ARLINGTON, Texas — The Bears had just come up short on a ridiculous second-quarter trick on Sunday — a double pass with an illegal forward throw — when a Halloween-worthy nightmare began playing out on the sideline.
Quarterback Justin Fields, who has come closer to being the centerpiece of the Bears’ identity over the weeks, was in the injured blue tent.
The tent, however, came down quickly.
Fields said after the game that he suffered a hip injury five and a half days ago against the Patriots. One bag one game before the ruse hurts that spot again.
“I just took some Advil,” he said, “and got back into the game.”
After playing two games in 5½ days, Fields needed a painkiller. He spent most of the Bears’ 49-29 loss to the Cowboys trying to get his team back in contention – the Bears’ defense allowed four touchdowns on Dallas’ first four drives – but was surprisingly effective in the process. . He finished with a career-best 120 passer rating, completing 17 of 23 passes for 151 yards and rushing eight times for 60 yards. Fields, who entered the game with five touchdown passes all season, threw two against the Cowboys.
The Bears still have question marks that range from their suddenly porous defense to questionably conservative offensive play calls to a roster that’s obviously outclassed compared to the above-average teams they play. But Fields, within a week, began answering some of the most pressing questions.
On Monday, the Bears scored 33 points against a Patriots team that had allowed 18.8 per game. And they hung on 29 to a Cowboys defense that had given up 14.8.
“I think the guys are really starting to spoil each other,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “You can see we’ve put some things in place that really improve the skill levels of our players. I think it’s starting to open up some things for us.
It’s been a successful week for Fields, even if that result was lousy. for a passer rating of 103.4.
Some quarterbacks can pull off that score in one game, not two — the Chargers’ Justin Herbert had something similar in Week 2 alone — but Fields adds an element few can. In the past two games, he’s rushed 22 times for 142 yards (6.5 yards per carry).
Fields was not used as often on engineered tracks as he was six days earlier. But he’s a vital part of the league’s best running offense.
He has gained 40 or more rushing yards in six straight games. In the past five years, two other quarterbacks have said the same thing: Lamar Jackson of the Ravens and Jalen Hurts of the Eagles.
Fields seemed more deliberate in his runs against the Cowboys. He said there was only one he wanted to recover: a 15-yard run in the first quarter, his longest of the game. He was tempted out of bounds on the left sideline, but instead clipped the field and was hammered by Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse.
“He needs to stop taking hits,” catcher Darnell Mooney said. “I love him. He’s a badass. But I don’t need him to be a badass. Just get out of bounds or something.
Fields said he “couldn’t run 100 percent” because his legs hurt after the win over the Patriots. He’s been sacked four times, matching the total he took against New England. Fields faced the Cowboys 6-2 — who entered the game with the most sacks in the NFL — behind an offensive line that didn’t have a single presumptive starter from day one of training camp.
“He’s awesome,” said right tackle Riley Reiff, who made his first start of the season. “Never waver. Hard as hell. I have a lot of respect for him, man. It will only get better too.
The ugliest blow came when the Bears were closest to the lead. They trailed 28-23, after picking up 16 straight points on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Fields to N’Keal Harry in the second quarter, a 36-yard field goal by Cairo Santos late in the first half and a 12-yard run by Khalil Herbert in the third quarter.
After Herbert’s touchdown, the Bears attempted a two-point conversion. Fields pulled out the shotgun snap, looked left, and was planted in the ground by DeMarcus Lawrence. Fields has never seen the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end — and no Bears tackle either. He was supposed to put the ball back on a play option in the middle, but didn’t.
“You want to make sure your guy is out of harm’s way,” Eberflus said. “But we just have to make a good decision there.”
A week ago, the Bears offense looked lost. Now he seems to have an identity: Fields pops some Advil and gets back to work.
“[We’re] not done yet,” Mooney said. “More complete? I would say progress.
“We did better than at the start of the season. We knew it would take time to get everyone on the same page.