After ho-hum preseason finale, Bears quarterback Justin Fields says he’s ready for Week 1

At this point, you can see in Fields what you want to see.

SHARE After ho-hum preseason finale, Bears quarterback Justin Fields says he’s ready for Week 1
Justin Fields, Matt Eberflus and the Bears look on Saturday during the game against the Bills.

Justin Fields, Matt Eberflus and the Bears look on Saturday during the game against the Bills.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

At this point, you can see what you want to see in Bears quarterback Justin Fields.

Blur your eyes a bit and walk to one side, and you can convince yourself the signs are there for a leap. Fields threw two touchdown passes in the Bears’ first preseason game two weeks ago against the Titans and marched them to the Bills’ 9 in his third drive Saturday before being lifted because he was on a pitch count.

Go to the other side, however, and you’ll see a player whose two touchdown passes against the Titans came on throws behind the line of scrimmage and who posted a 65.3 passer rating Saturday in his most extensive work of the preseason.

Taken as a whole — from the back fields of Halas Hall to the joint practices against the Colts to two preseason starts at Soldier Field — Fields’ play has been neither great nor disqualifying. So we trudge on — to Week 1 of the regular season against the Packers on Sept. 10 — waiting for him to answer the most important question facing the Bears.

‘‘I think he’s in a good spot,’’ coach Matt Eberflus said after the Bears’ 24-21 loss to the Bills at Soldier Field. ‘‘We’ve spent a lot of time and attention on what we needed to this offseason. We’re excited where we are. We’ve got work to do. We’ve got a lot of work to do still.’’

Fields said he is prepared for Week 1.

‘‘I feel like I’m ready,’’ Fields said. ‘‘I think us, as a whole team, we’re ready.’’

Maybe so, but the Bears didn’t look it Saturday.

Playing behind a makeshift offensive line and against mostly man coverage, Fields went 2-for-6 for 51 yards and ran three times for 16. Running back Khalil Herbert dropped a pass, and receiver DJ Moore helped prevent a surefire Bills interception on a deep shot by turning himself into a defender.

Fields left after the first play of the second quarter, a third-and-10 screen pass to running back D’Onta Foreman for 11 yards and a first down. He was popped in the chest by defensive tackle Ed Oliver after he threw the ball.

Eberflus said the Bears already had determined it would be Fields’ final play of the game.

‘‘Wasn’t excited that he got hit on that one,’’ he said.

Fields was hit a few times. Left tackle Braxton Jones was the only lineman to start at the position where he began camp. Three starters sat out altogether: right guard Nate Davis, who has finished two padded practices; rookie right tackle Darnell Wright, who has an injured right ankle; and left guard Teven Jenkins, who has a walking boot on his right ankle and might miss the start of the regular season.

Doug Kramer, who started at center, left the game in the first quarter with an injury to his right hand and thumb. He was in a cast by the end of the game.

Fields said he was ‘‘very eager’’ to get his starting offensive linemen back for Week 1.

For the second consecutive week, Eberflus turned to Tyson Bagent, the undrafted rookie from Division II Shepherd University, as his No. 2 quarterback. Eberflus said he wanted to give him experience with fellow second-stringers — he hadn’t done that in game action — but it’s clear the Bears are considering keeping him on their 53-man roster when cut day arrives Tuesday.

Bagent didn’t have much more success than Fields, however. He went 7-for-14 for 43 yards, an interception and a 26.8 passer rating while playing the second and third quarters. He ran four times for 23 yards, including an eight-yard scramble for the Bears’ first touchdown.

He was 4-for-10 with an 8.3 passer rating in the second quarter. Had one play gone differently, however, it would have looked a lot better. On first-and-10 from the Bills’ 26, Bagent found tight end Stephen Carlson wide-open in the end zone. Carlson dove and had the ball in both his hands, but he dropped it. The stadium gasped. Bagent pogo-ed up and down.

On the next play, Bagent threw a pass right to cornerback Ja’Marcus Ingram, who returned the interception 36 yards with 56 seconds left in the first half.

The fact Bagent was out there at all speaks well to his chances of making the 53-man roster, whether or not he’s behind veteran P.J. Walker.

‘‘I feel as if I’ve proved that I belong and that I belong in the league,’’ Bagent said. ‘‘I don’t have any regrets. I feel like I put my best foot forward every day, and I worked really hard at this. But that will be up to them whether that was enough or not.’’

If the Bears’ preseason opener spoke well of their offensive personnel — Moore and Herbert both turned screen passes into touchdowns — Saturday did the opposite, but for one exception: a 40-yard pass from Fields to Moore, who broke two tackles and sprinted up the left sideline. Otherwise, the Bears’ offense was unimpressive behind their first two quarterbacks. When Walker took over in the fourth quarter, the Bears had averaged four yards per play.

Walker, who went 6-for-11 for 71 yards and threw a five-yard touchdown pass to backup fullback Robert Burns at the two-minute warning, admitted he has struggled thus far.

‘‘What I put on tape this preseason, it ain’t me,’’ Walker said.

He knows his future might be in jeopardy. He’ll find out Tuesday.

‘‘I’ve done everything I can to help everyone in the room,’’ Walker said. ‘‘For me, it’s not about just whether I make this team. There are a whole lot of teams out there.’’

His current team, however, is about to see what it has in Fields.

‘‘I feel good,’’ Fields said. ‘‘But I think the only thing now is just game-planning and watching film on [the Packers].’’

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