When the Bears traded up to draft Justin Fields, expectations were set pretty high, pretty quickly. Much was made of his 4.4 speed, big time arm, and tough makeup that made him a unique talent. It was clear he could develop into a quarterback that fans in Chicago had only dreamed of seeing in Soldier Field. So when Fields was named the Bears’ starter for Week 3, and eventually the rest of the season, fans were understandably excited.
But Fields’ start to the season has not been what fans hoped to see. Both he and the offense as a whole have looked pedestrian on the whole. Fields has made some flashy plays here and there, but it's never felt like he's been truly unleashed.
On a 4th-and-1 play from the 49ers 22-yard line, Fields pulled this out of his hat:
It’s easily the best run of his young career, and Fields didn’t shy away when asked if he felt like it was a “signature play.”
“Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, that was awesome,” Fields said. “I was excited, as y’all could see. But I mean, yeah, it was awesome. Glad to celebrate with my teammates.
“It's just all instincts right there. We tried to get it to Khalil in the flat real quick and the end came up free so I was just trying to make a first down. I just tried to run to the right and of course people were there so I cut back and I knew I could outrun guys to the left for one yard, because it was 4th-and-1, but I just saw the lanes open up and I ran it into the endzone. Like I said, I can’t describe it, it was just on instinct. Great play by everybody.”
From a bird’s eye view, the play was insane. But from his teammates’ perspectives it may have been even more unbelievable.
“I told him, ‘Man, you went nuts on that play,’” said Darnell Mooney. “It was crazy. He was going back to pee wee days on that one.”
“J1, he’s different,” said Khalil Herbert. “He’s different. Playmaker as you can see, but his will to win is very strong and it’s going to pay off soon.”
“That’s what the guy does,” said Roquan Smith. “Big time players make big time plays in big situations.”
It was a play that should’ve tied the game and given the Bears defense great momentum to get a stop. But as we know, Cairo Santos uncharacteristically missed an extra point, and the defense let the Niners march down the field for a deflating touchdown drive of their own. The fact that Fields’ incredible play came in a loss makes it feel a bit hollow, but Fields will not let the loss affect how he prepares for the Steelers next week.
“Of course, we didn’t get the outcome that we wanted today, but we’re just gonna get back and keep going.”