Justin Fields

What we learned about Justin Fields, Bears as QB plays hero in win vs. Vikings

Justin Fields delivered when the Bears needed him most in Minnesota, delivering a signature moment and a much-needed win for the Bears

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Two days after the Big Ten bid adieu to its offensively-challenged West Division, a vintage game that would make the artist formerly known as the Legends Division proud broke out at U.S. Bank Stadium between the Bears and Minnesota Vikings.

The Bears' defense dominated Joshua Dobbs and the Vikings' offense, notching four interceptions and two sacks.

But Justin Fields and the Bears' offense turned those four interceptions into just three points and clung to a slim 9-3 lead in the fourth quarter.

A frantic fourth quarter saw the Vikings take a 10-9 lead, giving Fields two opportunities to play hero.

Fields fumbled on the first game-winning drive attempt, but the defense forced a quick three-and-out to give him one more chance.

Fields started the drive 1-for-17 on game-winning drives since the start of 2022. But he delivered in the Twin Cities, marching the Bears on a 10-play, 66-yard drive to set up Cairo Santos' game-winning field goal.

That drive came complete with a 36-yard dot to DJ Moore on third-and-10 that serves as Fields' first signature game-winning moment.

Here's what we learned in the Bears' 12-10 win over the Vikings.

What they want to see

Fields owned the first quarter in Minnesota. The third-year quarterback made a handful of plays that should show the Bears the type of progress as a passer they want to see over these final six games.

On the Bears' opening drive, Fields was pressured on third-and-2 but somehow wiggled away from Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter. Fields rolled out of the pocket but kept his eyes downfield and hit running back Roschon Johnson for 6. On the next play. The Vikings once again pressured Fields, but the quarterback escaped to the right and found Khalil Herbert for a gain of 13.

The Bears have been wanting to see Fields keep a passer's mentality when he escapes instead of just tucking and running. He did that early in Minnesota. However, as good as he was in this area, he wasn't perfect. On a third-and-14 in the second quarter, Fields escaped to the left and had Darnell Mooney open down the field. But Fields' pulled the trigger late, and Mooney was unable to haul it in.

Fields also showed impressive pocket patience on a key fourth down in the first quarter. Facing a fourth-and-10, Fields hung in the pocket against heavy pressure from Minnesota. Instead of looking to escape, Fields hung in just long enough to have tight end Cole Kmet come open over the middle. Fields delivered a strike with the pressure bearing down, and Kmet raced for 24 yards for a first down.

These are the plays the Bears want to see Fields consistently make to show them he's making the necessary strides as a passer.

Missed opportunities

The Bears dominated the first half in Minnesota but were unable to get out of their own.

After taking a 3-0 lead, cornerback Jaylon Johnson picked off Joshua Dobbs and returned it to the Minnesota 37-yard line. However, Kyler Gordon's helmet broke during the play and the refs elected to penalize him for "taunting" while celebrating the interception.

That moved the ball back to the Chicago 48-yard line. The Bears promptly went three-and-out on a drive that included two penalties,

The Bears' defense responded by getting the ball back, courtesy of a Jaquan Brisker interception at the Chicago 36. But after an 11-yard completion to DJ Moore on first down, the Bears went three-and-out on the next set of downs and punted again.

Following their two first-half interceptions, the Bears notched just one first down and punted twice.

With two minutes left in the half, the Bears had outgained the Vikings 158-24 but only led 3-0.

The Vikings closed the first half with a seven-play, 64-yard drive that resulted in a field goal to tie the game at three at halftime.

Screen happy

The Bears struggled with the Vikings' pressure the first time the two teams met in Week 6. In an effort to combat Minnesota's constant pressure, Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy turned to the screen game ... over and over and over again.

At halftime, Fields had an average air yards per attempt of just 0.8. In the Bears' first four drives, Fields completed eight passes behind the line of scrimmage.

The Vikings quickly caught on to the Bears' screen-happy attack and snuffed it out in the second and third quarter.

On their first drive of the third quarter, Fields marched the Bears down to the Vikings' 21-yard line. But Getsy dialed up back-to-back screens on second and third down, and the Bears were forced to settle for a field goal to take a 6-3 lead.

Getsy showed little innovation as a play-caller. The Bears threw too many screens and didn't combat the VIkings' pressure with their power run game. It wasn't just that the Bears tried to lean heavily on screens, but there were often no options for Fields to go down the field if the screen wasn't viable. It was a broken game plan that caused the Bears' offense to stall throughout the night.

The Dam Breaks

The Bears played with fire all night by not turning the Vikings' turnovers into points.

Eventually, it burned them.

After Kyler Gordon picked off Dobbs for the Bears' fourth turnover, it looked like Fields and the offense would put an early nail in the Vikings' coffin.

The opposite happened.

On second-and-10 from the Vikings' 22, Hunter sacked Fields and poked the ball loose. Defensive tackle Sheldon Day jumped on the loose ball to give the Vikings life.

The Bears' defense held all night, but it was going to be too much to ask them to pitch a near-perfect game.

Dobbs promptly marched the Vikings on an eight-play, 77-yard drive that he punctuated with a 17-yard touchdown strike to T.J. Hockenson, giving the Vikings a 10-9 lead.

Fields delivers

With the Vikings leading 10-9, Fields took the field with 5:54 left and a chance to engineer a game-winning drive.

As has been the case over the past two seasons, when the Bears' offense had a chance to mount a game-winning drive -- disaster struck.

On third-and-10 from their own 36, Fields scanned the field, but no one was open. The quarterback tried to take off and get the first down himself but was hit by Josh Metellus and coughed the ball up. It was Fields' 35th fumble in 35 games.

But just when it looked like a re-run of past game-winning drive attempts, Fields flipped the script.

After the Bears' defense got him the ball back with 2:29 remaining, Fields delivered in a way he hasn't early in his NFL career.

Fields opened the drive with a 16-yard strike to Moore and then used his legs to get into Vikings territory.

Then, on third-and-10 from the Vikings' 49 with 1:06 remaining, Fields hung in the pocket and threw a 36-yard strike to Moore down to the Vikings' 13-yard line.

That strike set the Bears up for a game-winning 30-yard field goal from Cairo Santos.

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