The Bears finally have an answer at QB in Justin Fields


If you are a fan of any other NFL team than the Chicago Bears, you have witnessed a 4,000 yard, 30 touchdown passing season from your team’s signal caller. 

Russell Wilson with the Seahawks, Peyton Manning with the Broncos, Dan Marino with the Dolphins, Tom Brady with the Patriots, Dan Fouts with the Chargers, just to name a few. 

All of these quarterbacks did it multiple times, to add on another narrative. 

Illinois’s navy blue and orange squad has yet to reach this pinnacle with a quarterback. 

They have gotten awfully close. 

Sid Luckman was able to produce a 24 touchdown pass, 2,712 yard season in 1947. 

Close, but no cigar. 

For all of us younger folk, Rex Grossman also almost got to the standard set for CHI quarterbacks, notching 23 touchdown passes and 3,193 yards in 2006, the latest season the Bears reached the Super Bowl. 

Jim Harbaugh, Mitch Trubisky, Cade McNown, Jay Cutler, Josh McCown, Doug Flutie, Caleb Hanie, and plenty more unfortunately all weren’t able to reach the ultimate mark for a Bears quarterback. 

This trend will end with former Georgia and Ohio State QB Justin Fields. 

(Too much confidence? I think not.) 

Coming into the 2021 NFL Draft, Fields had just come off of a National Championship appearance and a vaunted six-touchdown performance in the Semifinal against Clemson after taking a huge hit from Tiger linebacker James Skalski, which caused him to get ejected from the game with a targeting call. 

Fields, after this hit, was unable to hop onto an exercise bike and his ribs were bruised badly. 

“My ribs were killing me pretty much all game”, he said to reporters postgame. 

The pain from his ribs weren’t enough to put him on the bench, as he provided a legendary game after the fact, and his toughness was on full display. 

Thus, there should have been zero doubt that Fields would be selected right behind the quarterback on the other sideline in the aforementioned semifinal, Trevor Lawrence, to start the 2021 NFL Draft. 

After all, Fields had the toughness, arm talent, and 4.40 speed to boot. 

Until doubt began to differ. 

A few notable reports came out saying that Justin Fields was a “last guy in, first guy out” player, and thus, his first round draft stock started to slip. 

Take, for example, what former NFL QB Dan Orlovsky, infamous for his safety running out of the back of the endzone, had to say about Fields: 

“I’ve heard there are some questions about Justin Fields’ work ethic. 

“Where is his desire to be a great quarterback?” 

Following all of these takes, Zach Wilson, BYU quarterback, emerged into the second draft slot. 

Behind him was a toss-up between Alabama QB and National Champion Mac Jones and North Dakota State QB Trey Lance. 

The fourth pick was likely going to be Florida tight end Kyle Pitts to the Atlanta Falcons. 

Trade rumors, while all this was occurring, swirled around, and the rumors of the Bears possibly trading up to select Justin Fields came into focus. 

One such rumor was that the Bears “wanted” to acquire the fourth pick, per DaBearsBlog. 

Lo and behold, draft night came. Aaron Rodgers wanted out of Green Bay (and nearly got traded to the 49ers). Quarterbacks were set to go back-to-back in the first three picks. 

The stage was set. Let’s get started. 

The first pick was not a shock. Trevor Lawrence went number one overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

The second pick was also not a shock. Zach Wilson went number two, heading to New York to become the Jets next quarterback. 

Now the fun has come. Who would go third overall? 

That question was answered when Trey Lance went to the 49ers. 

I was stunned. San Francisco gave up a king’s ransom to move up to number three (three first round picks and a 2022 third rounder to move up nine spots), and they ended up selecting a guy coming out of a small college as NDSU is? I was taken aback. Well, time to see how the next group of picks go. 


Number 4 overall: TE Kyle Pitts to the Atlanta Falcons 


Number 5 overall: WR Ja’Marr Chase to the Cincinnati Bengals 


Number 6 overall: WR Jaylen Waddle to the Miami Dolphins 


Number 7 overall: OL Penei Sewell to the Detroit Lions 


Number 8 overall: DB Jaycee Horn to the Carolina Panthers 


Number 9 overall: DB Patrick Surtain II to the Denver Broncos 


*(Picks eight and nine I was especially nervous with)*


Number 10 overall (Philadelphia trades up with Dallas): WR Devonta Smith 


Now comes the 11th pick. Justin Fields, somehow, was still on the board. 

