Chicago Bears: 3 takeaways from Justin Fields’ debut performance

Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Bears, Justin Fields
Bears (Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports) /

Justin Fields showed why the Chicago Bears moved up to draft him.

When it was all said and done, and the book closed on Justin Fields’ first start in the NFL, the stat line was impressive. Fields finished 14/20 (good for a 70 percent completion percentage) for 142 yards, 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions. He also ran for 33 more yards and another score.

But even Mitch Trubisky put up eye-popping stats in his first preseason game, so what does it all mean? Well, if you look beyond just the numbers, it’s clear this performance was much different.

Fields’ performance was replete with examples of him calmly going through his progressions and finding the open man.  There are at least two plays in the cut up featured below where Fields tucked the ball as if to be getting ready to run for the first down, and when the defense committed, he flicked the ball to the open receiver for the first down. In other words, his awareness on the field is impressive for a rookie.

However, the play that maybe best encapsulated the reasons the Bears traded up for Fields is the first play of the highlight reel above. It was 3rd and 5 from the Bears 42-yard line with just 15 seconds left in the first half. The Bears were scoreless at that point and trying to drive for a field goal before halftime.

Fields takes the snap and almost immediately gets pressure. Instead of trying to leak out the back (like a certain unnamed player), Fields stepped up in the pocket looking downfield. When he realized nothing was there, only then did he roll out to the right, still keeping his eyes downfield. He fixed his eyes on his check down, almost as if to coyly bait the defender, and when the defender crept up, he slung a dart across his body about 15-yards downfield.

The play had a little of everything that is good about Fields — poise, confidence, savvy, arm strength, mobility and accuracy.

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Now Bears fans fix their eyes towards preseason game number two against a familiar face, and we’ll see whether he gets more reps with the first team between now and then. If so, the aforementioned incumbent’s tenure may be short-lived.