The NFL can be a fickle place as the Chicago Bears know all too well. Just a week ago they were under fire for dropping a close game at home against the Washington Commanders in primetime. Flash forward just 11 days and, while perhaps not fully sold just yet, folks are coming around to, not only quarterback Justin Fields but also the people in charge of getting the Bears out of misery.
And it’s all because they went into Foxboro and exorcised a laundry list of demons – some not even their own – and took down Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football with a 33-14 final tally.
It was a game that showcased the best of all three phases for a team that had previously gotten in its own way more often than not coming in.
No one embodied that more than the Bears’ second-year passer.
Robert Griffin III, Clay Harbor Sound Off on Bears’ Justin Fields
Bears, Justin Fields’ Big Day
Former NFL tight end-turned-analyst Clay Harbor took to Twitter to highlight a sequence by Fields. It was in the first quarter. The Bears led by three points and were already nearing the red zone around New England’s 34-yard line. In the first half of the clip, Fields goes through his reads before coming back to find former Patriot N’Keal Harry in the middle of the Field.
He followed that up with a scramble that saw him get down quickly rather than risk taking a big hit trying to fight for extra yardage.
Love to see Justin Fields progressing through his reads quickly and delivering strikes. Next play he runs for 8yds showing why he can be a special dynamic player. #DaBears #Bears pic.twitter.com/XKWwXMjyEw
— Clay Harbor (@clayharbs82) October 25, 2022
After a David Montgomery run on the ensuing play, Fields took it himself for a three-yard score.
That put the Bears up 10-0. But they were far from in the clear as the Patriots scored back-to-back touchdowns following a change at quarterback from Mac Jones to Bailey Zappe and an interception from Fields.
Fields was 5-for-9 with 70 passing yards up to that point. From then on he was 8-for-12 with 109 yards and a touchdown through the air.
He ran 14 times for another 82 yards on the ground to lead the team.
The touchdown throw came on a play in which running back Khalil Herbert did most of the heavy lifting. But Fields was facing heavy pressure as usual. But he stood firm in the pocket and delivered a clean ball to Herbert who scampered some 25 yards to paydirt.
25 yds to the house 🧃
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 25, 2022
Coach and Quarterback
Griffin and Harbor choosing this game to sound off on Fields would seem to indicate this was a coming-out party for the quarterback. It is also one for first-year offensive coordinator Luke Getsy who found his groove with his young passer. Fields credited a shift in the Bears’ offensive approach for his big day as the former 11th-overall pick looked as comfortable as he has all year.
“Yeah. I thought they were good,” Fields said postgame. “I thought it brought a whole different element to our offense. I think we executed that well. And there were definitely some explosive plays in the design runs for sure.”
The proof was evident to former quarterback Robert Griffin III too.
The Bears leaning into using Justin Fields’ running ability against the Patriots had a VISIBLE IMPACT on his confidence throwing the football. Allowing him to compound good play after good play. That makes a difference for any player especially a young QB.
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) October 25, 2022
There have been calls for the Bears to use Fields this way all season — also to protect a woe-begone offensive line that has struggled in pass protection. The Bears overcame that for one game. One would assume they will have to throw more to win at some point.
Fields still took four sacks but the Bears have found a formula that works and it is working for them.
Griffin, Harbor Sound Off on Justin Fields
When Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said that he saw growth in Fields despite the loss to Washington, it turned some heads. But he highlighted Fields’ ability to drive the offense into scoring position several times. Eberflus also cited the quarterback’s toughness as he took hit after hit behind shoddy offensive line play.
He then went on to harp on the need to finish off those opportunities going forward.
Fields said the same before going into how he was personally tired of always being told the offense was “close”.
“Me personally, I’m tired of being almost there,” Fields said after the loss in Week 6. “Tired of being just this close. Feel like I’ve been hearing it for so long now. At the end of the day, all you can do is get back to work. That’s the only reaction you have. Live and you learn, and get back to next week and keep going, keep getting better.”
The #Bears lead the NFL in rushing after seven weeks (181.0 yards/game) — no longer a small sample size. The last time the Bears led the league in rushing was in 1986 under Mike Ditka.
— Mark Potash (@MarkPotash) October 25, 2022
They did that against the Patriots going 2-for-4; far from perfect but much improved leading Griffin and Harbor to sound off on Fields.
Their next challenge is a big one. They stay on the road and head to Dallas to take on the 5-2 Cowboys. Dallas just got starting quarterback Dak Prescott back. They also boast the NFL’s sixth-best defense in terms of yards and are tied with the Bears for sixth with 12 takeaways.
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