Justin Fields

Justin Fields gives Bears reason to believe he's their future on day No. 1 pick is secured

On a day that ended with the Bears securing the No. 1 pick, Justin Fields gave the Bears reason to believe in what he'll become

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DJ Moore, Khalil Herbert and Eddie Jackson talk about Bears fans showing support for Justin Fields with a chant during the Falcons game

CHICAGO -- Hours before the Carolina Panthers officially handed the Bears the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, quarterback Justin Fields dropped back to pass during the second quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field and made everyone hold their breath.

Falcons linebacker Bud Dupree came unblocked off the right and had Fields dead to rights for what would have been a drive-ending sack on third-and-8. Fields stepped up and shook off Dupree. As he tried to escape the pocket, defensive tackle David Onyemate grabbed him by the leg. Fields somehow wiggled free and bolted past Calais Campbell to turn a drive killer into a 13-yard gain.

The play brought safeties Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker to their feet as both hyped up Fields as he scampered out of bounds after the gain.

“The magician. You are a magician! Those are my exact words to him," Jackson said after the Bears' resounding 37-17 win at Soldier Field. "Bro, you are a magician. You are a magician, bro. That’s your new name. It’s crazy.”

On a day that finalized the tough offseason decision that awaits Bears general manager Ryan Poles, Fields authored one of his most complete games in a performance that ended with Bears fans chanting "We Want Fields!" as the clock wound down.

“I want Justin. We all want Justin. Let’s go!" Brisker said in the locker room after the win. "That’s our guy. That guy makes plays for sure and he’s a leader. We like a guy like that. He’s giving it all he’s got. He broke five tackles. I don’t even know, man. He’s amazing for sure. You can’t let a guy like that slip.”

Fields opened his day with a 32-yard dot to DJ Moore along the right sideline. He punctuated the Bears' opening drive by throwing a frozen rope to Moore in the back corner of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown.

It was the start of a performance that perfectly encapsulated everything Fields can do when he puts it all together.

Fields' first half Sunday was arguably the second-best half of football he has played in a Bears uniform, trailing only the first half against the Broncos, where he had just one incompletion on a Hail Mary attempt.

Fields finished the game 20-for-32 for 268 yards and one touchdown while adding 45 yards and a score on the ground. It wasn't perfect. There were a couple misses and some late trigger pulls. That's going to happen.

But all in all, Fields was at his best on a day in which the Bears secured the rights to draft his replacement -- should they deem it necessary.

"You got to appreciate him, man," Jackson said of Fields. "All the stuff he’s doing, he’s been going through, all the talk about him. He’s been blocking it out and going out here balling and leading this team. You got to tip your hat to a guy like that. He’s shown true resilience. He’s a true leader. He just keeps coming out here every week, denying what everyone says and just proving them wrong.”

After the win, teammates waded through a locker room with celebratory cigar smoke still hanging in the air to give Fields his props.

"Houdini!" Kyler Gordon yelled while hugging the quarterback at his locker.

"The Magician. That s--t was crazy, bro." DeMarcus Walker said with a big smile as he walked past Fields to the locker.

Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy walked over, congratulated Fields, and shook his head at the feat.

That third-and-8 escape, a play that amounted to nothing in the grand scheme of things, might come to define the monumental decision ahead of Poles and the Bears.

"I’ve said it before, I’m going to keep saying it -- what makes him not the quarterback?" DJ Moore said after the win. "I mean today, the Houdini act should have put the nail in the [coffin] ... he’s ‘Him’. He’s going to be the quarterback. I want him to be the quarterback. I said what I said, now it’s on the higher ups. It’s up to them."

Fields has always had the flashes. The consistency as a passer has come over the past month, while the incredible playmaking flashes have remained.

With Moore, a healthy Cole Kmet, and another good wide receiver, the Fields that played Sunday against the Falcons is a quarterback that's hard to gameplan for and even harder to stop when things are going right.

Fields has been constantly improving. It hasn't been linear. Progress never is. But it is special when Fields puts all the pieces together as he did Sunday in a statement performance highlighted by a play only a few -- maybe only one -- can make.

“He’s dynamic. Very dynamic," Montez Sweat said. "He makes plays like Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes but guys don’t really hype it up like they would other quarterbacks bro. But he’s one of none. I’m happy he’s on my side.”

Fields has been "living in the present," not focusing on the uncertain future that awaits him. He isn't one to make a case for why he should be the Bears' franchise quarterback going forward.

Last week, Fields was asked what he has shown the Bears this season. He declined to partake in the exercise.

"Improvement," Fields said. "They know. They know. Everybody knows who I am in the building. Like I said, I can control what I can control and that’s it.”

But while he has spent all season living in the present and not concerning himself with tomorrow, Fields took a moment Sunday to soak in what could be his final start at Soldier Field as the Bears' starting quarterback. He'll remember the snow. He'll remember facing the team he grew up cheering for in Georgia. He'll remember the fans chanting for him as the clock wound down.

"I'll definitely remember this game for the rest of my life," Fields said after the win.

While his future is uncertain, there's hope inside the Bears' locker room that Sunday's win was the start of something and not the final chapter.

"I did hear those chants," Moore said after the win. "I know their boxes [front office, ownership] are right there so I know they heard that stuff, too."

The Bears are building something. A season that started at 0-4 and belonged in a dumpster in the Earth's inner core is now a positive step forward for a team whose arrow is trending straight up.

Fields, his growth, potential, and dynamic ability are viewed as vital ingredients to the momentum the Bears have created continuing in 2024.

"I really believe he’s the only guy who can do that in this league," tight end Cole Kmet said of Fields' magical escape. "I think that’s what’s so captivating about him. Pretty special to watch."

“He makes crazy plays," Brisker said. "I told him that’s Houdini. He a dog. He a dog. He's different. You ain’t never going to see nobody make plays like that.

"He's a dog. Quit playing with him, for real."

On a day that was all about how bright the future is in Chicago, the one piece that might not be part of it authored a statement performance and caused the lakefront to echo with chants that perfectly sum up the feelings inside a locker room he leads.

For at least one more game.

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