Matt Eberflus Finds the Silver Lining Hovering Above Justin Fields’ Head

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Matt Eberflus Finds the Silver Lining Hovering Above Justin Fields’ Head

Chicago Bears

Justin Fields took one hit after another on Thursday Night Football.

And when he wasn’t getting hit, the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback had an uneven game. There were some nice throws, big plays, and wow moments … but also poor throws, plays that made you cringe, and moments that hurt the soul. Overall, the general takeaway from Thursday’s 12-7 loss to the Washington Commanders was that Fields was OK (all context considered).

For Head Coach Matt Eberflus, it was Fields’ perseverance and ability to shake it off to give the team a shot at pulling one out at the end that stands out as a silver lining in what is otherwise a dark cloud looming over Chicago on a Friday after defeat.

Eberflus saw growth again in Fields, and explained what he saw and where he saw it:

“Because of the toughness, the ability. For me, the ability to take the ball and drive it down at the very end to give us a chance to win it. That’s to me what was the improvement. Was there other moments that we need to clean up? And the offense needs to clean up? Sure. But we have the drives down there. And if we punch those in the game is a different game. So for me, that was really inspiring to watch him doing that at the very end. To take us down to win it at the very end and came up short. Got to do a better job next time.”

For more from Coach Eberflus, watch the video below:

The 2022 Bears weren’t the best-built bunch on the block. Not after spending the offseason beefing up the defense and rounding out the depth spots on the roster. But this was the type of game where Fields snatches victory from the jaws of defeat despite his surroundings because of his intangibles. And he almost did! Instead, it is easy to look at this game as one that was lost in the offseason. But I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole right now.

Instead, I think it is worth highlighting how Eberflus commends Fields for putting the Bears in a position to win despite so much going wrong around him. It’s almost as if this is the plan for these Bears. Hang around, keep it close, and hope that a quarterback with tremendous tools, and a flair for the dramatic, could pull a rabbit out of his hat at the end of the show. This isn’t to say this is a good way to evaluate or develop a quarterback. In fact, it isn’t. However, this feels like what the Bears are doing in the short term to test Fields’ mettle. To this point, he is passing those tests. Although, he is taking a beating while doing so.

Perhaps that makes this whole season’s experience exponentially more frustrating. This is the most dangerous path to take in quarterback development. And the Bears are actively taking it. There is a real bit of risk the franchise is taking on by operating this way. Because I, as an individual, can swallow a loss like that by drenching it in mild sauce and calling it a tank win. But I don’t know how much more Fields can take (physically and mentally, to be honest). There is a real burden on his shoulders that he carries by being this team’s QB1.

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.