Justin Fields: Breaking down the Bears’ rookie preseason debut

Chicago Bears, Bears mock draft. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears, Bears mock draft. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields looked the part in his preseason debut against the Miami Dolphins. We break down his play.

Like Rose said during her look back on the events of the Titanic, “It’s been 84 years.” Well, maybe not that long, but it’s been a figurative lifetime since the Chicago Bears had legitimate hope under center heading into a new season.

When the Bears traded up into the 11th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and selected Ohio State’s Justin Fields, fans were hysterical beyond comprehension. Their savior had come. No more Rex Grossman, or Cade McNown. No more watching the likes of Jay Cutler, Caleb Hanie, or Todd Collins helplessly try to take the Bears back to the Promised Land. The Bears finally had a quarterback that was going to put them back into the conversation as a perennial contender.

The only problem is that Fields actually has to play a down before he can lead the team anywhere. His opportunity to silence critics and secure confirmation in the hearts of Bears fans worldwide came today in the Bears’ preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins. Fields didn’t get onto the field until early into the second quarter, which felt like a lifetime after so much hype around his play during camp built up to today’s opener.

Some professional debuts go extremely well, and some are forgetful. For instance, in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays called up the #1 overall prospect, Wander Franco, in May, and in his first game, he hit a home run and had a highlight-reel defensive play to solidify his arrival.

Justin Fields’ debut got off to a bit of a rocky start. His first drive was less than stellar, starting his career under center with a handoff to Damien Williams. He ended the 3 & out drive going 2/2 with 1 yard. The drive stalled out and the Bears punted.

Heading back out for his third series, the nerves didn’t seem to calm down. Yet another three-and-out series that featured two fumbles and a near interception, clearly Fields was still shaking out the cobwebs of not playing in a meaningful game and his first professional game all in nine months.

The fourth series came with just 0:27 left on the clock before halftime. Fields managed to drive the Bears downfield for a field goal and went into the half 7/12 for 52 yards.

Coming back out after the halftime break, Fields remained under center. It was made clear by Head Coach Matt Nagy that Fields was going to get plenty of reps against Miami, and he did; Fields played nearly two full quarters Saturday at Soldier Field.

It seemed as though Fields felt more comfortable in the second half, as he led the Bears downfield, and made some beautiful throws along the way.


Fields was constantly put in a position to make plays out of the pocket which allowed him to use his legs and force him to make split decisions on the run.

Later in the third quarter, Fields scored his first touchdown as a Chicago Bear on an 8-yard run after the pocket broke down. His poise and calmness as the play developed was impressive, to say the least.

As the game went on Fields continued to show a calm, cool, and collected moxy about himself when the play forced him to use his feet and create plays on the run.

In a very Mahomesian fashion, his ability to keep his eyes locked downfield, throw across his body with precision accuracy is arguably one of the most fun things to watch when you’re seeing Justin Fields operate on the move. Fields’ accuracy was never in question during the pre-draft process, as he was the most accurate quarterback in all of college football, but seeing that translate with ease to the NFL is a sight for sore eyes of many Bears fans who’ve seen putrid play at the quarterback position over the years.

Without question, the best play of the day by Justin Fields was the bootleg touchdown he threw to Jesse James, who could have crawled into the endzone because there wasn’t a Dolphins defender within 20 yards of him.

Justin Fields was not perfect. He got off to a rocky start and built off that as the game went on. He played relatively well against backups and players who will be looking for new employment outside the NFL in mere weeks, but it’s the progress that counts. Justin Fields has real talent, and that’s more promise Bears fans have had at the position in maybe their entire lives, so we’re going to let them have this one.

Enjoy the show, it’s just beginning.