Justin Fields should look to Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s run-pass balance for inspiration

While no one will mistake the quarterbacks for each other — Fields has about 1,800 fewer passing yards than Allen this season — Allen’s run-pass balance is a good template for the Bears in 2023 and beyond.

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Justin Fields warms up prior to Sunday’s game.

Justin Fields warms up prior to Sunday’s game.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Bears coach Matt Eberflus liked hearing quarterback Justin Fields say he didn’t want to run for 1,000 yards every year.

‘‘That’s great,’’ Eberflus said Tuesday. ‘‘That means he’s excited about passing the ball and staying in the pocket, which makes him even more dangerous when he does run.

‘‘So I think we pick and choose our moments when we have to do that — in critical moments, third down, red zone, two-minute [drills], when you’ve got to create something.’’

That’s precisely what Bills quarterback Josh Allen did Saturday against the Dolphins.

While no one will mistake the quarterbacks for each other — Fields has about 1,800 fewer passing yards than Allen this season — Allen’s run-pass balance is a good template for the Bears in 2023 and beyond. Allen has run 109 times, 34 times fewer than Fields. His 705 rushing yards are fourth in the league among quarterbacks.

When the Bills fell behind by eight points with about 12 minutes left Saturday, Allen went to work. Four of his 10 runs and 50 of his 77 rushing yards in the game came on the ensuing drive.

Allen ran for two yards on first down. Two plays later, from the Bills’ 43, he took a shotgun snap, planted his right foot and ran over right guard. Allen bent his run from the right hash mark to the left at midfield. At the Dolphins’ 40, he was already outside the numbers. He stumbled at the 23 and was pushed out of bounds at the 13 for a 44-yard gain.

Allen ran for five yards on the next play, when the Dolphins were flagged for hitting him late. He then threw incomplete and ran over left tackle for a loss of one before throwing a five-yard touchdown pass. On the two-point conversion, the Bills called another designed quarterback run. Allen barely stretched the ball across the line to tie the score.

‘‘What a dynamic player,’’ Eberflus said. ‘‘He’s just massive in his size and is so strong and very hard to bring down. . . . They do designed runs with him a lot. The quarterback draws, the quarterback sweeps, they do all those things with him, as well, and he’ll take it and run.

‘‘But he’s a guy that’s pretty good at keeping his eyes downfield. And that’s where you get the most damage, and I think he’s done a nice job with that.’’

The Bears calling quarterback runs more selectively will help to keep Fields safer. On Tuesday, Fields reiterated his complaint that Eagles defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh hit him in the head when he slid at the end of a four-yard scramble in the first quarter Sunday. The official, he said, told him it wasn’t a foul.

‘‘It’s been, like, too many times this year where I felt like I’ve gotten hit late or something like that and there’s been no flag,’’ he said. ‘‘So, I mean, I’m going to be on the refs looking for a call. . . . I’m going to be begging for those calls and just hope I get one in the near future.’’

When the Bears talk about Fields growing, they point to him being able to balance his otherworldly running ability with a dangerous passing attack. The former is obvious: He’s the third quarterback in NFL history to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a season. But for the Bears’ offense to be well-rounded, Fields needs to attack downfield. That’s what happened when he found receiver Byron Pringle wide-open for a 35-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

‘‘It’s just adaptation,’’ Fields said. ‘‘Of course, I’ve had to run a little bit more this year, so I think my body has adapted to that. And, of course, as I’ve gotten better at running, I’m just trying to adapt to the game and adapt to what I need to do to help my team win.’’

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