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Bears want as much “live experience” for Justin Fields as possible

The Football Night in America crew dive into Week 17, where the Bucs clinched the NFC South, the Giants are headed to the playoffs, the Packers kept their postseason dreams alive and more.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields ran for 105 yards on five carries in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Lions and the Bears led Detroit 10-7 when the first 15 minutes of play were up.

The next 45 minutes played out very differently. The Bears managed 90 yards in the final three quarters and the Lions scored 34 straight points to pick up a 41-10 over their NFC North rivals. Fields would wind up being sacked seven times and he was pressured constantly behind a line that was down to a third-string guard at one spot.

Fields went the distance despite how poorly things went for Chicago and head coach Matt Eberflus said after the loss that there was no substitute for the “live experience” that Fields was able to get on Sunday. That’s also why Fields will be playing against the Vikings in Week 18.

“I just go back to what I just kind of tried to state is in-game experience, there’s nothing like it,” Eberflus said, via Courtney Cronin of “We’re not going to get that anywhere else. Again, that’s a good pass-rushing group, so I thought it was really good to get that experience. Now, did it turn out the way he wanted it to or the way we wanted it to? No, it didn’t, but you’ve got to work through adversity. You’ve got to work through it and figure it out as coaches, as players. We’ve got to do a better job.”

Fields has made some clear strides in his second NFL season, but the Bears have lost nine straight games. The hope in Chicago is that the lumps Fields is taking this season leads to more individual and team improvement in 2023.