This season, Justin Fields has been one of the most exciting players to watch in the National Football League.
It seems like anytime he steps onto the field, the 23-year-old quarterback is breaking another record and cementing himself in NFL history.
But despite the national recognition, his peers respecting his game and what he has done in his second season, Fields has clearly not earned the referees’ respect and is not getting calls that other notable quarterbacks would.
It was apparent in the Bears’ 25-20 loss to the Eagles.
In the first quarter and the Bears facing a first-and-10, Fields dropped back to pass. After assessing his options and finding nobody to throw to, he decided to take off to gain some yards. As Fields moved up field, he saw linebacker Patrick Johnson waiting for him, so Fields slid. Behind him, though, 6-foot-4, 313- pound defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh came barreling down on Fields and hit the quarterback on the side of the head with his hefty right open hand.
Immediately after, Fields put his shoulder and hands up in a shrugging motion, stood up and verbalized his displeasure to referee Brad Rogers. The man in the black and white striped shirt did not throw a flag.
“I said it’s been like too many times this year where I felt like I’ve gotten hit late or something like that and there’s been no flag,” Fields said on Tuesday. “So I mean I’m going to be on the refs looking for a call but when I think it’s a flag I’m going to ask the ref and on Sunday he said he didn’t think it was a foul. Yeah, I’m going to be begging for those calls and just hope I get one, one in the near future.”
This is absolutely the right move for Fields. He needs to put pressure on the referees so he can get the call he deserves. He was hit in the head, which is a penalty.
But it’s crazy that he still isn’t getting the call in the first place. Going into this Week 15 matchup with the Eagles, you would hope the officials knew that Fields was the leading rusher among quarterbacks and that he was 95 yards away from reaching 1,000 rushing yards, which he reached in the fourth quarter.
And on the other team, there is Jalen Hurts, who is also a dynamic runner. So this group of officials should’ve known the type of players that were going into this game and made it an emphasis on both sides to protect the quarterbacks.
Nope. Didn’t happen.
Plus, it was freaking Suh who smacked Fields on the side of his helmet. The man’s track record of dirty plays is as long as the list of people who can’t spell his first name correctly. So, even if there is any doubt, a flag should’ve been thrown.
At this point, it’s fair to question if Fields will ever get the same treatment as some of the veteran quarterbacks in the league. Maybe it really is just time that will change things, but that shouldn’t be the case.
Maybe if Fields etches his name in the NFL record book for breaking Lamar Jackson’s single-season rushing record of 1,206 yards, then he will start getting the officials’ respect.
Fields isn’t the biggest talker, but his voice may just be his most powerful attribute to force officials to start throwing that yellow flag.