For a little while, it appeared that the Chicago Bears were primed to take down the Buffalo Bills. The Bears came out of the gate hot in the frigid weather, marching 64 yards on eight plays to take an early lead. However, as the game continued, Buffalo’s talent advantage prevailed, and the Bills sent the Bears to their eighth consecutive loss.
The Bills ultimately dominated the game by shutting down Chicago’s top playmakers. Here’s how our five Bears to watch performed in a Christmas Eve game.
QB Justin Fields
The electric second-year quarterback entered the game with 1,000 yards rushing. He exited it with 1,011 yards rushing in what was a masterclass in limiting a mobile quarterback’s legs from defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier. The Bills have been notoriously good at limiting rushing quarterbacks over the years — see what they do regularly to Lamar Jackson — and this was another chapter in that book. Fields completed just 15-of-23 passes for 119 yards, and a touchdown (on the game’s first drive). That came on a busted coverage, where it looked like someone (I want to blame Dane Jackson, but there’s always a chance I’m wrong) forgot to stick with the third receiver in a bunch formation. Fields took two sacks in the game, and he gave way to our old friend Nathan Peterman for the game’s final drive. That ended in the only way a Peterman drive can end: with an interception on a Hail Mary attempt. Hey, at least this time he threw the ball on the Hail Mary, rather than scramble for meaningless yardage.
RB David Montgomery
He carried it three times for 36 yards on Chicago’s first drive, adding a five-yard reception to a strong start to the game. For the first half, Montgomery had nine carries for 60 yards and two catches for 11 yards. In the second half, though, Buffalo’s defense really tightened up, and Montgomery did next to nothing for the final two periods. He carried it seven times for two yards, adding two more catches for 11 yards. He ended his day with 16 carries for 62 yards and four catches for 22 yards. He did have a touchdown nullified via penalty on Chicago’s opening drive, as well.
TE Cole Kmet
Kmet led the Bears in targets (six) and receptions (five) as Fields struggled to find room throwing to a banged-up receiving group. Kmet was second in receiving yards on the day, with a grand total of 27. It was a banner day for Buffalo’s defense, at least when you take that brutal first drive out of the equation. That’s been an interesting theme with Buffalo this year, as it almost feels like Frazier and the coaches are feeling their opponents out before adjusting to that first scripted drive. Kmet is a good athlete and a strong receiver, but the Bills continued their strong play against tight ends this year.
OL Larry Borom
For a guy making his first start at guard, Borom held his own against a strong Buffalo interior. It was his holding penalty that nullified that Montgomery touchdown, as Borom tackled defensive tackle Jordan Phillips in the backfield after big No. 97 beat him to the inside. Defensie tackle Ed Oliver was able to sack Fields, as well, but that sack came as a result of a bad snap, and Oliver wasn’t lined up over Borom. The Bears appear to have subbed him out of the game at one point, as he’s not popping up on the injury report and he only played on 67% of the snaps up front. He appears to have been replaced by Dieter Eiselen.
CB Kyler Gordon
The rookie had a solid showing this week, continuing a trend of much better play after a fairly brutal start to his NFL career. Gordon was strong in coverage from the jump, as he broke up a pass intended for wide receiver Stefon Diggs on Buffalo’s first drive. He also intercepted Josh Allen on what was a terrible decision by the MVP-caliber quarterback. Gordon was near the line of scrimmage to begin the play, and it appeared that once a Buffalo wideout went in motion, he checked to a deep zone drop. Allen never saw him, and his touch pass was smothered by the swirling Chicago winds, leading to an easy interception for the rookie — his third of the season. Gordon totaled five tackles and a pass breakup in addition to that interception.