Bears QB Justin Fields sits with illness, is expected to face Eagles

Jalen Hurts likes to watch Justin Fields play. He’ll get his chance Sunday — probably.

SHARE Bears QB Justin Fields sits with illness, is expected to face Eagles
Bears quarterback Justin Fields throws against the Packers on Dec. 4.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields throws against the Packers on Dec. 4.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Jalen Hurts likes to watch Justin Fields play.

He’ll get his chance Sunday — probably.

The Bears held their quarterback out of Wednesday’s practice because of an illness. Coach Matt Eberflus said that he anticipates Fields will start Sunday against the one-loss Eagles and star quarterback Hurts.

Fields was healthy enough to be allowed inside Halas Hall on Wednesday, where

Eberflus said he worked through the game plan after the team’s bye week. He wasn’t on the field, though — backup Nathan Peterman and third-stringer Tim Boyle took snaps at the Walter Payton Center, where the Bears stayed out of the rain.

Eberflus said Fields was “feeling better” over the last few days.

“He is in the building so he’s engaged and he’s, obviously, working through all of the plays,” Eberflus said. “We’ve got the number of plays we always have — runs and passes that we have on first and second down, all the different things we do. He’s engaged there, learning those as we go. And he’ll be fine.”

Fields missing the game would rob the league of one its most compelling quarterback matchups Sunday at Soldier Field. Hurts is the presumptive MVP favorite in his third season. Fields is far from a finished product, but he has given the Bears ample reason to believe he’s their answer at quarterback.

“I love watching football,” Hurts told Eagles reporters Wednesday. “I love the game. I love seeing the way different players handle different situations. Talking about Justin Fields, he’s always been a player that I’ve had a lot of respect for — at Georgia, at Ohio State, coming into the Bears and doing what he’s been able to do in a short time.”

Both quarterbacks are dynamic. Hurts leads all quarterbacks with 10 touchdown runs; Fields is second with eight. Hurts has run for 59 first downs this season, second-most among all ball-carriers and tops among quarterbacks. Fields is right behind him with 57.

Fields has run for 905 yards this season, the most among quarterbacks; Hurts is third with 686. Fields and Hurts rank second and third, respectively, among quarterbacks in rushes of more than 20 yards.

“This guy’s electric,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon told reporters about Fields this week.

The Eagles are coming off a stout performance against another running quarterback. They sacked the Giants’ Daniel Jones four times and held him to four carries for 26 yards in Sunday’s 48-22 win. He was averaging 43.5 rushing yards per game before they met.

“We’re going to have some tools that we use, and we’re going to have to do basically the same thing [against Fields],” Gannon said. “The way they move the ball down the field is all through the quarterback.

“Justin’s a very unique player and got drafted where he got drafted for a reason. You’re not the No. 1 recruit in the country for not having a very unique and special skill set. We got a big-time challenge ahead of us.”

Hurts has already accomplished what Bears coaches foresee as the next step for Fields: he’s an efficient, dangerous passer. Hurts leads the NFL with a 108.4 passer rating and ranks seventh with 22 touchdown throws.

Eberflus described him as a confident, decisive thrower.

“He’s a very accurate passer,” Eberflus said. “Throws a good deep ball. I think he’s really running that offense at a high rate.”

Fields played against the Packers on Dec. 4 after returning from a separated left shoulder, completing 20 of 25 passes for 254 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He ran six times for 71 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown.

“[Fields] just continues to climb,” Hurts said. “He’s a definite threat over there.”

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