What do you call another Bears loss and another good performance by Justin Fields? A win-win.

The future is built on a (running?) quarterback and the ability to draft high.

SHARE What do you call another Bears loss and another good performance by Justin Fields? A win-win.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields runs the ball during the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields runs the ball during the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

I’d like to nominate Bears general manager Ryan Poles for NFL Executive of the Year. If he had built a decent pass-blocking offensive line, we might never have found out how good a runner Justin Fields is.

The Bears quarterback continued his string of tearing up opposing defenses, rushing for 147 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-30 loss to the Lions on Sunday. Fans will get caught up in the “loss’’ part of the story. They shouldn’t. What happened at Soldier Field was a win-win. Win No. 1: We were reminded, again, just how good Fields is at making angry defenders look like remedial tacklers. Win No. 2: The Bears made progress on improving their draft position for next season, which is sort of the whole idea of a rebuild.

I don’t think Poles’ failure to find pass blockers was on purpose, but, either way, good job! When coach Matt Eberflus and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy realized five weeks ago that Fields’ ability to run was his best asset and that the kid’s life was in danger because of weak blocking, it changed everything. Getsy began designing run plays for him. The result was on display again Sunday: Fields starting the game with a 28-yard rush out of the shotgun. And Fields, after throwing a pick-six in the fourth quarter, responding on the next drive with a 67-yard touchdown run.

After rushing for 178 yards last week, the most by an NFL quarterback in a regular-season game, he averaged 11.3 yards a carry against the Lions. Oh, yeah, he also threw two touchdown passes to tight end Cole Kmet.

Chicago hasn’t seen anything like this, and many of us are still trying to make sense of it. The long-term questions are whether this kind of offense can last in the NFL and whether Fields can survive the punishment. He took several big hits Sunday, including at the goal line after a brilliant scramble in the second quarter.

The short-term question is, “Isn’t this fun?’’

Poles and the rest of the Bears’ brass will have to decide if this is sustainable. It goes against the football knowledge many of us have built up. If Poles ever does find pass blockers, how much will the Bears cut down on Fields’ running? What if he’s a much better runner than passer? Can he survive? I’m enjoying the heck out of this, but is it a plan?

The good news is that Fields is 6-3, 228 pounds, big for a quarterback. The bad news is that the people chasing him often are much bigger. He’s one 320-pound blob away from catastrophe.

As it stands now, the Bears’ entire offense is predicated on the idea that Fields might run, whether that’s a scramble when the blocking breaks down on a pass play or whether that’s a designed run. It’s not a dilemma for the Bears, who just want to score points. The only way to do that is with Fields either running or threatening to run.

He looked like a completely different quarterback the first five games of the season. He lacked confidence and accuracy, throwing for three touchdowns and four interceptions. He has been a much better passer since the Bears started emphasizing his running, throwing for nine touchdowns and three interceptions the last five games. That’s not a coincidence. When opponents are worried about his running, receivers find themselves with more room. On Fields’ 50-yard touchdown pass to Kmet on Sunday, it looked like Lions safety Kerby Joseph forgot to pick up the tight end because he was worried the quarterback would run.

If running remains Fields’ biggest strength, does he risk becoming, gulp, Derrick Rose? Rose won an NBA MVP award because of his ability to drive to the basket and his fearlessness in doing it. But it felt like a matter of time before he’d get hurt. And he did, with knee injuries adversely affecting his career.

“You’ve got to be smart,’’ Eberflus said of Fields’ decision to lower his shoulder on some runs. “I’ve used the terms wisdom and discernment as he goes through there. There were a couple times where he took a couple shots today. But he also slid and got himself out of bounds a couple times. Again, when you’re an athlete like that, he’s got to use that wisdom when he’s in that part of the field to make sure he gets down or gets out of harm’s way.’’

Eberflus was especially impressed with Fields’ long touchdown run after the pick-six.

“What you understand about that young man is that, man, he’s a fighter, right?’’ he said. “So he has the ability — and you’ve seen it during the course of this year — to reset. We talked about it on the sideline. He said, ‘Man, reset.’ And then sure enough [third-and-two], boom, there he goes. That’s just him. He’s a fighter through and through.’’

“Can’t do anything about the past,’’ Fields said. “That’s kind of been my mindset.’’

The past? Everything’s about the future.

If I’m giving Poles a major award, I should give one to kicker Cairo Santos, whose missed extra point in the fourth quarter might have cost the Bears the game. Remember: Losses are good for a team trying to build, in part, through the draft.

The Bears fell to 3-7. And Fields looked very good again.

Win and win.

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