If you watched the Chicago Bears dismantle Las Vegas on Sunday, I’m sure there were a number of positive takeaways you walked away with. Everything ranging from the defensive game-plan to the running attack was extremely impressive. Like many, I myself walked away with the resounding conclusion that Justin Fields has arrived in Chicago.
No, it wasn’t his impressive toughness that did it for me or the pinpoint accurate tight-window touchdown throw to Horsted that gave the Bears the jolt they needed to take full control of the game. It was one throw in the fourth quarter that showed me everything I wanted to see before unequivocally buying into Justin Fields beyond a shred of a doubt.
The throw came on third and 12 in the fourth quarter to essentially ice the game. Fields threaded the needle to Darnell Mooney to keep the chains moving on a drive which ended in a field goal, pushing the lead back to 8 points with only 2:45 to go.
Justin Fields has officially arrived for the Chicago Bears
If you’re a Chicago Bears fan, you’ve typically found yourself on the receiving end of plays like this countless times. Close, fistfight of a game, the offense finally scores and needs one stop from the defense to get the ball back. The defense fights for two downs and makes it third and next-to-impossible, but then Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, or another franchise-level QB finds a way to fit the ball in a microscopic window to effectively ice the game.
Any other Chicago Bears QB would have put the game back in the hands of the defense to close it out.
Plays like this simply have not gone the Bear’s way in recent memory, perhaps ever. Third and 12, 7 minutes to go, momentum slipping away? Never, have I seen a Bears QB uncork a ball like that when it felt the team might be on its way to blowing another lead. Take a look below.
Think about what happens if Justin Fields doesn’t complete this pass. The clock stops and the Raiders get the ball back down five with seven minutes to play, three timeouts, and all the momentum as the Bears defense barely gets a chance to breathe following the previous drive. Raiders go down the field and score to go up three points, thereby erasing an 11 point fourth-quarter deficit.
Even going back to 2018, the Bears were in so many close games that the defense had to close out. Games against LA, Minnesota, and even Detroit (Thanksgiving) all looked much closer than they felt because of the offense’s inability to put away good teams in the clutch.
So, for Justin Fields to remain unfazed by the moment, the flow of the game, to stand strong in the pocket after absorbing shots all day, and to ultimately deliver a clutch pass that the Chicago Bears haven’t seen from their QB in at least seven years, told me everything I would ever need to know about not just his talent, but his will to be a great NFL quarterback.
The Packers come to town next week and for the first time in a long time, I can be excited knowing that both the Chicago Bears defense and offense have the potential to swing the momentum towards their sideline and control the flow of the game.