Justin Fields is Re-Writing the Record Books as a Rusher (But Don't Overlook His Growth as a Passer!)

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Justin Fields is Re-Writing the Record Books as a Rusher (But Don’t Overlook His Growth as a Passer!)

Chicago Bears

Justin Fields is changing how we view quarterback development with every snap.

Part of it has to do with the Chicago Bears quarterback re-writing the record books with what he is doing as a rusher:

Fields’ running prowess as a QB is virtually unmatched.

The only quarterback in the Super Bowl era with multiple rushing scores of 60+ yards in the same season? Justin Fields, via the NFL’s official research department. Sticking in the Super Bowl era, Fields is the first QB in franchise history to rush for a TD in four straight games. Who has more carries in which he has reached a top speed exceeding 20 MPH than Justin Fields this year? Nobody, per NFL’s Next Gen Stats. Rushing for 50+ yards and a touchdown in four consecutive games? Only Fields, Kyler Murray, and Lamar Jackson have done that, according to NFL research. What about five consecutive games with at least 60+ rushing yards? Research from the league shows only QBs to have done that are Fields, Jackson, and Mike Vick.

This is elite company that Fields finds himself hanging in and we shouldn’t be taking it for granted.

Come on, now. You’ve never seen a stat line like this:

Seeing Fields break records is fun. But because he is doing it on the ground, it has become easy for some to brush Fields off as just a runner. This simply isn’t true.

Here’s hoping you didn’t bury a second-year quarterback after a handful of games in a new system. Because after a slow start, Fields has shown he has a grasp for this offense with how he is performing within the system. So be sure to send this to your friends complaining about Fields’ lack of development as a thrower:

Fields isn’t a finished product. But he is a QB on the rise.

From a pure passing perspective, Fields is doing now what he hadn’t been doing earlier in his career.

It begins with Fields taking what is given to him when he throws it. Don’t force it. Live to play another down. It is a small part of the quarterback development process, but it isn’t inconsequential. Additionally, Fields is also limiting his turnovers (save for yesterday’s awful pick-six). The turnovers aren’t coming as often as they once were. Some of it is better fortune (there have been some passes that should’ve been interceptions), but a chunk of it is due to better decision-making on Fields’ part. His accuracy rates are up in recent weeks when you compare to where he was earlier in the season. And we can say the same about his passer rating. So what if the passing numbers aren’t showing up in a traditional manner? You can’t ignore the signs of progress just because the numbers don’t fit what you think acceptable passing numbers should look like.

Don’t get me wrong. I want to see Fields light up scoreboards and throw for 300+ yards per game. But we should probably give up that ghost chase now. Let’s face it. These Bears simply aren’t built for it. They don’t have the types of pass catchers we would want running those routes. And the pass protection doesn’t consistently hold up long enough for Fields to scan the field and go into launch mode. So let’s not be bothered by this or upset about the Bears not doing something they aren’t built to do (or sustain). Instead, can we focus on Fields making legitimate growth as a passer? The record-breaking rushing feats are fun to watch. But strides are being made as a passer. Growth is happening for Fields as a true dual-threat quarterback. Let’s celebrate it.



Author: Luis Medina

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