The Justin Fields era as the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback officially began Sunday in Las Vegas in a 20-9 victory over the Raiders. Fields didn’t fill up the box score with gaudy passing or rushing numbers, but his toughness and grit proved to be critical in Week 5’s win.
Fields’ fortitude was never in doubt as a collegiate prospect. In fact, it was one of his strengths. He displayed his toughness in front of a national audience last January in the College Football Playoffs when he returned from this brutal hit to lead Ohio State to a Sugar Bowl victory over Clemson:
In Sunday’s win over the Raiders, Fields took a similar hit to the ribs that stunned him early in the game, and dodged a serious injury when he hyperextended his left knee:
Dalton replaced Fields while the Bears’ medical team ran their tests. A few plays later, Fields was back in the game, leading Chicago’s offense to a solid yet unspectacular performance.
Fields finished Week 5 completing 12-of-20 passes for 111 yards and his first career touchdown pass.
Sunday’s win was another game with Fields attempting 20 passes or less. He threw 17 passes in Chicago’s win over the Detroit Lions and tossed 20 in their loss to the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago. The Bears leaned heavily on their run game against Las Vegas, featuring fellow rookie Khalil Herbert (18 carries, 75 yards), making Fields’ right arm less of a factor. But when they needed a big throw from the 11th overall pick, he delivered.
The good news for the Bears is that Fields established he can play winning football without MVP-worthy stats.
"There are some areas where he can grow,” coach Matt Nagy said after the game, “but he also did so many great things to help us win."
Now 3-2, the Bears will welcome the Green Bay Packers to Soldier Field next Sunday in what’s suddenly a key early-season showdown in the NFC North. The Packers advanced to 4-1 with their victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.