Justin Fields, Bears fail to touch down Micah Parsons on fumble return for score


ARLINGTON, Texas (670 The Score) -- Bears coach Matt Eberflus’ HITS principle wasn’t on display Sunday afternoon.

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On an afternoon in which Chicago couldn’t slow down the Dallas offense, Cowboys star linebacker Micah Parsons also came up with a huge defensive play in the third quarter with a 36-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Parsons’ scoop-and-score came after Bears running back David Montgomery fumbled, and it was aided by quarterback Justin Fields’ poor decision to not touch down Parsons after he dove on the ball. Apparently trying to avoid contact, Fields instead hopped over Parsons, who quickly popped back up and weaved his way to the end zone.

The Bears’ failure to easily touch down an opposing player who ended up going for a touchdown wasn’t a new sight. A pair of Chicago defensive backs made the same mistake on a long Los Angeles Rams touchdown in the Bears’ season opener in 2021, which was back during the Matt Nagy era.

Parsons’ touchdown and the extra point gave the Cowboys a 42-23 lead, a pivotal swing in the Bears' 49-29 loss.

"That's my fault for just hopping over him," Fields said. "I should've tackled him. I couldn't tell you the last time I made a tackle. Just got to be aware in that situation and tackle him to make sure he's down."

Given that the play happened along the Bears' visiting sideline at AT&T Stadium, Bears coach Matt Eberflus believed there should've been better communication to Fields and the offense that the play was still alive.

"I felt like the momentum changed when I fumbled the ball and they recovered it for six," Montgomery said. "That's on me."

That Bears breakdown went against the preaching from Eberflus and his staff that a play is never over until the whistle sounds. During practices, the Bears constantly pick up loose balls on defense -- even if it appears to be an incomplete pass. It's part of the staff's effort to teach situational football.

Those concepts also apply to the offense in recognizing that a play hasn't been ruled over just yet. In this case, Eberflus saw it as a complete failure from the Bears.

"Just touch him down," Eberflus said. "We've shown multiple times during the course of our situations tape that we show on Friday that you got to touch guys down. It's whoever is right there in the scrum, when you see that, you got to touch him down. We know that. That's part of pro football. And we got to do a better job there."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports