Bears, QB Justin Fields lose another one to Packers in ‘sickening’ style

The Packers routed the Bears 18-0 in the fourth quarter to beat them for the eighth time in a row.

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Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander intercepting a pass intended for Bears receiver Equanimeous St. Brown.

This interception by Justin Fields effectively ended the game for the Bears.

Quinn Harris/Getty Images

There should be no mischaracterizing this as a good day for Justin Fields and the Bears.

So before he and they try to spin the Bears’ 28-19 loss Sunday to the Packers as progress, here’s someone who won’t sugarcoat it: veteran safety DeAndre Houston-Carson.

‘‘It’s really sickening,’’ he said of the loss, which was the Bears’ eighth in a row against their supposed rival. ‘‘That’s probably the best word, especially just the way that these games go. It’s tight, it’s tight, it’s tight, and then at some point there’s one drive where they get it.

‘‘To lose in that manner over and over again is the most disappointing thing. . . . And it’s really sickening to lose to Green Bay.’’

That’s the unfiltered truth.

Fields threw two interceptions in the last three minutes. The Bears didn’t score a touchdown after the 6:09 mark in the second quarter. The defense broke on Christian Watson’s 46-yard touchdown run with the game on the line and allowed the Packers to score 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

There’s no polishing that.

The Bears have seen this opponent at its peak, and this wasn’t it. This was a depleted version of the Packers and a diminished version of Aaron Rodgers, who already was talking about shutting it down for the season once the team is eliminated from playoff contention.

This was the Bears’ chance.

It also was Fields’ chance to deliver the signature victory that has eluded him in his first two seasons. The stage was set beautifully for him to do something memorable as he gutted out pain — he played through it straight-up, no pregame injection — in his return from a separated left (non-throwing) shoulder.

Fields was headed toward heroics until everything crumbled at the end. It was the same story two weeks earlier against the Falcons and in the losses to the Lions and Dolphins before that.

After a missed field goal by Cairo Santos and various other snafus allowed the Packers to take a 20-19 lead with 4:49 left, Fields was in that familiar position. He pushed the Bears to the Packers’ 43-yard line with three minutes left, and that was when the good vibes fizzled.

Fields threw downfield for Equanimeous St. Brown on a route designed for him to break sharply back toward the line of scrimmage. But Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander broke faster and beat him to the ball for the interception.

St. Brown left the locker room before the media entered, forfeiting the chance to tell his side of it, but he’ll hear the echoes of Fields and coach Matt Eberflus pinning that pick on him throughout the bye week.

‘‘That’s a trust throw,’’ Eberflus said. ‘‘He’s reading it and, man, he’s going to let it rip, and [St. Brown has] got to do a great job of stepping up and making those plays. [Alexander] made a nice play. He jumped it. But hopefully our receiver can jump out and knock that down, if possible.’’

Added Fields: ‘‘You just like to see the receiver come back to the ball. We always just try to tell the receivers that those DBs want that pick each and every time, so they’re going to attack that ball.’’

Before that throw, Fields had completed 16 of 19 passes for 224 yards. With that pick and another one fired out of desperation with 51 seconds left and the game already lost, he finished 20-for-25 for 254 yards and a 75.7 passer rating.

He also ran six times for 71 yards, including a 55-yard scramble for a touchdown late in the first quarter.

Fields was upbeat afterward, saying the 20.15 mph he was clocked at on the touchdown was below his usual 21 or 21.5, asserting that it’s inevitable the Bears will start stacking victories and calling the game a step forward for him.

‘‘This was one of my best games, passing-wise,’’ Fields said. ‘‘Of course, the stats won’t show that. I felt really comfortable out there in the passing game.’’

If the stats don’t illustrate it, perhaps he can. What felt so right?

‘‘I don’t know,’’ he said. ‘‘I just felt comfortable.’’

Until the end.

His performance shows potential, certainly, but not necessarily progress. The eagerness to proclaim Fields a finished product is understandable, given how starved the Bears have been for a franchise quarterback, but Fields still has steps to take. He’s on track, but he’s not there yet.

Fields gets some margin for error as he tries to grow into this job, but it’s concerning that he has thrown interceptions on an NFL-high 4% of his passes this season. He has thrown 10 fourth-quarter interceptions in 20 games.

The losses don’t matter as much in a rebuilding season, but they eventually will. And if these issues persist into a season in which the Bears actually have some aspirations, that’s going to be uncomfortable.

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