Bears’ search for answers after Lions meltdown must lead to hard rebuild truths

Bears’ search for answers after Lions meltdown must lead to hard rebuild truths originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

DETROIT — When Justin Fields took off for a 29-yard scramble to convert a critical third-and-15 Sunday in Detroit, it felt like he was running toward something bigger. Toward turning the page.

Fields popped up after the conversion and started dancing. The Bears were handling the NFC North-leading Lions with relative ease. The defense picked off Lions quarterback Jared Goff three times, and Fields was making plays with his arm and legs that had to make some people believe this was the start of something.

A statement win over the Lions that would have been the biggest win of Fields’ career and the Matt Eberflus era was within the Bears’ grasp Sunday. For a moment, things started to feel different.

Then, the Bears became the Bears again.

Up by 12 with five minutes left, the Bears allowed the Lions to march down the field in 1:16. A quick three-and-out in which the Bears mostly took the ball out of Fields’ hands followed. The Lions promptly marched right back down the field and scored again to take a 29-26 lead with 29 seconds remaining.

An unraveling of monumental proportions was complete, and it took all of 4:20 seconds to complete in the 31-26 meltdown loss.

NFL teams are now 27-3 when they win the turnover battle by three. The Bears’ loss Sunday is one of those three. Since the NFL-AFL merger, there have been 61 teams that have held the ball for at least 40 minutes and collected four takeaways. The Bears are just the third team to lose and the first to do so in regulation. Since 1932, no NFL team with a plus-three turnover margin and 40-plus minutes of possession had ever lost. Teams were 48-0. They are now 48-1.

Ten days ago, the Bears believed they found something in a gritty win over the Carolina Panthers. For 55 minutes Sunday, it looked like they did.

But this team — staff and players — still needs to learn how to win.

“It’s tough. It…


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