FOXBOROUGH, MA., – Following Week 6 loss to Washington, quarterback Justin Fields stood on the podium at Soldier Field and addressed the media with a simple message. He and his teammates were tired of being “so close” to winning games and said they had to take the next step and finish games.
Just over 10 days later, Fields and the Bears did just that.
Chicago’s 33-14 victory over the New England Patriots was significant for the team. Not for playoff chances or anything like that, but it was something to build on this season for that regime as well as the players they brought in. And for Fields, he answered the call to help earn a big win throwing for 179 yards and a touchdown, as well as rushing for 82 extra yards and a score.
“Just the resilience, you know. Everyone of course was devastated after the loss and just the way we fought and just the way we prepared throughout the week,” Fields said. “I thought the guys were locked in meetings, in visits. And pretty much our motto this week was to finish everything, whether it was in training, halfway through training, we started to training hard, just finishing the rest of the training Finishing the day focused and locked in meetings So again, I’m just proud of everyone, how they prepared this week and how they fared today. It’s always great to end the night with a dub for sure.
The numbers were by no means mind-blowing for Fields, but the stats are something that will come as he continues to improve, but the most important thing is that he progresses.
After about four tough first games, the quarterback showed signs of improvement. That was the case again Monday night as the Bears put him in good positions and tailored the game plan to his strengths. It was up there with the 2021 Monday Night Football game against Pittsburgh as the best game of his career.
Fields finished the game sixth with a 0.23 Expected points added per game, up significantly from the first weeks of the year. In weeks 1 to 3, bears wWe’re 29th in EPA Pass/Game and moved up to 15th in weeks 4-7. It’s an efficiency gain and can be attributed to letting Fields throw the ball more and adapting the attack to his strengths as he progresses.
“My main focus right now is to keep improving every day, every game,” Fields said after the game. “So again, watch tomorrow with the movie, really tonight what can I improve on and what I can improve on as an individual and what we can improve on as a team. We’re focusing so just about getting better each day.”
There’s still a long way to go before this offense is where it needs to be, but it’s okay. Looking at the struggles of OTAs, minicamp, training camp, preseason, and even this regular season, seeing improvement is a great start.
From there, the Bears can build momentum and confidence to complete the rest of the schedule in 2022. The main focus should be on developing Fields and getting this offense where it needs to be under. Luc Getsy. And while that’s the long-term goal, Fields and the Bears are now focused on Week 8 and the Dallas Cowboys.
“It’s much more encouraging. It’s always easier to fix mistakes after a win. Proud of the guys again,” Fields said. “I know they’re going to come in on Wednesday with the same energy, the same fight that they put up last week preparing for the Cowboys.”