Bears showing progress with back-to-back wins after beating NFC North-leading Detroit

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Justin Fields is making plays with his arm and legs, the defense is dominating and the wins are starting to stack up for the Chicago Bears.

Things seem to be falling into place.

“You can just feel confidence,” coach Matt Eberflus said Monday. "The guys have always been confident in their approach and confident in their abilities. But you can see the feeling of confidence when you actually see it, the progress. When you see the result, you can certainly feel that with the players and the staff. The guys are upbeat and they’ve always been that way.

"But you can certainly feel the confidence growing as we start stacking these wins.”

The Bears (5-8) still are last in the NFC North. But they are in a better spot than they were not long ago.

Beating the Detroit Lions 28-13 at Soldier Field on Sunday and getting some payback for a late collapse against the division leaders in Week 11 at Ford Field was a big step.

It gave Chicago wins in three of the past four games and back-to-back victories for the first time since 2021. The Bears will try to match their best run since a three-game streak late in 2020 when they visit Cleveland this week.

“We can play with any team,” cornerback Jaylon Johnson said.

The Bears (5-8) have been saying that all season. But they did little to back it up until recent weeks.

Fields had a solid game against Detroit, throwing for a touchdown and running for another. Receiver DJ Moore had his first career rushing TD and caught a TD pass, and Chicago came out of a bye week by playing its most impressive game of the season.

There are still big questions about the direction of the franchise, particularly when it comes to the quarterback spot and Eberflus' future.

The Bears have to decide whether to exercise their fifth-year option for the 2025 season on Fields and whether to draft a quarterback. Complicating his future is the fact Chicago got Carolina's first-round pick in the trade for Moore, and that could give them a shot at USC's Caleb Williams or North Carolina's Drake Maye.

WHAT’S WORKING

The defense. Chicago has gone from being ranked 29th early in the season to 12th through Sunday and continues to impress.

The Bears shut out the Lions in the second half and held them to 267 yards overall. They had four sacks and two interceptions against Jared Goff, whose 54.6 passer rating was his season low. Jaquan Brisker had 17 tackles, Justin Jones added 1 1/2 sacks and Jaylon Johnson picked off his fourth pass this season.

“We’ve been doing a heck of a job of keeping teams out of the end zone, we’re doing a heck of a job on third downs, getting off the field, getting sacks and getting turnovers,” Johnson said. “So overall, we’re confident and I’m always confident stepping on the field.”

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Conversions after touchdowns. The Bears had some issues converting after reaching the end zone. Cairo Santos had an extra-point blocked for the second time this season after Fields' 38-yard touchdown pass to Moore on fourth-and-13 late in the third. Fields then threw an incomplete pass on a 2-point conversion attempt after running for an 11-yard TD early in the fourth.

STOCK UP

Brisker. The safety from Penn State has been one of the Bears' best defensive backs since they drafted him in the second round in 2022. And he put on quite a show against Detroit with a career high in tackles.

“It's unbelievable to get 17 tackles,” Eberflus said. “That’s unheard of. I don’t think that’s ever happened in my career to have a guy have that many tackles. I honestly can’t remember. I’ll have to go look it up. That’s amazing. What Brisker brings is the reason we drafted him.”

STOCK DOWN

The Bears didn't really have anyone hurt their stock in this game.

INJURIES

Eberflus said DE Yannick Ngakoue injured an ankle during the game. He did not have more details on the severity of the injury.

KEY NUMBERS

4 — The Bears had four penalties for 35 yards, while the Lions were flagged eight times for 59.

NEXT STEPS

The Bears will try to make it three in a row when they visit Cleveland on Sunday.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl