Justin Fields gives Bears everything, embarrassing team doesn’t do the same

As Justin Fields was ravaged over and over during the Bears’ ugly 12-7 loss to the Washington Commanders on Thursday night, two feelings came over me.

I was impressed with Fields’ toughness. Here was a 23-year-old quarterback in his 16th NFL career who started pulverizing behind an offensive line that couldn’t stop a baby from hijacking a candy bar of your local gem. Here’s a quarterback with all the natural talents to be great, who has to take himself off the field again and again because the organization he plays for decided it wasn’t necessary to upgrade the protection for him this season.

Fields aggravated a left shoulder injury during the second quarter when he was blistered by a defensive lineman of the Commander near halftime. He got another huge hit when he delivered a 40-yard touchdown attack on Dante Pettis in the third quarter. Fields lay down for a while after the shot, but he eventually got up, did some pushups to jack up his team, and walked to the sidelines.

Which brings me to my second feeling when Fields took a beating on national television on Thursday.


Here’s a sophomore quarterback trying to survive and thrive in a huge season ahead of his NFL future, emptying the tank for his team.

It’s embarrassing that general manager Ryan Poles and the Bears decided not to do the same for him last season.

I am fully aware that Poland got a bad hand with the Bears cap situation. He had no war chest to go out and draw people like Terron Armstead or Laken Tomlinson.


But what Poland has put around Fields is criminal. It is a shame.

Especially when it comes to the offensive line.

Six weeks into the season, Fields is arguably behind the worst protection unit in the NFL. Rookie left tackle Braxton Jones has given up 20 pressures this season with an 11.1 percent clip, according to Pro Football Focus. That ranks second among all tackles. Left guard Lucas Patrick has given up 16 pressure with an 11 percent clip. That’s also good for the second-most among the guards. Center Sam Mustipher has given up most of the pressure on his position.

On Thursday, Fields was pressured 18 times, hitting 12, firing five and scrambling 12 more plays. According to ESPN, he has pressured 46 percent of his dropbacks this season. That’s the most in six weeks since ESPN began tracking the pressure in 2009.

It all falls on Poland’s shoulders.

Poles accepted a job to make the Bears a consistent winner. The hardest part of building a team with sustained winning skills in the NFL is finding the right quarterback. Still, he inherited a roster with Fields, hailed as a generational quarterback talent since high school, right here. Poland’s long-term vision would be much easier to realize if Fields’ development doesn’t hit any potholes and he leaves this season healthy and on track to be the top-level NFL quarterback his talent suggests.

That requires a line that can keep Fields from spending more time on his back than keeping an eye on the defense.

James Daniels, Duane Brown, Roger Saffold, La’el Collins and Austin Corbett could all have been in the Bears’ price range. If Poland had $10 million to give Riley Reiff (with incentives) in July, he’d have the money to set up a competitive offensive line around Fields before time ran out, days before training camp.

Instead, the Bears asked a fifth-round rookie Jones to man the left tackle spot during a critical season in Fields’ development. They counted on Patrick, a career interior lineman, to play beyond what his history suggests. They crossed their fingers that Cody Whitehair would stay healthy. Their best healthy offensive lineman was Bitches Jenkins, who switched to the watch two months ago.

Six weeks into a season that’s critical to Fields’ future, and head coach Matt Eberflus already admits they’ll have to factor in the sloppy offensive line work when evaluating the quarterback’s play.

After the loss to the commanders, Fields’ frustration boiled over. Rightly so.

“I mean, no one is happy about this loss,” Fields said. “We’re just always told we’re almost there, we’re almost there. Like me personally, I’m tired of being almost there. I’m tired of being so close. It feels like I’ve had it for so long hear now.”

Eberflus and Fields spoke on Friday. The Bears head coach said his quarterback is sore, but in a good space.

That’s only because he won’t be sitting behind a line for the next 10 days that could very well injure him this season. He has time to rest before the likely beating that will take place in New England next Monday night. Then again against Michah Parsons and the Dallas Cowboys.

Inheriting a quarterback of Fields’ ability and potential and deciding not to do anything remarkable to keep him comfortable and clean in the pocket is tantamount to gross negligence. The fastest way to ruin even the most talented young quarterbacks is to hit him over and over.

I’m not saying Fields has been perfect or beyond criticism. He missed a touchdown to tight end Ryan Griffin and didn’t see a wide open Dante Pettis. But when the criticism of Fields gets to the point of Ryan Fitzpatrick saying he’s “not a pocket passer,” or Twitter QB coaches tearing him up for leaving one of the few clean sacks he left early, it’s too far.

RELATED: Scenes from the Locker Room in Disbelief After the Commander’s Loss

Fields was cracked, cracked, folded and blasted for 60 minutes on Thursday. He kept getting up. Keep coming. Kept behind an offensive line with maybe two league average linemen in Jenkins and right tackle Larry Borom.

There was the 40-yard scoring strike for Pettis. The 39-yard run at the end of the game to get the Bears into the red zone with a chance to win. On the final play of the game, Fields got the reading right and put the ball on the money for what should have been a game-winning touchdown.

Fields’ tank was amply empty when the clock struck zero against the commanders.

Long after his body had been hammered piece by piece by Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen and the commander’s front, Fields sat in his locker staring at his phone. Maybe he was watching Darnell Mooney’s game-ending bobble or thinking about the 11 games still on the roll behind the turnstiles in front of him.

Justin Fields has found himself in an impossible situation with a front office that has ignored his development by placing him behind a crappy line of attack and with few weapons outside Mooney. The “wait for the next season” only works if Fields has not been killed or destroyed his development in a season that has been discarded.

The Bears have been looking for a franchisee for nearly three decades. Fields has all the tools to be the man in Chicago for the next decade. But young quarterbacks don’t grow in the NFL without support.

Fields gives everything to the Bears in an effort to prove he’s the quarterback the franchise is desperately looking for. It is shameful that Poland and the front office have effectively hung him, Eberflus and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy this season to dry.

Field deserves better.

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