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Justin Fields Bears
NFL

There Should Be No More Doubt: Justin Fields Is *The* Guy

  • Jack McKessy
  • November 14, 2022
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It’s official: the Chicago Bears have their quarterback of the future. Yes, the Bears just lost their third straight game this season and handed Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell his first road win in two years at the helm. But they got the best consolation prize of all in the ability to rest easy knowing that second-year quarterback Justin Fields is all the team ever hoped he would be and perhaps is even exceeding their expectations.

The biggest irony about the Bears’ three-game losing streak is that it comes at the same time that Fields is amidst the best stretch of his career. Entering Week 8 of this season, the young quarterback had completed fewer than 60% of his 406 career pass attempts with just 12 touchdown passes to 16 interceptions. In the three weeks since, Fields has completed at least 60% of his passes in each game with seven touchdown passes and just one interception. He’s also come into his own as a rusher on both designed quarterback runs and scrambles with a staggering 325 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in his last two games alone.

Last week’s performance against the Dolphins provided us all a taste of what Fields can do when the offense features designed quarterback runs and the freedom to take off on broken passing plays. Only in his second year in the NFL, Fields broke the all-time record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single regular-season game, a record previously held by Michael Vick. That’s right, in an NFL landscape with several supremely talented and mobile quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen, it’s Fields who ended up beating Vick’s record.

On Sunday against the Lions, Fields once again did something no NFL quarterback had done before: passing for 100+ yards, rushing for 100+ yards, scoring two rushing touchdowns, and having two passing touchdowns in one regular-season game. On a team that is lacking a strong offensive line and has zero elite pass-catching weapons, Fields is still shining and thriving as the Bears’ sole offensive bright spot and somehow making it look easy.

Take, for example, his first touchdown against Detroit on Sunday afternoon. On a 3rd-and-goal play from the Lions’ 1-yard line, the Bears tried to run a play-action pass targeting receiver Darnell Mooney on a slide route to the flat. Tight coverage on Mooney and the other receivers on the field led to the play breaking down, forcing Fields to scramble and try to make something happen as defenders began to trickle through the offensive line. Alone in the backfield with three defensive linemen in his face, the quarterback somehow did make something happen. He miraculously broke through what looked like a sure sack, then won a footrace to the end zone, then trucked a final defender on the goal line for his first score of the day.

That is not a normal play that normal quarterbacks make. Out of the other 31 starting quarterbacks in the NFL, you could count on one hand how many would have been able to avoid a sack there, let alone score.

Of course, when a quarterback is that special with unique mobility, it forces opposing teams like the Lions to try to stop him with a defender over the middle playing as a quarterback spy. When a team has to use an extra defender to make sure Fields doesn’t take off, it will sometimes leave a pass-catcher wide-open downfield. That’s exactly what happened one quarter after Fields’ impressive rushing touchdown, and it led to a 50-yard touchdown bomb from the quarterback to tight end Cole Kmet.

But the one play that really put the icing on the cake for Fields’ big day against the Lions is also the one that best emphasized what a special athlete he is. Just three plays after a brutal pick-six that tied the game for the Lions, the Bears faced another third-down situation. Fields pulled the ball on a read-option play and took off running, winning yet another foot race to the end zone—this one for 67-yards—against every player in the Detroit defensive secondary.

Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has done a good job in recent weeks combining the upside of Fields’ mobility with his skills as a passer. The results—Fields’ stats and tape over the last three weeks—speak for themselves. 

Fields is a uniquely talented quarterback that has nearly unlimited potential as the team continues to build up the roster around him. Over the past three weeks, it has become clear that building up the roster around Fields is indeed the right direction for Chicago. They no longer need to worry about resetting at the quarterback position after any early doubts this season. Fields is the face and future of the Bears’ franchise. The wins will come in due time.

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Jack McKessy