Bear’s rookie quarterback Justin Fields made his first NFL start against the Cleveland Browns, and his nightmare-ish performance didn’t surprise me. Before the season, I argued that the Bears had a golden opportunity to start Fields either week four or five. The reason being is because they’d face the Raiders and Lions, two teams with questionable pass rushes. Given the shakiness of the Bear’s offensive line, it would make sense to start Fields against a poorer defense. Unfortunately for Justin Fields, an Andy Dalton injury catapulted him into starting a week earlier against a Myles Garret lead defense.
The Browns defense terrorized Justin Fields all night, sacking him nine total times. Myles Garret alone had four and a half of those nine sacks. Cleveland’s defense was relentless, holding the Bears to just 47 total yards of offense. Justin Fields completed six of 20 passes for 68 yards, but due to the sacks he took, they lost 67 yards of offense. Chicago’s offensive line couldn’t protect, run block, or even give their offense a chance to succeed. In fact, the only part of the game that was shocking was how little Justin Fields ran the football.
You’d think that given the athletic element to Justin Fields game, head coach and play-caller Matt Nagy would call some designed runs. If not because their offensive line is horrible, then to give the young struggling rookie some confidence and easy yards. However, after only three total rush attempts by Justin Fields, it appears that wasn’t in the game plan.
Cleveland won 26-6, and if not for a failed fourth-down conversion by the Browns, the Bears wouldn’t have gotten three of those points. The Browns doubled the Bear’s time of possession, and for the time being, may have silenced the rumblings for Justin Fields.
Matt Nagy must be better about how he handles Justin Fields. Nagy’s already stated that when Dalton’s ready to return from injury, he’s their starter. However, as long as Fields is playing, Matt Nagy has to protect him. Luckily for the Bears, their next opponent is the 0-3 Detroit Lions. If there’s any game for the Bears to bounce back and restore Fields confidence with, it’s this one.
Credit to the Lions, they’ve fought hard in all three of their games, and some would argue, should’ve beaten the Ravens. Given the in-division rivalry between them and the Bears, this game won’t be a cakewalk. But if Lamar Jackson showed us anything on Sunday, it’s that there will be opportunities for Justin Fields to run. Nagy has to use his rookie’s athletic ability to his advantage, and Fields must not be afraid to run if no one is open.
I won’t count out Just Fields after one start, but for his start, it was a nightmare.