Dustin Hopkins made a 34-yard field goal with 32 seconds to play to lift the Cleveland Browns to a 20-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
The Bears defense disrupted Browns quarterback Joe Flacco all day, including interceptions by Eddie Jackson, Tremaine Edmunds and Tyrique Stevenson.
But Flacco came through when it mattered most.
His 51-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper tied the game at 17-17 with 3 minutes, 18 seconds to play. Flacco threw a perfect pass between three Bears defenders to Cooper, who ran 25 yards down the right sideline to score.
After the Bears offense had to punt on the following drive, Flacco threw two big passes to tight end David Njoku, the first a 31-yarder to get to the Bears 48-yard line. Then on third-and-15, Flacco hit Njoku with a 34-yard pass to the Bears 19.
When Hopkins’ field goal sailed through the uprights, it stopped the Bears (5-9) from nabbing their first three-game winning streak since December 2020.
Flacco completed 28 of 44 passes for 374 yards with two touchdowns and the three interceptions.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed 19 of 40 passes for 166 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, both on Hail Marys to end a half.
Fields completed a 30-yard pass to Tyler Scott to get the Bears to the Browns 45 with 20 seconds to play and then threw two incompletions. On a Hail Mary pass to end the game, wide receiver Darnell Mooney had the ball in his hands in the end zone, but it popped out and D’Anthony Bell grabbed it out of the air to seal the victory for the Browns (9-5).
The Bears took a 10-point lead in the third quarter.
After a 7-7 halftime tie, Edmunds’ first career pick-six came after T.J. Edwards hit wide receiver Cedric Tillman as the ball was coming at him. Edmunds grabbed it out of the air and ran 45 yards for the touchdown and a 14-7 Bears lead. Edmunds has four interceptions this year, including three in the last four games.
Cairo Santos made a 41-yard field goal to give the Bears a 17-7 lead with 7:07 to play in the third quarter.
Late in the third quarter, the Bears came up with a defensive stop, but returner Trent Taylor muffed the punt. The Browns recovered at the Bears 20.
On the next play, Stevenson intercepted Flacco at the 1-yard line and returned it 34 yards. But the Bears couldn’t capitalize on the takeaway. Fields was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Browns 33 when he was tripped up just short of the first down.
Hopkins made a 33-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to cut the Bears lead to 17-10. Former Bears wide receiver Marquise Goodwin got behind the defense to catch a 57-yard Flacco pass that set up Hopkins’ kick.
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Here’s how the game unfolded.
Bears wide receiver DJ Moore and safety Jaquan Brisker are active Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Moore was listed as questionable after he dealt with an ankle injury all week, but he practiced in full Friday and will play against the Browns.
Brisker dealt with groin tightness in practice Wednesday, didn’t practice Thursday and was limited Friday. He also was listed as questionable.
The Bears previously declared out linebacker Noah Sewell (knee) and wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (pectoral). They elevated linebacker DeMarquis Gates on Saturday to take Sewell’s spot.
Safety Quindell Johnson and offensive lineman Ja’Tyre Carter are also inactive. Nathan Peterman is inactive but will serve as the emergency third quarterback.
With Yannick Ngakoue going on injured reserve with a broken ankle this week, defensive end Dominique Robinson is active for the first time since Oct. 22.
Browns cornerback Denzel Ward, who missed the last three games with a shoulder injury, is active.
The Browns previously declared out defensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo (pectoral), center Ethan Pocic (stinger) and safety Juan Thornhill (calf). Linebackers Anthony Walker and Jordan Kunaszyk, cornerback Kahlef Hailassie and defensive end Sam Kamara are also inactive.
Halftime: Big plays hard to come by in 7-7 tie
The Bears’ only touchdown drive of the first half Sunday against the Browns was a wild four-play, 1-yard possession that took 2 minutes, 23 seconds off the clock.
On a rainy afternoon at Cleveland Browns Stadium, big offensive plays were at that kind of premium as the Bears and Browns went into halftime tied 7-7.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields hit tight end Cole Kmet for a 5-yard touchdown pass to cap their strange scoring drive. It came after safety Eddie Jackson came up with his first interception of the season off Browns quarterback Joe Flacco and returned it 27 yards to the Cleveland 1.
After D’Onta Foreman lost 3 yards on a first-down carry, the Browns committed three straight penalties — two for too many men on the field and pass interference on Martin Emerson while defending DJ Moore.
After another Foreman carry was stopped for no gain, Kmet was called for a false start. But two plays later, Kmet hauled in the touchdown for a 7-0 Bears lead.
The Browns responded with a 12-play, 84-yard drive capped by Flacco’s 2-yard touchdown pass to David Njoku to tie it. Njoku jumped to grab the ball over Jaquan Brisker in the back of the end zone.
Flacco sparked the drive with a 42-yard pass to Amari Cooper with Tyrique Stevenson covering. The drive also included Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s 5-yard pass to Jerome Ford on fourth-and-2 at the Bears 19.
Fields completed 12 of 21 passes for 101 yards with the touchdown and an interception on a Hail Mary on the last pass of the half. The Bears got to the Browns 37-yard line on the last drive but couldn’t put points on the board.
Flacco completed 14 of 23 passes for 140 yards with the touchdown and the interception.
The teams combined for 40 yards on the ground.
Bears left guard Teven Jenkins left the sideline on a cart after getting shaken up on a late second-quarter play. The Bears ruled him out for the rest of the game with a concussion.
Catch up on the rest of our coverage.
5 things to watch — plus our predictions
The last time Bears quarterback Justin Fields played the Browns in the regular season was his first career start on Sept. 26, 2021. It’s an impossible one to forget.
Browns defensive end Myles Garrett recorded 4 1/2 of the Browns’ nine sacks against Fields, who completed just 6 of 20 passes for 68 yards under then-coach Matt Nagy. Fields lost 67 yards to the sacks.
As the Bears return to Cleveland, Garrett, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, still is wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks. He ranks seventh in the NFL with 13 sacks and is tied for fourth with 26 quarterback hits. Read more here.
‘Nothing was given to him. He had to earn everything’
When Ryan Poles signed T.J. Edwards to a three-year, $19.5 million contract in March, the Bears general manager called it an “awesome story.” The former Lakes High School quarterback, now 27, was the latest local guy to join the Bears, and he arrived following a rise to Eagles starter that many teams didn’t see coming.
Now, Edwards’ latest chapter has fueled a season in which he is a consistent cog in the Bears defensive turnaround.
The 6-foot-1, 242-pound weak-side linebacker set a Bears record for the most tackles through 10 games with 112. And through 13 heading into Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns, he also has seven tackles for a loss, two interceptions, four passes defended, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, two sacks and six quarterback hits. Read more here.
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Kyle Orton’s franchise record is not yet in jeopardy.
But Justin Fields’ 93 pass attempts since his last interception is a sign of progress for the quarterback, who returns to the site of his first career start. Read more here.
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NFL draft watch
Before “Maserati Marv” drives off to the NFL, he has some more hardware to pack.
Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. is the winner of the 2023 Chicago Tribune Silver Football, voted by the conference’s head coaches as the Big Ten’s best player. He is the 23rd Buckeye — tops among Big Ten schools — to win the Silver Football in the award’s 99-year history. An Ohio State or Michigan player has won in 12 of the last 15 years.
While Harrison left the door open last week to returning for his senior season, the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison is widely expected to enter the NFL draft, in which he’s projected as a likely top-five pick. Read more here.
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Caleb Williams’ clunker at Notre Dame doesn’t deter evaluators that the USC QB will be the No. 1 pick