Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields seemed to blame his defense for letting the Detroit Lions squeak by with the win, but he’s not wrong.
The 31-30 loss to the Detroit Lions was a tough one for Chicago to bear for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which was that quarterback Justin Fields fought valiantly for a win. As Brett Kollman put it, the last sack on Fields was “the perfect distillation of the entire Bears season: one guy standing in a field fighting off a pack of lions (literally) all by himself.”
Bears Twitter endorses this sentiment, and there are many memes illustrating how Fields single-handedly put the Bears in position to win time and time again. It’s a frustrating pattern, especially since Fields has had three straight ground-breaking performances, only to lose all three games.
It seems that Chicago fans aren’t the only ones annoyed by this obvious trend. In the post-game press conference, Fields was asked the following by a reporter:
“How can you reconcile right now the production you’re having in yards and points and not being able to get those drives late in the game when the game is there to be won? How do you match those two things up?”
The clear implication here is that the defense is falling through at the end of games, letting wins easily within reach slip through Chicago’s fingers. Fields replied with the following:
“You said how can I reconcile? Just finish. We’re putting up, what, 30 points a game. So just finish when we get those late-game drives.”
Justin Fields implies Bears defense could do much better on late-game drives
There’s a spectrum of what and how much a quarterback should publicly say about the performance of his teammates, and it’s difficult to argue that Fields’ comments are unwarranted. The Bears offense, namely Fields, is doing everything within its power to finish the game, but if the defense continues to allow points, they’re not holding up their end of the field. It means the Bears can’t finish winnable games with a win, and if the team had won the last three — in which Fields put up at least 29 points — their record would be 6-4 instead of 3-7. And if the Bears were 6-4 instead of 3-7, they would be second in the NFC North instead of fourth. They would also be in the running for a Wild Card spot.
The Bears have long been criticized for lacking quarterback play, but Justin Fields has done anything and everything to put the Bears in position to win. Asking the team to “just finish” in late-game drives is honest, and it’s accurate. The question really is how it goes over in the locker room.
Aaron Rodgers technically hasn’t been wrong when he’s called out teammates for making mistakes, but the way in which he’s criticized them has reportedly left some Packers players uncomfortable with being his “scapegoats.” Fields isn’t wrong either, but quarterbacks are always in a uniquely difficult position with being pressured to restrain commentary about their teammates. It’s true that Justin Fields isn’t the problem, but hearing him say that the offense is doing their job and the defense needs to finish the job could frustrate defensive teammates.
The Bears and Justin Fields are having a heartbreaking year, and it’s infuriating for everyone who’s been waiting for a quarterback like Fields to finally come to Chicago. It’s reached the point where something must be said — and while Twitter has been busy saying it, now Fields has too. Whether or not Fields needed to say it to reporters is another story.