Lions offer Bears QB Justin Fields perfect opportunity to prove his point

Fields was well into finding a groove the first time he played the Lions and seems even more comfortable now. For months it has seemed like he was on the brink of putting it all together. This is a good chance to do it.

SHARE Lions offer Bears QB Justin Fields perfect opportunity to prove his point
A photo of Bears quarterback Justin Fields celebrating a touchdown run.

Fields was on the cusp of knocking out the Lions before he threw two late interceptions.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Bears quarterback Justin Fields will not be thinking about the No. 1 draft pick when he takes on the Lions on Sunday. While there would be tremendous tangible benefit to the team — and him — in the Bears ending up with that selection, it’s not in his mind.

He’ll be thinking about revenge.

For most of this season, Fields has been the only thing that has given the Bears a chance. The majority of their losses have ended with the depleted defense simply collapsing and letting Fields down at the end.

His defense fell apart against the Lions in a 31-30 loss at Soldier Field last month, too, but Fields was equally responsible for the Bears blowing a 24-10 fourth-quarter lead. He had multiple opportunities to solidify victory, but had two three-and-outs, threw a pick-six and couldn’t get the Bears beyond their own 32-yard line on their final possession.

Faltering at the end tainted what would’ve been one of Fields’ best games. He ran for 147 yards on 13 carries, including a 67-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and completed 12 of 20 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns.

The 314 combined yards was the fourth-highest of his career, and he had a 140.0 passer rating before that brutal pick to Jeff Okudah from his own 17-yard line. Fields called it “just a dumb play” and vowed it would never happen again. Even with the interception, Fields posted a 99.4.

Why mention all of that? Because the Lions couldn’t stop Fields that day and aren’t any better equipped to do so Sunday. Fields was his own worst enemy in the defeat, and if he steers clear of any self-inflicted debacles, there’s every reason to expect a monster game.

The Lions have a shot at sneaking into the playoffs despite giving up an NFL-worst 26.7 points per game. Their defense isn’t good at anything. They’ve allowed a 97.0 passer rating for the season and 5.1 yards per carry — both third-worst.

The Lions are fresh off giving up 37 points in a loss to the lowly Panthers. With their season on the line, they let Sam Darnold put up a 121.4 passer rating and allowed two 125-yard rushers.

The Bears have so few top players left on defense that it’s hard to see them stopping anyone, but it’s a prime opportunity for Fields to feast. The Lions might score 30 points, but Fields certainly could match that.

It’ll be much easier than the last two weeks, when he went against Super Bowl contenders in the Eagles and Bills. Both of those teams are top-10 in scoring defense and are elite against the pass, and the Eagles lead the NFL in sacks.

Fields had the Bears in the game in the fourth quarter against both of those opponents and, over both games, completed 29 of 44 passes for 271 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 105.4 passer rating. He also averaged 4.8 yards per carry.

That fit with his overall upward trajectory. Fields and the offense were a wreck the first four games, but since then, he has a 96.9 passer rating and the Bears have averaged 22.9 points per game. Those numbers are up from 58.7 and 16, respectively, through Week 4.

Fields was well into finding a groove the first time he played the Lions and seems even more comfortable now, even while playing with patchwork personnel around him. He completed 20 of 25 passes — albeit with two interceptions — and averaged 10.2 yards per pass in the loss to the Packers.

His performances have been imperfect, but promising. For months it has seemed like Fields was on the brink of putting it all together. If that’s really the case, the Lions present an ideal chance to prove it.

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