In every measurable form, the Chicago Bears can't get out of their own way. In front of their home fans at Soldier Field, the Bears allowed the rudderless Denver Broncos to score 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to snatch victory from Chicago's clutches.
Both teams came into contest 0-3, and barring a tie, someone had to win. Ultimately, it was the Broncos, 31-28, thanks to a 51-yard field goal by Will Lutz with less than two minutes to go.
But, wait. It gets better.
Not only did the Bears move to 0-4 and squander the best game Justin Fields has played this season, the team's dirty laundry regarding wide receiver Chase Claypool was further aired out thanks to his absence from Sunday's game.
The two sides' dissatisfaction with one another has been well-documented, including the team's frustration with his lack of effort in Week 1, reported threats to deactivate or trade the wideout if his performance didn't improve, and then Claypool saying the Bears weren't putting him in the best position to succeed on Friday.
At this point, one would at least expect everyone to be on the same page about why Claypool wasn't on the sideline against Denver.
Immediately after the game, media members reported that Claypool's sideline attire was in his locker at Soldier Field, but appeared untouched, which led to questions about Claypool's whereabouts. Bears coach Matt Eberflus told reporters that it was Claypool’s decision to not be at the game after being informed he was inactive. Eberflus said Sunday he expected Claypool to show up at Halas Hall for practice Monday, a decision that was eventually reversed.
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) October 2, 2023
Fifteen minutes after Eberflus spoke Sunday, Fields told reporters he knew that Claypool was inactive Saturday, but he wasn't told why, which frustrated him. The signal-caller made it clear that he wants Claypool, whom the Bears acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers for the No. 32 overall pick at last year's trade deadline, to remain with the organization. Chicago thought it was getting the receiver who put up 873 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns his rookie season, but Claypool has not produced near that level in subsequent years.
Moments later, the Bears walked back Eberflus statement and clarified that the team asked Claypool to stay home. He was not given a choice to attend the game, per the organization.
Chicago is now one of only two teams in the NFL that remain winless. Though the Bears do currently own the top two picks in the 2024 NFL Draft thanks to Carolina's loss Sunday, so at least they know where those are.