Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields had his first exposure to the NFL’s oldest rivalry in Week 6’s game against the Green Bay Packers, and as has been the case for most Bears quarterbacks before him, it didn’t go his way. And while he was outplayed by future Hall-of-Famer Aaron Rodgers in Chicago’s 24-14 loss, there were some positive moments he can lean on as he continues his development as a starting quarterback.
Fields completed 16-of-27 passes for 174 yards with one touchdown—to Darnell Mooney—and one interception. His most impressive showing in the game came during the Bears’ first possession when he went 3-for-3 in what ended up being a lopsided touchdown drive for Chicago.
The highlights for Fields and the Bears stalled after that first score, and it was Rodgers who did what he seems to always do in a meaningful NFC North game against Chicago. He took over and Fields had a front-row seat to watch it all. Rodgers completed 17-of-23 passes for 195 yards and two scores. He added a back-breaking rushing touchdown to his stat sheet, too:
Rodgers ended that touchdown run with a fitting “I own you” directed toward Bears fans that were forced to watch No. 12 rip their hearts out… again.
But this was an expected outcome, wasn’t it? Chicago’s offense is in its infancy period with Fields behind center and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor calling plays. For all the talk from head coach Matt Nagy this week suggesting the Bears were finding their identity on offense, the reality is they’re still lacking a rhythm on that side of the ball. Rookie running back Khalil Herbert was fantastic again (19 carries, 97 yards, one TD), but the rushing production was merely a mirage. Chicago couldn’t make plays downfield despite Fields’ best effort to force throws beyond 20 yards.
Now 3-3, the Bears’ 2021 season is at something of a crossroads. They’ll be big underdogs in three of their next four games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Ravens, and could be staring at a 4-6 record—at best—after 10 games.
Still, Fields proved once again on Sunday that he’s one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league who will fight until the final whistle.
It’s true that Fields hasn’t had a ‘wow’ moment during his brief stint as the Bears’ starter. He hasn’t connected with Allen Robinson on a touchdown pass nor has he taken over a game with his legs like Lamar Jackson or Josh Allen. But he’s isn’t losing games for Chicago, either—for a rookie quarterback playing behind one of the NFL’s most questionable offensive lines, that’s a positive.
“I should’ve played better,” Fields said after the loss. “I didn’t play as well as I wanted to.
“I just have to play better for my teammates.”
At some point, Fields’ breakthrough moment has to come. Patience is always required with rookie quarterbacks, but the extra burden that comes with playing the position in Chicago—and during Packers week—enhances the urgency.