The New York Giants were on the clock. Until the Bears swooped in. 

Chicago became the team shown on the ESPN graphic with the 11th pick after former general manager Ryan Pace sent the 20th overall pick of ‘21 as well as a ‘21 fifth rounder (164 overall), a 2022 first rounder and a ‘22 fourth rounder to NY. 

At this moment, I got hyped. I had been wanting Fields for a bit of time, and it may become a reality if Pace makes that phone call to Fields. 

He was back in Kennesaw, Georgia with his family waiting for his name to be called back in Cleveland, Ohio. 

I watched in anticipation as the cameras on ESPN showed Fields walking back to his couch whilst holding his phone to his ear and putting it back down. His family was right in tow. 

Then I got REALLY hyped. It was clear he had just gotten off the phone with GM Ryan Pace. 

The hype reached its boiling point, almost literally, as the name of Justin Fields was read by Auburn Gresham community leader Carlos Nelson. 

My face turned beet red as I walked to the other room, trying not to make any major joyful noise as my sister was asleep. 

I was on cloud nine. The Bears had just selected a quarterback who had one of the BEST careers in college football and put up a gritty performance in the National Semifinal. 

Bears fans around the world would agree. 

Videos came out of the real-time reactions from many CHI fans, and it was a beautiful sight. 

This sunny spectacle would become a stormy slide months later. 

After Justin Fields received limited playing time in week one against the Rams, he was thrust into action during week two against the Bengals after starting quarterback Andy Dalton went down with a knee injury. 

Fields did alright, throwing for 60 yards on 6/13 passing with an interception. 

The next week was a horrendous one, as with no valid game plan and no assistance from coaches beforehand, Fields went into Cleveland to face the Browns and threw for a net one passing yard. 

Took nine sacks. 

Yes. That first statistic against the Brownies was real. 


Anyhow, Fields came off of this “thrown to the wolves” game with a 209 yard passing performance against the Lions at home, with the most notable play of his performance a picture-perfect deep ball to Darnell Mooney. 

Chicago went to Las Vegas the next week and Fields notched his first career touchdown pass, a two-yard score to tight end Jesper Horsted. 

The Bears won 20-9. 

The rest of the season was up-and-down as Justin Fields ended his rookie season with 7 touchdown passes compared to 10 interceptions. 

Not bad for a rookie with no significant support whatsoever from his coaching staff. 

As a result of this, former Bears head coach Matt Nagy and former GM Ryan Pace were shown the door after a 6-11 season. 

The two new leaders of Chicago’s beloved team, Matt Eberflus at head coach and Ryan Poles at GM, made sure to highlight in their first press conference that they are focused on playing effort-based, smart football, with the eventual “taking of the North” and “never giving it back”. 

Matt Eberflus ran the Colts defense before coming to Chicago, and Ryan Poles helped the Chiefs win their first Super Bowl in half a decade in 2019 as their Assistant Director of Player Personnel. 

He finished up his first season as Executive Director of Player Personnel before making the trip to the Windy City. 

The offseason moves Flus and Poles made reflected what their plan is for the future. 

They made minimal free agent moves and drafted two defensive players in Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker to start the 2022 NFL Draft. 

It made some fans, including myself, enraged, but when I realized what Poles’s vision was, I was content. 

Poles stated that his goal was to take the best players on the board, and not try to fill needs. 

He said that would come when there was a balance at a few positions and when the team needed a player at a premium position. 

He stated to Bears senior writer Larry Mayer that “you should really have the mindset of best available”. 

It seems as though this philosophy may work out, as both Gordon and Brisker have made significant strides throughout their first season, most notably with Brisker becoming a lock-down defensive back (safety) and Gordon starting to come into his own after a shaky start. 

The reason I bring this up is because the main focus, to fans, should be to help Fields with as many offensive players as possible early on so he can take some big steps his sophomore season. 

However, nine games into 2022, it seems like Fields won’t need a whole ton of help to excel. 

For me, the measure of a great QB is what he can do with not-so-great options to work with at receiver. 

Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback to play the position, has had only a few high-profile guys to work with in his 23-year career, such as Julian Edelman, Deion Branch, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker. 

You could also add in Mike Evans with Tampa Bay. 

In Brady’s last year of his long run in New England, he had one of the worst receiving groups in the league. 

Julian Edelman was the starter, and right behind him was Josh Gordon, who has joined two teams since ‘19, in the Seahawks and the Chiefs. 

