Courtesy of ill-time mistakes, Chicago remains the biggest joke in the NFL. Before kickoff, Chase Claypool was ruled inactive after complaining about his usage to the media, the last straw in an assembly line of Claypool’s missteps. Fortunately, Fields had a Cole Kmet and DJ Moore at his disposal.
As the weeks progress, Justin Fields is getting more creative in engineering Chicago’s campaign for 2024’s first overall pick. The weekly inverted race between Zach Wilson and Fields to be the NFL’s most aggravating quarterback has been off to a hot start in 2023. However, Wilson was playing with house money against the NFL’s defending champions. In a meeting of comically sad franchises, Fields burst out of the gates, but Russell Wilson and the Broncos laughed last.
The Bears appeared to have hit their stride with Fields against a Denver defense whose healing properties have cured offenses around the league. They allowed Washington to drop 35 points and then got lip up for 70 by Miami.In the first 45 minutes of Week 4 action, the Broncos put those Pentecostal hands on Chicago’s embattled quarterback.
The results were promising for the Bears. Fields completed his first 12 passes and threw four touchdowns. The Bears led, 28-7, and Fields connected on all four of those scores with his arm, even while he scrambled in an east-west direction. But moral victories are for rookie quarterbacks. Fields’ signs of progress were wiped out by some fire and brimstone mistakes that damned the Bears to 0-4. Getting outscored 17-nil in the final frame by a team that’s known for its second half collapses is so Chicago. They are a tributary for punishment and they converged in the second half.
Whenever the Bears needed a play from Fields on Sunday, they resorted to getting him outside the pocket in play action and he’d lock in on Kmet. On his third score of the day, Fields effectively escaped the pocket on play action, bounced to the sideline and flipped a jump pass to Kmet in the end zone once his threat to run distracted the wall of defense between him and the pylon.
On his final touchdown, the Broncos sniffed out the play action, but Fields froze the blitzing Nik Bonitto, ran donuts around him and fired a touchdown strike to Khalil Herbert. However, Fields’ situational awareness in the fourth quarter left much to be desired.
Leading by seven, Fields rolled out of the pocket in play action and inexplicably attempted to throw in the face of a blitzing pass rusher, leading to a fumble, a scoop and a Broncos defensive touchdown. That play is emblematic of the gift and the curse of Fields’ improvisational ability. Since 2021, Fields has fumbled more than any other player. Mobile quarterbacks fumble at a high rate, but Fields isn’t generating enough offense to justify this.
Fields played a significant role in the comedy of errors that led to Chicago’s defeat, but head coach Matt Eberflus lended a helping hand. The irony is that Chicago’s eyes being wider than their mouths is what put the Bears in that position. On their previous possession, Eberflus opted against attempting a field goal from the Broncos 18 to go for it on fourth-and-1. The Broncos stuffed Herbert, and Wilson then led the Broncos to the winning field goal.
Trailing by three, Fields had plenty of time to gain the requisite yardage for a game-tying field goal. Instead, he got greedy, misread Kmet, who stopped his route, and threw a laser right at Denver CB Kareem Jackson, who sat underneath coverage right behind the Bears tight end and sealed the win with a score.
The Bears are the organization that trips on their own shoelaces, and sets off a domino effect that ends with Soldier Field ablaze. A quarterback surrendering 14 points in two possessions is incredibly on-brand. Whether he’s glitching in the pocket or throwing right at linebackers, Fields feels like he’s a performance artist highlighting the Bears incompetence at grooming franchise cornerstone at the important position in the league.
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