When the Chicago Bears took the field Saturday to face off against the Miami Dolphins, there was one thing on every fan’s mind: the debut of rookie quarterback Justin Fields.
It would be unfair to not mention all of the other players who put on a great performance against Miami, but for the sake of this moment, it’s all about Fields. His stock certainly rose the most.
After two series from veteran Andy Dalton that each resulted in 3-and-outs, head coach Matt Nagy inserted his rookie into the action.
Now, you might be reading all of the exciting and hopeful headlines thinking it was all peaches and cream. However, you’d be wrong. Fields’ first three drives ended without a first down as well, but much of that came because of a horrific game plan from Nagy and penalties from Fields’ teammates. When the rook settled in, he took off.
Chicago Bears rookie Justin Fields ended his first preseason game with two touchdowns and under an even bigger spotlight.
After leading the Bears to a field goal on a drive with just 40 seconds to work with to close the half, Fields continued playing into the second half. That’s where the magic happened.
Early in the third quarter, Fields led the Bears offense down the field to their first touchdown drive of the game. After a few nice throws and an offense in rhythm, Fields took a snap on a goal-to-go situation, evaded a would-be sack and rushed to the end zone in style.
You could hear Soldier Field erupt in the background as the rookie scored his first-ever NFL touchdown. But, it wasn’t over just yet. Fields had plenty more to offer the crowd.
Just a few minutes later, Fields led yet another strong scoring drive. His second touchdown came on play-action, and the Dolphins’ defense completely forgot about tight end Jesse James, who walked in for a touchdown reception.
Fields ended the day going 14-of-20 for 142 yards and a passing touchdown, while rushing four times for 33 yards and a score.
It was more than anyone could have asked for in the rookie’s first snaps as a pro, and his performance did plenty to try and convince coach Nagy that he doesn’t have his starter figured out for Week 1.
Sure, it was against backups. But, Fields was also playing with backups and being protected by backups up front. It goes both ways. The majority of Fields’ completions went to a guy in Rodney Adams who might not even make the final roster. He’s most likely the team’s sixth receiver at this point.
If anything, Fields made a case to get first-team reps in an upcoming preseason game. Should he receive that opportunity, and continue his stellar play, then Nagy will have an official quarterback controversy on his hands.