Fields Film: Missing Reads, Sailing Throws, Tripping in the Pocket, and Everything Else That Went Wrong

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Fields Film: Missing Reads, Sailing Throws, Tripping in the Pocket, and Everything Else That Went Wrong

Chicago Bears

“My confidence is normal… but I’ve gotta get better, straight up,” Fields said after Sunday’s victory at Soldier Field. “I played, I wanna say the ‘a word’ …but I played like trash.”

No arguments here.

I can appreciate Justin Fields owning his performance, but it doesn’t make it any better. He was downright awful on Sunday (8-17, 106 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions, and a 27.7 passer rating), when he should have been feasting on a cruddy Houston secondary.

I shared the numbers last week on the ineptitude of Houston’s secondary, so I’ll spare you, but the Texans were the perfect bounce-back opportunity for Fields, and he simply shat the bed. There’s no other way to say it.

Is this time to write Justin Fields off? Absolutely not. The talent and ceiling are all there, and that hasn’t changed. It’s fine to acknowledge both that Fields was terrible on Sunday and that he can still be the guy we all thought the Bears were getting when they drafted him. I know it’s hard to admit that both can be true simultaneously (especially after a clunker like that), but they’re not mutually exclusive.

Fields’ biggest problem — one we’ve often discussed — is that he simply doesn’t see the field well yet. On his first interception of the game, Fields locks onto Cole Kmet over the middle and never sees Equanimeous St. Brown wide open to his left for a touchdown if he pulls the trigger. Instead, Fields goes to Kmet, who had space but overthrows him for an interception to Jalen Pitre. A double-whammy for Fields here.

(Ed. Note: We’re figuring out a better way to deliver videos in these posts moving forward).

Fields also missed St. Brown last week for a touchdown against Green Bay:

Fields did admit after the game that ESB was one of his reads, and he just missed him and went with Kmet, who was his first option on the play.

“The Cole Kmet pass, I just sailed it, it was there….he (EQ) was one of my reads but Cole Kmet was my first option and I just missed it.”

Again, I appreciate and respect the honesty and accountability, but he admitted that he went first read and missed a touchdown because of that decision. That’s two in two weeks, and that’s not good enough.

On his second interception of the day, Fields missed another wide-open receiver. This time he missed Cole Kmet wide open in the flat for what would have been a first down on 3rd & 6. Fields was locked onto his first option, Darnell Mooney, and never looked Kmet’s way. Again, not only did Fields lock onto his first option, he made a poor throw that allowed Jalen Pitre to intercept the pass. Another double-whammy for Fields with poor awareness and poor throws.

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Fields’ “trash” performance went well beyond the interceptions, though. Here’s Fields missing Jake Tonges high on a throw that would have resulted in a first down:

Here’s Fields missing Darnell Mooney similarly:

Fields also twice lost track of where his guys were in the pocket and tripped over their feet, once for a sack, highlighting a problematic lack of awareness. Here’s Fields tripping over Braxton Jones, and he also tripped after making accidental contact with David Montgomery early in the game.

Fields’ afternoon wasn’t all bad, though. Early in the game Fields escaped a sack, evaded two Houston defenders and broke the longest run of his young career to give the Bears a first down and then some.

Fields’ 29-yard scramble was nice and highlighted two of his best tools, his speed and his ability to improvise. There were also some solid, accurate throws on Sunday. Still, the bad far outweighed the good, and if Houston wasn’t so bad, Fields’ mistakes would have cost the Bears a win.

I’ve seen some early reactions from people, and they go like this: “a win is a win,” or “2-1 looks pretty good right now,” and the thing is, no. Those things don’t matter right now.

At this point in the Bears rebuild, Justin Fields looking terrible against an inferior opponent is far more concerning than the Bears squeaking out a win against the Texans is encouraging. A sloppy, rushing-game-fueled victory does not outweigh a terrible performance from their young quarterback.

If you disagree, sorry; but that’s an indisputable fact. Justin Fields’ development means more than meaningless wins in the infancy of the rebuild. In fact, if Justin Fields ends up not being the guy, then wins like these are detrimental to the Bears ability to go and get the guy under center.

It’s simple math, really. Fields has to be significantly better, plain and simple. See ya, next week.


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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.