Short Column: Progress Must Continue Thursday Night Against Washington

| October 10th, 2022

Justin Fields wasn’t brilliant on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.  But, for the first time this season, Fields looked like a fully capable professional quarterback, pitching to a rating of 118.8, and displaying discernible signs of progress at the position. That progress must continue Thursday night at Soldier Field, when a bad Washington Commanders team comes to town.

The leap Fields took from weeks one through four to week five was somewhat seismic. He was calm and confident in the pocket. He felt pressure. He surveyed the entirety of the field and consistently took the underneath options, completing more than 70% of his passes. When the play wasn’t there to be made with his arm, he used his legs to extend drives.

Was his running game there for support? No. Was his pass protection good? No. Did his receivers play well? Outside of one remarkable Darnell Mooney catch, no. But that makes the performance from Fields even more promising. Fans on social media never blame Fields for anything. If it’s not the receivers, it’s the blockers. If it’s not the blockers, it’s the play calls. Fields was indisputable awful over the first month of this season. But the young QB showed in week five what many of us have been preaching: progress is possible despite the lack of talent in his supporting cast. Fields’ teammates delivered their worst performance of the year. Fields delivered his best.

Now he needs to back it up. There is no talent gap between the Bears and Commanders; these are both bad football teams. Regression cannot happen. Bad habits can’t resurface. The Bears are not going to win many games this season, but this campaign will be a winning one should Fields build upon his performance in Minneapolis and establish real hope at the position.

The concrete was poured Sunday. The building begins Thursday night.

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