Bear study: QB Justin Fields’ trajectory more important than wins or losses

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With seven playoff spots and a 17-game schedule, it will be some time before the Bears are too far away to talk about competing for the playoffs. Coach Matt Nagy is guaranteed to try to keep this in the conversation for as long as he can.

But this team is 3-6 after losing to the Steelers on Monday, and it’s the worst record they’ve ever had under Nagy. They are the seventh worst team in the NFL, just ahead of the Jaguars.

The rest of this season is not about results. The Bears have slipped to a point where it doesn’t matter. Does anyone care about making the playoffs at 8-9 rather than going 6-11 and missing them?

What matters now is where they are heading in 2022 and beyond, and that assessment begins with rookie quarterback Justin Fields. If he’s good, this team has a chance to be good. With the focus now entirely on developing Fields and what that means, put aside another disheartening loss and take a look at all of what his performance points to:

Go by car

Fields’ combination of talent and inexperience makes him extremely unpredictable at this point, and it’s exciting to watch. Bears fans’ viewing experience has gone from the disappointment of the past few seasons to the rapturous excitement that something incredible could happen.

Fields caused a stir in the dying minutes with three perfect passes.

Starting from his own 25 and leading 26-20 with 2:47 left, Fields started the race by standing in the pocket amid the pressure that tightened on him and threw through his body towards Allen Robinson on nine. meters. The big win saw the Bears shoot second-and-one, and Fields shot a great deep ball for Darnell Mooney that Mooney just couldn’t catch.

Regardless, Fields continued with some difficulty before facing third and second at his 45-yard line.

That’s when Fields made one of his best throws of the season. Robinson beat cornerback Arthur Maulet early in his run and had two yards separation when Fields hit him at the Steelers’ 27-yard line. He placed it perfectly on Robinson’s shoulder so he could catch it without breaking his stride and running another 11 yards.

In the next play, the Steelers forced Fields to rush to the left and Mooney expertly extended play. On the left side of the end zone, Mooney improvised by stopping and drifting towards the left sideline. Fields had a few issues with touchdown, almost always favoring his fastball, but dropped his pass soft enough that Mooney focused on keeping his feet within touchdown limits and a 27-26 lead.

Last Desperate Thrust

The Bears should have been done after Chris Boswell’s 40-yard field goal gave the Steelers a 29-27 lead with 26 seconds left and Nagy was out of time, but Fields came back to give them a shot. .

He took as many yards as he could as quickly as he could with back-to-back completions at tight end Cole Kmet. Fields hit him on the left sideline for 11 yards on a pass that only ate five seconds off the clock and again on the right sideline for 12 yards which took six seconds even though he had to d ‘first maneuver out of the pressure.

Those two plays brought the Bears to the Steelers 47-yard line with five seconds left, which gave Santos a long field goal. Nagy opted for Santos to try a 65-yard player rather than let Fields throw him into a crowd in the end zone, and the kick landed a few yards in the end zone.

Monster play

Fields’ late heroism was only part of his great game. He had four more passes over 20 yards.

He turned the court in the third quarter on the first and 10 on his own 36 with a 50-yard pass on the straight sideline to Marquise Goodwin at 14 for the Steelers. Goodwin was separated from safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Fields led him just enough without throwing him out of bounds.

Fields again showed his accuracy on a 28-yard pass to tight end Jimmy Graham as the pocket collapsed in the opening play of the fourth quarter. Fields threaded the ball just above Fitzpatrick and safety Terrell Edmunds.

Fields touched Kmet for 25 and 21 yards in the second quarter. On the first pass to Kmet, Fields rolled left on a bootleg and gave him plenty of room to complete the catch before going out of bounds on the left sideline. The runner-up was in the dying minute of the first half and helped set up a basket. He found Kmet in midfield just ahead of Fitzpatrick to reach the Steelers 10-yard line.


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