The Pats also had Antonio Brown on the roster, who ended up catching passes from Brady with the Buccaneers, but who has a long history of doing stupid crap, such as tweeting some offensive things. 

Not ideal at all for Brady in the wide receiver room. 

As for the Bears, their top two wide receivers this year are Darnell Mooney and newly-acquired Chase Claypool from the Steelers, with both of them doing well against the Dolphins a week ago. 

Before then, with Jay Cutler as the signal caller, their top receivers used to be Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. 

With Mitch Trubisky, it was Allen Robinson II, who has sputtered with the Rams after heading to the free agent market last offseason. 

For the star of the story, Justin Fields, he was treated to a few offensive lineman signings in free agency and a stellar rookie lineman in Braxton Jones drafted 168th overall who is now the teams’ starting left tackle. 

As we head to week 10 against Detroit, let’s dive into some numbers supporting Fields’ exponential growth. 

This season, Justin Fields has thrown 10 touchdowns and six interceptions for a total of 1,322 yards at the halfway point of his second year. 

He threw three touchdown passes against the Miami Dolphins for 123 yards passing and ran for 178 yards (all-time record for a QB in a regular-season game) and a 61 yard scamper for a score in his most recent outing. 

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel had a pretty hilarious response to how Fields just kept running and running and running for big gains, as he verbally told Justin to “stop it” after one of his many scampers to the sideline. 

“I just wanted him to stop scrambling and it was pretty irritating because he didn’t listen at all. He didn’t take the coaching. 

“I figured no one had asked him to stop it, so I gave it a try”, he told reporters. 

On a serious note, McDaniel lauded Fields’ ability to use his full toolbox of unique and rare skill: 

“I think Justin is really starting to get a feel for when he can utilize his full scale of gifts and he’s making plays more and more and becoming more difficult to defend.” 

Anyhow, Fields’ first touchdown pass of his spectacular showcase was a nice naked fake to running back Khalil Herbert as Fields threw a strike to tight end Cole Kmet and he took it the rest of the way, with a great block by Equanimeous St. Brown, for six. 

Fields’ second one came in the form of a great throw while with pressure in his face, away from star cornerback Xavien Howard, to Darnell Mooney for a touchdown. 

His last one was a second to Cole Kmet, a play eerily similar to the play run against the Commanders where Fields overshot tight end Ryan Griffin by JUST a bit in the endzone. 

This time, Justin put a strike into Cole Kmet’s chest in the endzone for a touchdown trifecta. 

On the TD scamper, he faked a throw and then decided to take off when he didn’t see a passing lane, which shows a clear sign of patience. 

Fields was asked about this in his most recent press conference: 

“When I was in the air, I was about to throw it to Darnell (Mooney), but I guess he thought I was scrambling already so he had turned around. 

“Once I saw that, I just tucked the ball down and ran, and instincts took over from there.” 

All of these moments show one thing, and one thing only: 

The Bears have their franchise QB. 

This is not coming from excitement, either. The stats are able to justify this claim well. 

Fields has thrown for six touchdowns and only a single interception in his last three games, with a 106.1 passer rating. 

It was mentioned earlier that he broke the all-time rushing yard mark for a QB in a regular season game against the Dolphins, but Fields also made a bit more history as he became the first single-caller in the Super Bowl era to rush for more than 140 yards and throw for three touchdowns or more. 

Finally, the 61 yard touchdown run, and run distance as a whole, from Fields was the longest by a quarterback in Bears history. 

Now, all of these spectacles are exciting to discuss, but the elephant in the room is what Chicago does in the 2023 offseason to get Fields some assistance on the road to greatness. 

The looming position the Bears need to fill with some star power is the wide receiver room. 

The last play against the Dolphins on Sunday was a perfectly thrown ball by Fields on fourth and ten to Equanimeous St. Brown whilst on the run. 

It slipped right through his hands. 

At least, Chicago will want to add a big-name-ish guy to the WR core to give Fields more to work with in the workshop. 

The big guys up front need to also be addressed for Chicago. Listen, this group did alright against Miami, but if the Bears want to keep their franchise QB around the block for a long time, they have to be able to give Fields a few moments to take in everything around him before he makes his decision on the play without being swallowed up by defensive linemen and linebackers. 

A couple strong o-linemen signed in free-agency would be nice. 

Maybe even the draft, too. 

Greatness doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen with one person. 

Although it is nice to know the quarterback is not a missing puzzle piece anymore.