It should not be possible for a quarterback to run toward the line of scrimmage, leave his feet for a pump fake, come back to the ground, and then outrace the defense for a 61-yard touchdown.
But that’s what Justin Fields did on Sunday and such plays are becoming a weekly occurrence.
What makes Fields special isn’t just what he’s doing, it’s that so often the defense appears to be in position to make a play and they don’t because he is too good. Perhaps most telling are the comments from opponents.
Melvin Ingram has been around the block, he said Fields is special five times. Jaelan Phillips called him a monster, Mike McDaniel said Fields is “as dynamic with the ball in his hands as any player in the league really.”
Luke Getsy deserves credit for checking his ego and installing an offense that works for his quarterback. It’s fair to question why it took so long to do that, but that’s old history. The true challenge for Getsy will be coming up with a counter when opponents are able to adjust.
That said, the Bears offense is taking off because of the quarterback.
Did Poles Mess Up?
Imagine if this offense was paired with a top fifteen defense? It isn’t that crazy because that’s exactly what the Bears had prior to the trades of Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith.
When the Bears entered the season, the common thought was that the defense would be good, and the offense would be only as good as Justin Fields. That proved true through the first seven weeks as the team struggled to score points. The defense was still pretty good.
Now they have an offense that looks like an absolute machine, but they’re still not likely to win many more games simply because their defense cannot get a stop.
It isn’t unfair to suggest that Poles’ decision to tear the defense down could cost the team a playoff appearance in 2022. It’s likely that with just one more stop the Bears would’ve defeated Miami last week and with two games against Detroit, another against Atlanta and home games against Green Bay and Minnesota (in a Week 17 game that isn’t likely to mean anything), it wouldn’t have been surprising if the Bears won nine games and snuck into the playoffs.
One can’t blame Poles for sticking true to his long-term vision, but for Bears fans who were around in the 1990s, it’s hard to punt on what could’ve been a playoff season.
Rebuilding the Defense
The good news for Poles is that with Matt Eberflus leading the charge, this defense shouldn’t be difficult to build up for the 2023 season.
- The Bears probably need three new starters on the defensive line.
- They likely could get away with Trevis Gipson and Dom Robinson competing at one defensive end spot.
- There are some really interesting free agents and the Bears have enough money to come away with a pairing of Yannick Ngakoue and Da’Ron Payne.
- The draft is also reportedly loaded along the defensive line, so the Bears will probably get a look at players like Jalen Carter, Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy or Nolan Smith.
- There are some interesting linebackers too, including Bobby Okreke, who played for Eberflus with the Colts or T.J. Edwards, who plays for Jonathan Gannon, Eberflus’ former DBs coach.
While Poles certainly punted on 2022, there’s no reason he can’t get the Bears back in contention in 2023.
Always Lying About the Lions
The first of two meetings with Detroit – always a good time to remember the annual offseason talking point in which national writers predict the Detroit Lions will be a dark horse, sleeper, frisky, sneaky or whatever else they like to say only to be proven wrong.
But this version of the Lions team is odd.
They have a good offense, though not as good as it once looked. The team got off to a historic start in its first four games before being blanked by New England. Their defense is last in yards and points allowed and 19th in takeaways, but they held Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay to just nine points.
I guess, if we can take anything away from the 2022 Lions it’s that they can beat you, they just probably won’t. Though one could say the same about the Bears.
This game should be a shootout and a good chance for Fields to show he can win a high-scoring game.