‘Please stop him’: Justin Fields elicits ultimate respect from Dolphins
Fields flummoxed the Dolphins at nearly every turn, rushing 15 times for 178 yards — an NFL record for a quarterback in the regular season. “Justin Fields is legit, man. He’s a monster,” Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips said. “He’s gonna be incredible in this league.”
Justin Fields did more than just play well Sunday. He put a little fear in his opponent.
“That last third and fourth down, in my head I was like, ‘I already know he’s going to take off. Please stop him,’ ” Dolphins safety Eric Rowe said. “I’ve got to worry about my coverage and stuff, but I was like, ‘Please stop him.’ ”
The Dolphins (6-3) are on the rise under first-year coach Mike McDaniel. They already have beaten Lamar Jackson and the Ravens and Josh Allen and the Bills. They have every right to believe they are primed for the big time. But they weren’t ready for this.
Fields flummoxed the Dolphins at nearly every turn, rushing 15 times for 178 yards — an NFL record for a quarterback in the regular season — highlighted by a 61-yard touchdown run.
“Justin Fields is legit, man. He’s a monster,” Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips said. “He’s going to be incredible in this league.”
In the end, Rowe got his wish. The Bears had a golden opportunity to send the game into overtime or win it, trailing 35-32 with 1:59 left and the ball at their 42-yard line. But on second-and-eight, linebacker Duke Riley sacked Fields for a two-yard loss. And Fields threw incomplete on third and fourth down — for Chase Claypool downfield and for Equanimeous St. Brown in the flat — to turn the ball over on downs.
Only then did the Dolphins exhale at having survived a dazzling performance by Fields.
“I’m glad we don’t have to see him again,” Rowe said.
Even amid a dearth of quality quarterback play over the years, the Bears have had some outstanding performances, but nothing quite like this. Opponents just waited for Jay Cutler to make a mistake. They plotted to make Mitch Trubisky play quarterback. But Fields’ performance elicited only respect.
“To their credit, Justin Fields is as dynamic with the ball in his hands as any player in the league,” McDaniel said.
Asked for a word to describe Fields’ excellence, Dolphins linebacker Melvin Ingram had four — but they were all the same.
“Special. Special. Special. Special,” Ingram said. “It’s simple. He’s special.”
Like many of his teammates, Ingram was glad to get out of town with a win and ready to decompress after spending the day chasing Fields all over the place.
“Oh, man, it’s hell,” Ingram said. “He’s a great quarterback and a great player. It was a lot of fun out there, but it was damn sure stressful. He made some hellified plays out there.”
Or, as cornerback Xavien Howard put it when asked about stopping Fields, “That [stuff] is hard. You’re covering your guy, and he’s breaking stuff down. It’s kind of frustrating. We got to get back in the lab.”
The Dolphins have faced mobile quarterbacks before. Jackson rushed for 119 yards on nine carries in Week 2. Allen rushed for 47 yards on eight carries in Week 3. So Fields was not a surprise. But at least on this day, the Bears finally had a player you can spend all week preparing for and still be unable to stop.
“We had a plan [to contain Fields],” -McDaniel said. “They definitely got the -better of us.”
“The guy’s good,” said linebacker Jerome Baker, like Fields an Ohio State product. “We had different ways to stop him and couldn’t. He’s one of those guys, you think you have him — you think you have a spy on him. And he just outruns the spy or he gets out of a sack that’s clearly a sack.
“He just got it done. No matter what play it was. No matter what [the situation], he got it done. It’s a credit to him.”