Justin Fields has led the Bears to four straight games where they have scored 29 points or more and it’s the most exciting era of offense in Chicago Bears history.
Justin Fields has blown up the NFL with his running ability perhaps like no other QB in the history of the NFL. Lamar Jackson has been great, Kyler Murray amazing and going back all the way to the early 2000s Michael Vick was probably the pioneer. But if you go through the pantheon of great running QBs, only one of them ever had a winning record in the playoffs or won a Super Bowl and that was Russell Wilson. All of the QBs who are among the single-season leaders for rushing yards by a QB have had below average careers.
For starters, let’s go back to the 1985 Chicago Bears era, which just happens to coincide with Randall Cunningham’s rookie year. Cunningham in 1990 had 942 yards rushing in 1990 at the peak of his powers. Cunningham also had a fantastic defense backing him up, his career playoff record was 3-6.
Cam Newton’s playoff record is 3-4 he also couldn’t consistently get it done and was whipped by a Broncos defense that corraled him in the Super Bowl and completely shut the Panthers offense down.
RGIII wound up injured, Michael Vick’s career faded out quickly once his legs started to fail him, and Steve McNair struggled as a passer throughout his career to successfully challenge the league’s best. Lamar Jackson Josh Allen and Jaelen Hurts are starting to hit the peak of their careers, so it’s too early to write them off, but 2022 will be a key year for all three as they all appear headed for the playoffs.
The reality is Justin Fields needs to grow as a passer sooner rather than later. There are still too many signs that he’s not going to be good enough as a passer to lead the Bears to the level of achievement Bears fans are starting to anticipate with him.
As Dan Pompei wrote for The Athletic Justin Fields needs to make progress now and win these games that are winnable opportunities for a QB that should be trending toward elite status.
• Justin Fields’ pick-six was one thing, but going three-and-out twice and turning it over on downs in the fourth quarter was something else, and something as concerning.
• Fields’ long runs are magnificent, but they should not be confused with his development as a passer.
Last week Justin Fields managed only seven points in the fourth quarter while the defense held the Dolphins to zero fourth-quarter points, and the Bears lost by three.
The reality is teams are starting to key in on Justin Fields as a runner late in games or the situation dictates that Fields needs to throw from the pocket more, forcing him to make plays in the passing game and Fields has yet to do so.
The Bears have seven games left and Justin Fields has three legitimate weapons in Chase Claypool, Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet with which to elevate the Bears’ passing game. Justin Fields needs to show tremendous growth through these final seven games to prove his is the quarterback to need to achieve consistent playoff appearances. Otherwise, Fields achievements might start to mirror the excitement Rex Grossman generated with some of his deep balls in 2006, but never again achieved at any other point in his career.
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