams have fared and the highlights — and lowlights — of their matchups.
The Bears have started 20 quarterbacks since the Packers since 1992. That number will tick up to 21 if anyone other than Fields starts Sunday. On the flip side, just three quarterbacks have started for the Packers against the Bears since ‘92 (Brett Favre started 32 games. Rodgers has started 29).
Read more eye-catching numbers before the Week 13 matchup here.
QB updates — on both sides
Bears quarterback Justin Fields was limited in practice Wednesday but returned in full Thursday and Friday as he continues to recover from a separated left shoulder.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is recovering from a right thumb fracture from earlier in the season and a ribs injury that knocked him out of the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12.
The last time Rodgers played at Soldier Field, he was yelling “I own you!” to bird-flipping Bears fans in a 24-14 Packers win. It was one of Rodgers’ 24 wins as a starter against the Bears with just five losses. He has a 108.1 career passer rating in the rivalry, including a 125-plus rating in each of his last five games against the Bears.
Fields said Wednesday that it’s not about being 100% but being able to perform up to his standards.
“There’s a few people in this league that are quote-unquote 100% (in Week 13),” Fields said. “So I’m just going to go out there and if I feel like I can help my team win … and put points on the board, then I’m going to go out there and play.”
The Bears have lost five consecutive games and eight of nine, but with only five games remaining, they are running out of opportunities for Fields and the offense to make improvements with an eye toward next season.
The Bears averaged 29.5 points in a five-game stretch through the Falcons loss when Fields was injured, so things were trending upward. The passing game remains very much a work in progress, but the running game with Fields involved has been dynamic and dominant.
The Bears placed Eddie Jackson on injured reserve, cutting short a resurgent season from the sixth-year safety.
Jackson suffered a noncontact left foot injury in the second quarter of a 31-10 loss to the Jets. On Mike White’s 54-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson, Jackson was backpedaling when he slipped with nobody around him. He limped off the field without putting weight on his leg.
Jackson, who will be 29 in December, was having his most productive season since 2018. He had four interceptions, six passes defended, two forced fumbles and 80 tackles in 12 games.
The Bears also placed wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who needs season-ending ankle surgery, on injured reserve.
His injury leaves the Bears without one of their most important players as they try to make strides in their still-quiet passing game. The 2020 fifth-round pick out of Tulane had 81 catches for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns last season. He had 40 catches for 493 yards and two touchdowns this year.
“When you lose the production of those guys, number one, that always hurts and also the leadership part of it,” coach Matt Eberflus said of Jackson and Mooney. “Those guys have been great in the locker room. They are great teammates. They really are encouraging to others and they really model the behavior we wish to see.”
Cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker haven’t practiced the last two weeks while in the concussion protocol and are out for Sunday. With Jackson out, the Bears again will be thin at safety, at which veteran DeAndre Houston-Carson and rookie Elijah Hicks will start. Cornerback Kindle Vildor also has been was limited this week by an ankle injury and is listed as questionable.
Right tackle Riley Reiff was limited in practices Thursday and Friday as he recovers from a back injury. But Eberflus indicated that Reiff is still in line to start Sunday. Fellow offensive tackle Larry Borom, meanwhile, missed both practices didn’t practice this week with ankle and knee injuries and has been declared out.
Wide receiver Dante Pettis, who missed two practices this week with an illness, was back as a full participant Friday and is clear to play.
For the Packers, left tackle David Bakhtiari underwent an appendectomy Friday and was ruled out for Sunday.