Bears QB Justin Fields ‘perfectly fine’ after illness as he prepares to face Eagles

Fields said he felt no lingering effects Thursday and was eager for the challenge of facing the NFL’s top team.

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A photo of Bears quarterback Justin Fields during a game.

Justin Fields’ 85.4 passer rating is up 12.2 points from his rookie season.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Never fear, Justin Fields is back. And that makes the game against the Eagles worth watching.

The Bears got a brief, bitter taste of life without Fields last month when he missed a game because of a separated shoulder. Trevor Siemian sputtered through a forgettable loss to the Jets in which nothing was accomplished.

The games themselves don’t mean anything in the standings for the 3-10 Bears, but every snap Fields takes is an exhilarating peek into their future. He missed practice Wednesday with an unspecified illness, leaving Nathan Peterman to run the offense, but returned Thursday and said he felt “perfectly fine” with no lingering effects from fighting what he described as coldlike symptoms for a couple of days.

Fields makes everything more intriguing, and now the familiar stage is set for the Bears on Sunday: Their opponent will roll up 30-40 points, and everyone will watch to see if Fields can keep up.

It’s a terrible predicament for Fields and the team — a perfect recipe for finishing in last place — but it’s undeniably entertaining.

He’s almost certain to be in that bind this week against the Eagles, who lead the NFL in scoring at 29.7 points per game and have piled up 123 points over their last three.

“We have a challenge every week with offenses, but this week, yeah, both hands are full,” Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams said. “I’m not quite sure that they have any weaknesses.”

The Eagles also have an elite defense, by the way, and that’s what makes this interesting for Fields.

“Any chance you get to go up against a team like this, it’s awesome just to see what we can do now,” Fields said. “We’re going to go in there swinging, so they know that. They know that we’re not just going to lay down.

“I’m excited to see what I can do.”

Fields turned a corner after a dismal first four games and has played promisingly over his last eight: 66% completion rate, 178.1 yards per game, 11 touchdown passes, six interceptions and a 94.9 passer rating, plus 94.8 rushing yards per game and seven touchdown runs.

But the disclaimer is that he hasn’t faced any defense even close to the Eagles’ level. There were three opponents in the top 10 in fewest points allowed, but everyone else was in the bottom third of the NFL. Of Fields’ top four passer ratings this season, only one came against a defense ranked higher than 25th in that category.

The Eagles are No. 1 in that department, allowing a 76.3 rating with no one reaching triple figures. No quarterback has thrown for more than 250 yards against them.

That’s what makes this game relevant regardless of the Bears’ record and the obvious mismatch. It’s another test for Fields, and it’ll show whether he has come as far as it seems.

“Every opportunity he’s gotten to get on the field and play, we feel like the entire offense [has played] a little bit better together,” offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said. “When you have the quarterback growing, that’s going to help the rest of the unit grow. He’s continued to do that, and we have to make sure he stays on that path.”

The path of any season inevitably winds through rough terrain like this. The Eagles are a formidable adversary, but they’re far from a once-in-a-lifetime opponent. There will be others, and Fields must prove he can rise to that level.

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