Justin Fields has made impressive strides this NFL season as a quarterback. From what he has done in the pocket as a passer, to what he has shown with the football in his hands, the Chicago Bears have every reason to believe that he can be the cornerstone of their offense for years to come.
But a third-down conversion against the Detroit Lions on Sunday illustrates just how critical it is for the Bears to get the football in his hands, any way possible.
With the Bears facing a 3rd and 1 early in the game, Fields aligned in the shotgun. Tight end Cole Kmet came in motion, before aligning under center. The Lions likely expected a quarterback sneak with Kmet, as offenses have used this kind of design recently to convert short-yardage situations with a bigger player, and avoid exposing their quarterback to contact.
However, the Bears had another idea:
Instead of the sneak, Kmet takes the snap, reverse pivots, and pitches to Fields, who has a convoy of blockers in front of him. The QB avoids a defender in the backfield, and cuts upfield for the first down.
How did the possession end? With Fields finding Kmet for the game’s first touchdown:
Fields flashed his athleticism a little later in the quarter, on this dynamic scramble for a big gain:
The Bears have already been eliminated from the playoffs, but with the development of Fields this season, a pick likely to be in the top five of the 2023 NFL Draft, and Chicago projected to have the most cap space available in the NFL next season, brighter days certainly seem ahead for the Bears.
Especially if Fields has the football in his hands.