Justin Fields

Here's how Dan Campbell reacts to Justin Fields being out of the NFC North

The Lions head coach is glad he doesn't have to deal with Fields anymore

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Over the past three seasons, Dan Campbell and the Lions had to face Justin Fields twice per season.

From those six games, the Bears and Lions each share three wins.

But now, with the Bears having traded Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this offseason, Campbell is relieved he no longer has to prepare to face the dual-threat signal caller.

"I'm not gonna lie, it's nice to have [Justin] Fields outta that division," Campbell said at the owner's meetings in Orlando.

Fields has played against the Lions in every game over the last three seasons except for one. On Thanksgiving in 2021, he was inactive. Andy Dalton led the Bears to a 16-14 victory by posting 317 yards and one touchdown. But since then, Fields has played every game.

This past season, the Bears nearly stole both games against the Lions. They blew a huge, 16-point lead in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter. Fields threw for 169 yards and one touchdown while rushing for an additional 104 yards.

In their most recent matchup, the Bears bested the Lions at Soldier Field, 28-13. Fields, then, threw for 233 yards and one touchdown; he also posted 58 yards on the ground and an additional rushing touchdown. That helped the Bears notch a five-game home winning streak to end the season and even their season series with the Lions.

Before that game, Campbell explained just what makes Fields so difficult to defend.

"Listen, he's dangerous," Campbell said of Fields in December 2023. "He's one of these rare, dangerous players and I'll tell you what he's done a really good job of — from last year to this year — is if it's a pass and he starts to move, he's still moving with eyes down the field much more than I felt like he had previously and that's extremely dangerous because even in Minnesota, he had two or three receivers wide open after he had kind of run, found a way through, broke contain and all of a sudden he gets an explosive pass off of it.

"But he is dangerous, and everything starts with him, for us defensively, and containing these guys."

All in all, in five total games against the Lions, Fields threw for 843 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. On the ground, he did arguably even more damage. He rushed for 450 yards and three more touchdowns.

Over three straight contests against the Lions between the 2022 and 2023 seasons, Fields rushed for over 100 yards in each of them. Most notably, in November 2022, Fields rushed for 147 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for a 60+ yard touchdown in that game, too.

Unfortunately, Fields' era in Chicago came to an end. The Bears traded him to the Steelers for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2025 NFL draft. Fields was a fan-favorite in Chicago for his tireless work ethic, strong leadership and exemplary character.

But he didn't align with Poles' vision for the team, forcing the Bears general manager to trade him and pave the way for a new quarterback in Chicago.

MORE: Ryan Poles offers insight into Justin Fields trade, Caleb Williams lessons

“I think the efficiency in the pass game," Poles said. "Again, I’m well aware, you know, before I got here and our first year, it was really challenging, right? Like there just wasn’t a ton around him, which is difficult and really unfortunate, too. But also, just like, when you look at a guy who is so explosive as a runner, you also have to ask yourself, like, longevity-wise, being able to hold up. You needed – just like that timeline. Everyone has got a timeline to become more efficient as a passer, and that kind of comes into play.

"There was progress, but then when you kind of pair up before you have to get to a contract conversation, it becomes really, really difficult. I think in the right situation, he can continue to grow and find that extra timeline in whatever way and with whatever team. But I do believe there is a higher ceiling that he can reach. It’s just when you’re trying to build this thing up and create that structure, it gets really, really difficult when that salary goes way, way up."

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