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Justin Fields leads the Bears to a blowout victory over the Falcons in final home game of the 2023 season
CHICAGO — Not even Justin Fields knows how he makes some of his plays.
On third-and-8 with under eight minutes left in the third quarter, Fields unveiled his latest Houdini act.
The Falcons’ Bud Dupree blitzed off the right edge unblocked and Fields somehow broke through an arm tackle and stayed upright. The 6-foot-3, 228-pound quarterback then had 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive lineman David Onyemata wrapped around his waist. Fields flung around and escaped the defender’s grasp. The quarterback regained his balance and quickly changed direction on 16-year veteran Calais Campbell and found green grass ahead of him to gain 13 yards before running out of bounds towards the Bears’ sideline.
“I don’t even know to be honest with you,” Fields said when describing his run on third down. “It’s just straight instincts, so, fortunately I have to make some of those plays throughout the game, but I can’t actually tell you what happened … That was a crazy play, so I really can’t explain that one to you.”
Even when the defense has the perfect call and has players in the perfect position to win the rep, Fields has the capabilities to create something out of nothing. It’s one of the traits that makes Fields special and a reason why it will be a difficult decision for general manager Ryan Poles to move on to a new quarterback next season despite the team having the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL thanks to the Carolina Panthers.
Those electrifying plays stand out to Fields’ teammates. Jaquan Brisker met Fields on the sideline after the third-down run and was clearly fired up after the play.
“He is a dog. He is a dog,” Brisker said. “That’s why I say he broke four to five tackles, and I don’t know what I said, but I went crazy cause that’s an amazing play and that’s our guy and we’re always going to have his back. That’s one of the plays that shows that he’s special and he continues to show that every single week, which is consistency and what you want in our quarterback, so I think that was huge.”
Brisker also went on to say that he doesn’t get surprised when Fields makes those types of plays, but he did say will get up out of his seat when he is on the bench and act like he’s a fan when he sees his quarterback do those types of things.
In the 37-17 victory over the Falcons, Fields finished 20 of 32 for 268 passing yards and threw a touchdown strike to DJ Moore on the Bears’ first offensive possession of the game. Fields also added 45 yards on 11 carriers, including a nine-yard touchdown run on the Bears’ second offensive possession. Moore and Fields would go on to connect nine times for 159 yards.
On a third-and-7 play in the first quarter, Fields connected with Moore on a 32-yard reception down the left sideline. Moore said after the game that the snow got in his way and had to “blind catch it.”
Fields said in his postgame press conference that he has “that trust in him to that’s he gonna make that catch.” In their first season together, Fields and Moore have shown that trust in each other. Moore reached a new career-high in receiving yards (1,300) and touchdown receptions (8), and Fields highlighted exactly how he has benefited from having a receiver like Moore.
“Shoot, he’s made my job easier,” Fields said. “See him in one-on-one coverage, most likely open. Just the way he came in, adjusted to this offense, learned this offense. I remember him having maybe two mistakes in training camp on plays and stuff like that. So just the way he has dedicated his time to this team and to learning the playbook and coming in making plays like he has, has been great for us. Shoot, I love him here. He makes my job way easier, so just hats off to him and glad that he’s my teammate.”
That love is reciprocated from Fields’ current and former teammates. Some went to social media after the game to show their support for the quarterback.
The fans at Soldier Field also showed Fields some love with a “We want Fields” chant that echoed throughout the stadium later in the game.
“Yeah, of course I heard them,” Brisker said. “I want Justin. We all want Justin. Let’s Go. You know what I mean? That’s our guy. That guy makes plays for sure and he’s a leader and we like a guy like that. And he’s giving it all he’s got. … Man, he’s amazing for sure. I ain’t going to lie. He a great guy. He gets better every single day, so you can’t let a guy like that slip.”
Brisker knows who he wants quarterbacking his team moving forward, but it will ultimately be Poles’ decision and the rest of the higherups in the Bears’ organization to decide what they will do at the position after this season concludes.
Luckily for Fields, he doesn’t have to worry about those bigger picture topics. He gets to focus on what is happening right now, and he made sure to take a moment and appreciate what could potentially be his final game at Soldier Field in a Bears uniform.
“I did. I did,” Fields said when asked if he took a moment to reflect. “But I always do that. I just made a big emphasis on living in the present moment. I definitely did. Definitely remember this game for the rest of my life, just the atmosphere, the fans, the chants, the snow. I don’t like snow as a quarterback, but looking back on it it was great. Just the atmosphere, the fans, the game, playing the hometown team where I’m from, beating them, it was good day today.”
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