CHICAGO -- The Bears won't call Sunday's 28-13 victory over the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field a statement win, but it was undoubtedly the most impressive of the Matt Eberflus era.
The Bears outplayed the Lions three weeks ago in Detroit. They had a 12-point lead with four minutes to play and blew it. They entered the fourth quarter of last year's home game against the Lions up 14. They lost that one as well.
The Bears jumped out to an early 10-0 lead Sunday before a failed fourth-and-1 pitch to DJ Moore swung the momentum back in the Lions' favor. Detroit scored 13 unanswered to take a 13-10 lead into halftime.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
In the past, the Bears would have been unable to regain the momentum, and things would have snowballed.
Sunday was different.
The Bears' defense put the screws to the Lions' offense, holding them to 76 yards in the second half while forcing three turnovers.
Quarterback Justin Fields and the Bears' offense broke a 13-13 tie with a 38-yard, free-play touchdown strike to Moore, giving the Bears a 19-13 lead that they never relinquished. Fields added an 11-yard touchdown run later in the second half to put the Bears up 12. That was all she wrote.
Sunday was the first time the Bears have won back-to-back games in the Eberflus era. It was a win that highlighted continued defensive growth and a quarterback playing his best football since returning from a thumb injury.
That's where this statement-win report card leads off:
The passing game might as well have been going in reverse in the first half.
At halftime, Fields had 52 net passing yards, four completions, and had been sacked three times on 14 dropbacks.
But Fields found something in the second half. He made several anticipatory throws, including a critical third-down conversion to tight end Cole Kmet. Linebacker Alex Anzalone blanketed Kmet, but Fields threw it before the tight end got out of his break and put it where only Kmet could go up and get it.
Three plays later, Fields got defensive end Aidan Hutchinson to jump offsides on fourth-and-12. Center Lucas Patrick snapped the ball the minute Hutchinson came across, and Fields threw a dart to Moore down the left sideline for a 38-yard touchdown.
Fields finished the day 19-for-33 for 223 yards and one touchdown.
Despite a decent day at the office, Fields and Kmet noted the Bears' offense could have put 40 on the Lions had they executed properly for the entire game.
Fields was critical of some of his misses after the win.
"The dagger to DJ, I'm still sick about that one late in the game," Fields said. "I think, the third-and-short to Mooney could have been executed a little better. It was a great play call. Got exactly what we thought we would get."
Fields also noted after the game that many of the hits and pressures Sunday were the product of him not getting to his checkdown fast enough or not throwing the ball away.
After not targeting Moore in the first half, the Bears targeted the star wide receiver 10 times in the second half. He caught six passes for 68 yards.
The Bears continue to struggle to get Darnell Mooney involved. He had just two catches for 44 yards.
Justin Fields GRADE: B
Team GRADE: B
Fields entered the game having eclipsed 100 yards on the ground in each of his last three games against the Lions. The third-year quarterback picked up 28 on the ground on the opening drive but finished with just 58 after two kneeldowns to end the game.
A healthy D'Onta Foreman returned and picked up 50 yards on 11 carries. Khalil Herbert gained just 8 yards on three carries.
The Bears' best running play came when offensive coordinator Luke Getsy split Fields out wide and had Moore take the direct snap. Fields faked as if he was going to take the handoff on a reverse, but Moore kept it and got the corner, sauntering 16 yards for the Bears' first touchdown.
The Bears' ground game wasn't at its best Sunday, but it was effective enough to keep the Lions' defense guessing, and the Moore wrinkle is enough to earn a decent mark.
Three weeks ago, the Bears' defense picked off Lions quarterback Jared Goff three times and had the Lions in a corner with four minutes to go.
But Goff and the Lions' potent offense engineered two quick touchdown drives to break the Bears' hearts in Detroit.
There wasn't a repeat Sunday.
Goff went 20-for-35 for 161 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions on Sunday. The Bears held wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown to three catches for 21 yards and gave up just two catches for 23 yards to tight end Sam LaPorta.
The Bears' pass rush notched three sacks and nine quarterback hurries as they once again got the better of the Lions' talented offensive line.
Detroit has one of the best offenses in the NFL, and the Bears' pass defense completely shut them down outside of two drives.
The only offensive success Detroit found Sunday came on the ground.
The Lions rushed for 140 yards on 24 carries (5.8 yards per carry), with David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs picking up six or more yards per tote.
Gibbs' electric rushing helped the pendulum swing back in Detroit's favor in the second quarter, but the Bears' defense was able to hold them to just 37 yards on the ground in the second half.
It didn't start out pretty, but the Bears made the necessary defensive adjustments to keep the Lions from winning the game on the ground.
The Bears entered the game with the NFL's top-ranked run defense. This grade will look low, but it's based on the bar they have set.
Eberflus and his defensive staff came up with a great defensive game plan, and their halftime tweaks were flawless.
On the offensive side, Getsy gets a ding for the fourth-and-1 pitch to Moore. I liked Eberflus' aggressiveness in going for it, but the play call left a lot to be desired.
Other than that, there's little to nitpick from the first signature win of the Eberflus era.