Mitchell Trubisky makes Bears pay in return to Chicago, powers Bills to blowout preseason victory
Mitchell Trubisky thrived as a visitor in his return to Soldier Field
The Buffalo Bills rolled into Soldier Field and had no problem handling the Chicago Bears in their Week 2 preseason matchup, running away with a 41-15 victory. Mitchell Trubisky faced his former club for the first time since signing with the Bills in free agency earlier this offseason and certainly had the last laugh even if it was in the midst of an exhibition. He started off hot and helped Buffalo jump out to an early lead while Andy Dalton and the Bears offense were quickly left in the dust after stalling out on their first few possessions.
Below, you'll find our main takeaways from Saturday's head to head, which includes the key turning point in this contest along with a recap of how first-round rookie Justin Fields performed in his second taste of NFL action.
Why Bills won
The Trubisky revenge-game narrative was in full force on Saturday. The former Bears quarterback came out hot after getting the start with Josh Allen not playing in the contest. Trubisky played the entire first half and led the Bills on four straight touchdown drives. He completed more than 70% of his passes for 221 yards and a touchdown, while also logging 11 yards on the ground. Trubisky's mobility around the pocket also gave Chicago's defense fits throughout the day. Of course, all of these performances have to be taken with a grain of salt given that it's the preseason, but Buffalo should be feeling really good about its quarterback situation. Not only do the Bills have an MVP-caliber quarterback in Allen, but if Trubisky can keep that play up he's one of the better backups in the league. Meanwhile, Buffalo's defense suffocated Dalton and the Bears early, creating two turnovers in the first half.
Why Bears lost
A sluggish start offensively really put the Bears behind the eight ball. Their first four possessions went as followed: three-and-out, three-and-out, fumble, three-and-out. Over that same stretch, the defense allowed the Bills offense to score 28 unanswered points. Dalton wasn't particularly impressive to begin the game as the offense seemed out of sync from the get-go. The Bears offensive line didn't do him any favors as he was constantly under pressure. He finished 11 of 17 passing for 146 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and while those numbers look solid, the bulk of Dalton's passing yardage total came off a 73-yard touchdown throw to Rodney Adams. Outside of that play, it was a so-so performance by the Bears' projected Week 1 starter.
Defensively, tackling was a clear issue for the Bears as Bills ball carriers were seemingly always able to gain a chunk of yards after contact. An example of that came early in the contest when running back Devin Singletary took a fourth-and-1 carry 14 yards for a touchdown. Singletary took a pitch from Trubisky and was met by two Bears defenders behind the line of scrimmage. Not only were they unable to bring him down, but he also shed another tackle to get into the end zone. That type of effort defensively won't win you many football games.
As for Justin Fields, he came in to start the second half and completed nine of his 19 pass attempts for 80 yards. He also rushed four times for 46 yards. He continues to flash his first-round potential -- like this beautiful back-footed throw to Jesse James -- but also still has to get a better feel for the game. A scary moment came when Fields was sacked by Andre Smith and his helmet when flying off. Fields didn't sense the pressure and was the victim of a brutal hit. Luckily for Fields and the Bears as an organization, he was able to brush it off. That awareness will need to improve as he continues to develop. Despite that hiccup, it's growing more apparent that the offense is more dynamic with the rookie under center.
It was a tale of two starts for these teams. Buffalo started to separate itself from the Bears pretty early on, ripping off four-straight touchdown drives to begin the game. Meanwhile, Dalton and the Chicago offense failed to get a first down on their first two drives. On the third possession of the afternoon, Bears running back Damien Williams fumbled with the Bills recovering on their own 47-yard line. After that turnover, Buffalo went on an eight-play drive that resulted in a touchdown and a 21-0 lead. Once that distance was created, it seemed impossible for Chicago to mount a comeback.
Play of the game
This was the lone bright spot for Dalton on Saturday. Chicago was finally able to put points on the board with 7:47 to play in the second quarter. Dalton dropped back and threw it deep on the near side of the field to Rodney Adams, who was able to leap over his defender and pluck the ball off of the corner's helmet. He then showed off his speed to break away and finished the 73-yard touchdown. Adams finished his day with three receptions for 89 yards and that score.
An honorable mention for top play goes to Buffalo's Marquez Stevenson, who ripped off a 79-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Buffalo will wrap up its preseason next Saturday when it plays host to the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, the Bears will head to Nashville on Saturday night to put a bow on their exhibition season when they play against the Tennessee Titans.
Fields has a noticeable limp right now. Was hit pretty hard on a previous play and seemed to be favoring his right side. Injury -- if there is one -- doesn't appear to be too serious as he's still in the game.
Here's the big hit Fields took.
Fields has had some nice throws today but is 4-of-10 passing for 49 yards thus far. Really impressive with his feet (46 yards on the ground), but clearly still raw. That big sack shows that he still has room to grow to get a feel for the NFL level. Once it all clicks, however, look out.
Oh man. Fields took a MASSIVE hit. Helmet flew right off as the pass rusher had a direct line to him. Thankfully Fields is alright.
Fields is probably better off just throwing it away there. Tried a little too hard to get it to his receiver, but it was a dangerous pass in traffic. Better to just throw it away and fight to live another down than risk a turnover in that area of the field.
That's what separates Fields. Was dead to rights with the pocket collapsing, but was able to roll out and get the first. He has a special combination of mobility and arm strength.
79-yard punt return for a touchdown for Buffalo's Marquez Stevenson. Felt like he was going to rip one off at some point. His speed is so apparent right when you see him.
Looks like the headset in Fields' helmet was having issues. Needed to go to the sidelined to get the play directly and ultimately forced the coaching staff to call a timeout.
And here comes Justin Fields.
In a bit of a defense of Dalton, protection was a problem at times.
Mitchell Trubisky's day is officially done. Jake Fromm is now in at quarterback for Buffalo as they begin the second half.