Line changes: The Bears started their eighth different offensive line combination of the season Saturday in left tackle Braxton Jones, left guard Larry Borom, center Sam Mustipher, right guard Michael Schofield III and right tackle Riley Reiff.
On the rebound: Kicker Cairo Santos reverted to form, making all three kicks he attempted in the frigid and windy conditions—one extra point and field goals of 37 and 35 yards.
The veteran had missed five kicks in his previous five games—two field goals and three extra points. Last Sunday against the Eagles, he missed his first extra point but then moved the spot of the ball from the right hash to the middle of the field and made his final two extra points.
“I did make a change last week, the extra points from the middle and I had a great feeling about it,” Santos said. “So, I had a great feeling about it. I finished the day kind of optimistic there was something I discovered that I thought was going to work. I worked on that this week [in practice], hit the ball solid in the cold weather. Today from the middle, I was happy with it. Two field goals in these conditions. It’s what I’ve been for a long time, but just good to at least feel like I’m on the right track with the extra point change.”
Santos has now made 20 of 22 field goals this season and has converted 44 straight field goals inside 40 yards.
Bill’s kicker Tyler Bass struggled in the conditions, missing an extra point and attempted a 38-yard field goal.
“It was challenging,” Santos said. “You see a good kicker like Tyler, it affecting his ball flight. The elements [were] brutally out here. Just had to find a way to put the ball through.”
Quick launch: The Bears scored on their opening possession for the 11th time in 15 games this season (three touchdowns and eight field goals) as Fields threw a 6-yard TD pass to Dante Pettis. But the offense failed to get into the end zone again on 12 subsequent possessions.
The Bears kicked two field goals, punted four times, turned the ball over on downs three times, committed two turnovers and ran out of time at the end of the first half.
On their opening drive, the Bears compiled 74 yards and four first downs; the rest of the game they mustered just 135 yards and seven first downs. They converted just 2-of-12 third-down chances in the game.
“We ran the ball effectively and then they adjusted, and we really weren’t able to run the ball as well as we’d like after that,” Kmet said. “We didn’t run the ball well. I think that’s what it came down to.”