ARLINGTON, TEXAS — The Bears couldn’t stop anything the Cowboys were doing offensively on Sunday. Tony Pollard ran all over the defense and the points kept piling up on the giant scoreboard inside AT&T Stadium.
The 49-29 loss was of course a disappointing and embarrassing outing for everyone involved in defensive coordinator Alan Williams’ unit.
But there was a silver lining in the Bears’ fifth loss of the season: Justin Fields
The second-year quarterback finished the game 17-of-23 for 151 yards and two passing touchdowns. He also added 60 yards on the ground and scored a three-yard rushing touchdown.
In the losing effort, Fields set new career-highs as a starter with his 120.0 passer rating, 73.9 completion percentage and three total touchdowns.
“I think we’re growing, getting better each and every week as an offense,” Fields said after the game. “I’m just proud of the guys, the way they fought. We were down early but they didn’t waver. We kept the same mentality and just chipped away and I thought as a whole we played well.”
Throughout the entirety of the game, Fields did his best to execute each play to the best of his ability. However, his teammates – at times – couldn’t say the same thing.
On the Bears’ fourth offensive possession of the game, Fields and the offense lined up on their own 47-yard line, facing a first-and-10. Velus Jones Jr. lined up out wide and ran a vertical route. He had a step on his man and Fields threw the ball right into Jones’ outstretched hands, but the 2022 third-round pick dropped the pass.
“If you want to have success in the NFL, you are always going to have to be a threat to stretch the defense vertically,” Fields said. “So you have to take those shots downfield so they’re not all up in your grill. I mean every successful offense in the NFL, in the league they’re gonna attack vertically, so of course we are going to keep doing that for sure.”
The Bears did go on to still score a touchdown on the drive with a 17-yard strike to N’Keal Harry, but before that Fields converted on a crucial third-and-4. Fields avoided some Cowboys defenders in the pocket and then faked out Leighton Vander Esch with an attempted pass before outrunning Anthony Barr to the left sideline for a pickup of nine yards.
On the Bears’ final scoring drive of the game – a 13-play, 75-yard drive – Fields’ teammates committed two holding penalties. First was by Kmet to begin the drive, and the penalty brought back a 41-yard run by Fields.
Eight plays later, Braxton Jones was flagged for holding. Fields also converted on another third down with his legs, and threw an accurate pass to Kmet for a 10-yard touchdown.
Arguably the worst play that Fields committed on the day was not touching down Micah Parsons after he recovered the fumble from David Montgomery. Fields hurdled Parsons and the star linebacker then returned the ball for a touchdown.
“Yeah, just touch him down,” Bears coach Matt Eberflus said. “We’ve showed multiple times during the course of our situations tape that we show every Friday that you’ve got to touch guys down. Whoever is right there in the scrum, when you see that, you’ve got to touch them down. We know that. That’s a part of pro football and we’ve just got to do a better job there.”
No question Fields should’ve put a hand on Parsons to stop the play, but can you blame a guy, who has been hit so often, for avoiding another collision.
A 20-point loss is never a good thing for any team, but Fields played well for the second-consecutive game, and did so the past two weeks on the road. This Bears team as it stands today may not have a lot of talent, but the quarterback is starting to instill a sense of confidence at the most important position on the football field.