Bears get first TD-less win since 1993. Plus, Frank Reich’s firing won’t change much for Panthers

NCAA Football

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This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in sports. You can sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday morning here.


🐻 Good morning to everyone but especially …

JUSTIN FIELDS AND THE CHICAGO BEARS

It was following the script Justin Fields and the Bears have seen so often. Lifeless offense. Killer turnovers. Another loss incoming.

And then Fields flipped the script, his up-and-down career hitting a definite up as he drove Chicago 66 yards in 10 plays — highlighted by a beautiful 36-yard dart to DJ Moore — to set up Cairo Santos‘ 30-yard game-winning field goal for a 12-10 win over the Vikings.

  • Fields had fumbled on each of the previous two drives — the second setting up Minnesota’s go-ahead touchdown — so seeing him bounce back was great. It’s his third career game-winning drive.
  • The defense had four interceptions, its most in a game since 2018.
  • It’s the first time the Bears have won a game without scoring a touchdown since 1993. Kevin Butler booted field goals of 48 and 52 yards against the Falcons for the 6-0 win back when Jim Harbaugh was Chicago’s starting quarterback. They had lost 39 straight such games since. 

I don’t think this win alone changes the long-term outlook on Fields, this roster and this coaching staff. But I do think all wins are worth celebrating. So celebrate away, Chicago.

👍 Honorable mentions

😟 And not such a good morning for …


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THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS

The Joshua Dobbs magic was fun while it lasted. Really fun. Magical, even.

But it’s over. Coach Kevin O’Connell wouldn’t even commit to Dobbs going forward.

It wasn’t just the four interceptions, which ranged from totally not his fault to unlucky to totally his fault. It was the misses when chances were there. Jordan Addison wide open down the sideline for what would have been a walk-in 52-yard touchdown. T.J. Hockenson not being able to convert a fourth down because the throw was behind him.

And even one heroic touchdown throw to Hockenson wasn’t enough to cover for his mistakes. There’s a reason NFL teams that throw at least four interceptions are 1-63 over the last 10 seasons.

Part of the allure of Dobbs’ incredible story was that the Vikings had almost everything going wrong and still were winning. But now Dobbs — with six turnovers in his last two games — seems to be another thing going wrong. And at 6-6, the Vikings don’t have any margin of error for more things to go wrong.

👎 Not so honorable mentions




😬 Panthers fire Frank Reich: Why issues remain


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The Panthers fired coach Frank Reich on Monday morning after an abysmal 1-10 record with the team. More specifically, the move came after a 17-10 loss to the Titans in which 2023 No. 1 pick Bryce Young again looked awful and again lost to a fellow rookie (this time, second-rounder Will Levis). Young also lost to undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent two weeks earlier, a tough look for a franchise that moved heaven and Earth to trade up to No. 1 for the former Alabama star.

That’s the long and short of it, but there are more ugly details …

Reich is also the second straight Panthers coach to be fired midseason after David Tepper dismissed Matt Rhule following a tumultuous 11-27 stint. Tepper is the one constant in Carolina … and he’s also the problem, writes Will Brinson.

  • Brinson: “Under Tepper, the Panthers have become The New Browns, which is not a good thing. Just like Jimmy Haslam, Tepper is a former Steelers minority owner and bombastic businessman hellbent on believing he will win in the NFL because he won in business. … He knows how to read markets, he knows how to flip assets, but he clearly doesn’t know how to run a professional football team. … Tepper constantly harps on the need for a franchise quarterback but it’s clear he isn’t capable of 1) identifying one or 2) letting his football people identify one.”

Will is spot-on. Josh Edwards, meanwhile, has potential options for the next head coach on the Carolina carousel.

🏈 Rivalry Week shakes up college football rankings


Kim O’Reilly, CBS Sports

While the final weekend of the regular season didn’t feature any Earth-shattering upsets, it did produce plenty of thrillers. It also revealed plenty about the title contenders. Dennis Dodd has yet another shakeup near the top of his final Power Rankings of the season.

  1. Georgia (previous: 1)“Per CBS Sports Research, the Bulldogs became the first team since Yale from 1888-92 to start 12-0 across at least three straight seasons.”
  2. Michigan (2)“A master class in game management by Sherrone Moore.”
  3. Washington (4)Kalen DeBoer showed a brass set with that end around in his own territory on fourth down to keep the game-winning drive alive.”
  4. Florida State (5)“An 18th consecutive win is the third-longest active streak.”
  5. Oregon (6)Bo Nix dismantled Oregon State to set up a revenge rematch with Washington.”
  6. Texas (7)“The ‘Horns are 11-1 for the first time since 2009.”
  7. Alabama (8)“This continues to be Nick Saban‘s best coaching job at Alabama.”
  8. Ohio State (3)Ryan Day didn’t get outcoached; he got out-aggressived against Michigan.”

Over in the CBS Sports 133, it’s the same top six with Ohio State seventh and Alabama eighth. Further down, Cal jumped up 10 spots from 70th to 60th; only San Jose State (79th to 62nd) jumped more. While all eyes will be on Washington-Oregon in the conference title game, Chip Patterson says Cal going bowling is “a big moment for Justin Wilcox as the Golden Bears close out their Pac-12 era with a win against an in-state rival.”

⚽ UEFA Champions League Matchday 5 preview


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Pardeep Cattry wrote it best: “It’s officially the business end of the UEFA Champions League group stage …” With two matches left and only six of the 16 knockout stage spots clinched, there’s no time like the present. That’s especially true in Group F — the Group of Death if you will — which looks like this:

  1. Borussia Dortmund: 7 pts (+1 goal differential)
  2. PSG: 6 pts (+1)
  3. AC Milan: 5 pts (-2)
  4. Newcastle: 0 pts (0)

Which squad will take a big step towards advancing? Our experts have made their picks, and Jonathan Johnson explains why this is a crucial juncture for Kylian Mbappe and PSG.

Here are all eight matches today, available on CBS Sports Golazo Network and Paramount+.

  • Lazio vs. Celtic, 12:45 p.m.
  • Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Antwerp, 12:45 p.m.
  • AC Milan vs. Borussia Dortmund, 3 p.m. (preview)
  • Feyenoord vs. Atletico Madrid, 3 p.m.
  • PSG vs. Newcastle, 3 p.m. (preview)
  • Barcelona vs. Porto, 3 p.m. (preview)
  • Young Boys vs. Red Star Belgrade, 3 p.m.
  • Manchester City vs. RB Leipzig, 3 p.m. (preview)

We also have clinching scenarios and James Benge’s players to watch.

📺 What we’re watching Tuesday

UEFA Champions League on CBS Sports Golazo Network and Paramount+
🏀 Bucks at Heat, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 No. 8 Miami at No. 12 Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Warriors at Kings, 10 p.m. on TNT

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