Velus Jones goes deep, and Justin Fields is ‘glad to finally use his speed’

Bears quarterback Justin Fields’ best pass of Saturday’s 35-13 loss to the Bills landed in the arms of the most unlikely receiver: rookie Velus Jones.

SHARE Velus Jones goes deep, and Justin Fields is ‘glad to finally use his speed’
Bears receiver Velus Jones makes a 44-yard catch Saturday.

Bears receiver Velus Jones makes a 44-yard catch Saturday.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Justin Fields’ best pass of the 35-13 loss to the Bills on Saturday landed in the arms of the most unlikely receiver: rookie Velus Jones.

With 24 seconds left in the third quarter, the Bears recovered a fumble and decided to take a deep shot. Jones lined up split left and ran a deep over route. He sprinted toward Fields’ deep pass and slid after he caught it like a baseball player catching a fly ball. By the time he stood up, he was a foot from the right sideline — and had gained 44 yards.

“It felt good, but overall, it put my team in a good position,” Jones said. “It feels good mentally to get those targets. I’ve been a deep-ball threat in my past, in college, so hopefully we keep that going.”

It hadn’t happened in the pros. Entering the game, Jones had been targeted only six times all season. He had four catches for 27 yards — not nearly enough production for a third-round draft pick.

The Bears had only three plays of 20 yards or more Saturday. The pass to Jones was the longest.

Jones finished with two catches for a team-high 52 yards.

“That’s a training-camp play,” Fields said. “He’s fast. I’m glad to finally use his speed.”

Fifth-coldest

Saturday’s game was the fifth-coldest home game the Bears have played at Soldier Field. The temperature at kickoff was 9 degrees.

The Bears’ coldest home game ever was Dec. 22, 2008 — a game against the rival Packers when the kickoff temperature was 2 degrees and the wind chill was minus-13.

The wind chill was minus-12 at kickoff Saturday, tied for the third-coldest home game in Bears history.

Fields said the Bears were careful to throw deep when they had the wind at their back. The hardest part of playing in the cold was staying “mentally in the game” between plays, safety Jaquan Brisker said.

At least the Bears got to go home. With the Buffalo airport closed, the Bills were forced to spend Saturday night in Chicago. It will be their third night in town — they flew in Thursday to avoid the oncoming storm.

“It’s a little bittersweet,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “But we’ll make the most of it and get back as soon as we can. Someone is looking out for us and trying to keep us safe.”

Race to the bottom

The last two weeks of the season got a little more interesting when the Texans beat the Titans 19-14 to improve to 2-12-1 on the season.

That puts the Bears one good weekend away from the No. 1 pick in the draft. If they lose their final two games, they’ll need the Texans to win one game for the Bears to draft first. The Texans finish against the Jaguars (7-8) and the Colts (4-9-1), while the Bears play the Lions and Vikings.

The Bears haven’t selected a player with the first overall pick since Bob Fenimore in 1947.

Jason Lieser contributed to this story.

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