When Justin Fields finally took the field for the Bears on the fourth offensive play of the game, he didn’t appear to be overwhelmed by the situation.
“I’ve been kind of in the spotlight since high school, so, I kind of feel like I’m made for this,” Fields said way back in May. “I’m built for this. It’s nothing new to me.”
He wasn’t kidding.
Matt Nagy apparently knew that Fields was up to the task too, because on his very first snap一 a 2nd-and-10 play from the Rams’ 12-yard line一 he dialed up a run-pass option. No easy handoff, or quick curl routes to warm up. Straight into the fire.
“He made a decision to throw off of a look that we had,” Nagy said after the game. “So right there, to start the game, I thought that was great.”
And it was a great throw, even if it didn’t look flashy, and only went for nine yards. After deciding to throw the ball, Fields calmly scanned from the middle of the field to the sideline to find an open Marquise Goodwin. Then he delivered an accurate ball, quickly, with the Rams pass rush barreling down on him. Goodwin may have been his only read on the play, but by not staring Goodwin down, Fields might have prevented Rams safety Jordan Fuller from undercutting the route.
While Fields made his debut look like just another day at the office from his outward expressions, internally he made sure to savor the moment.
“I’m not gonna lie, I was doing that during the game, I was like, ‘Yo, this is crazy,’” Fields said. “And then at halftime, I was like, ‘Yo, this is still crazy.’ It was definitely awesome getting out there, and just being on the field. Earlier today I was thinking一 I never thought I’d be in this position, so just me being here was amazing. I’m just grateful for it, for sure.
“It’s just crazy. Like, when I was a kid I was kind of a realist, so I never really thought I’d just have the talent growing up and make it in the NFL. So it’s just crazy seeing myself here, and just seeing God work. It’s just me being here, in this moment.”
Fields will cherish his first touchdown ball too, as a memento of his debut.
“Oh yeah, I’m definitely gonna keep the ball.”
Beyond getting his first game butterflies out of the way, Fields mentioned other tangible takeaways from his limited snaps that should help in his development as a franchise QB.
“You get a feel for the atmosphere, see how fast those guys are coming. Kinda see it’s different behind the O-line, and just the D-line, and stuff like that. It’s different when you’re on the field rather than being on the sideline… just being out there and getting used to the speed and stuff.”
Whether or not Fields performance on Sunday leads to more snaps, or maybe even a start, in Week 2 remains to be seen. But for now, he remains thankful for the playing time that he did have.
“It felt great, finally getting out there, against real NFL action with the starters and stuff like that.”