CHICAGO -- It was a moment seven months in the making for the Bears and Justin Fields. A signature play for the future of the franchise.
Trailing the 49ers' 23-16 and facing a fourth-and-1 from the San Francisco 22-yard line Sunday, the Bears dialed up a quick pass in the flat to Khalil Herbert. But the play was blown up from the start, and that's when Fields put on his cape and gave Bears fans a glimpse into what they envision the next decade-plus will look like.
Fields rolled right and shook defensive tackle Arik Armstead before reversing course. He juked Kevin Givens, ran by Nick Bosa, picked up a block on the edge, and sauntered into the end zone to electrify Soldier Field and bring the Bears within one after a missed PAT.
It was a signature moment for Fields, who threw for 175 yards and rushed for 103. But the most important ingredient was missing as the Bears were unable to capitalize on Fields' performance, falling 33-22.
Loss aside, Sunday was about Fields taking another important step forward in his development and making jaws drop in the process.
"It's just all instincts right there," Field said of his touchdown run after the loss. "We tried to get Khalil to the flat real quick, and the end came off free, so just tried to make a play on fourth-and-one and just get the first down. They just came off the edge with a blitz. In that situation, you technically have to throw hot right there, but there was too many guys in front of my face, and Khalil was covered, so yeah.
"I just tried to roll out to the right," Fields continued later. "Of course people were there, cut back, and then of course I knew I could outrun guys to the left for 1 yard. Of course, it's fourth-and-one, but I just saw a lane started opening up, and then I just ran it right in the end zone. I mean, I can't really describe it. It really just happened off of instinct, like you said before. It was a great play by everybody on that."
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Another loss stings for Fields, but he was pleased with how the Bears' offense operated Sunday, And yeah, he enjoyed sending Soldier Field into a frenzy.
"Yeah, I'm not going to lie, that was awesome. I was excited, as y'all you could see," Fields said. "But yeah, it was awesome. Glad to celebrate with my teammates, and we're just going to continue to get better, like I said. Of course, we didn't get the outcome that we wanted today, but we're just going to keep that and keep going."
In the end, few will remember a Week 8 loss to the 49ers in Fields' rookie season. The score will fade away. The defense's inability to force a punt will be forgotten.
But if Fields lives up to his lofty ceiling, a 22-yard run on a beautiful fall day at Soldier Field might be long remembered as the first of many signature moments for the franchise quarterback the Bears have long been searching for.