Are the Bears Actually Getting the Best of Both Worlds?

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Are the Bears Actually Getting the Best of Both Worlds?

Chicago Bears

Justin Fields was 0-5 this season when having the opportunity to break a tie or give the Bears a lead on the game’s final drive entering Sunday’s contest with the Atlanta Falcons. Fittingly, Fields got another crack at a game-winning drive against the Falcons after Younghoe Koo drilled a 53-yard field goal with 1:47 to play to make it 27-24 Atlanta.

Once again, things didn’t go according to plan for the Bears. They ran some head-scratching plays on first and second down. And then put a beat-up Fields in an apparent passing down on third and long. With the clock running, the Bears went no-huddle on 3rd and 5, and Fields sailed a throw to David Montgomery that Jaylinn Hawkins intercepted to seal the win for Atlanta.

Losing sucks. And seeing Fields unable to get this offense over the hump with the clock ticking down at the end of games sucks, too. But let’s get a couple of things out in the open in that regard.

Firstly, there’s a notion that Fields isn’t a “big game” or “clutch QB” because of the results thus far down the stretch in games. And I don’t think there’s much truth to that at all. Five or six weeks ago, some thought Fields wasn’t the guy. Now he’s got cleats heading to Canton, hardware from the NFL for his individual performances, records, and — most important — the confidence and respect of his coaches and the front office. Not to mention the growing respect of the rest of the league. The point here is this development isn’t linear. Just because Fields hasn’t gotten this team in the win column in clutch time to this point doesn’t mean that he won’t in the future.

Secondly, there’s the question of whether or not a player — or more specifically, a quarterback — can learn and develop winning traits in losing seasons. There is this weird notion that somehow Fields will be permanently scarred by the clutch deficiencies of a season in which the roster around him was designed to fail. That’s nonsense, and I buy zero stock in that.

So, you might ask yourself, at this point, where does yet another Tank Win leave the Bears? After all, having a quality quarterback on a tanking team feels like an oxymoron. But it isn’t.

OK, so Fields fell to 0-6 in games in which he had the ball late with a chance to give the Bears a win. And while that’s not a number we like at all, the Bears fell to 3-8 on the season and moved into the third spot on the 2023 NFL Draft order.

Tankathon.com has the Bears behind the Houston Texans (1-8-1) and Carolina Panthers (3-8) and ahead of the Raiders, Broncos, Rams, Browns, Steelers, and Jaguars, all of which at 3-7 through the first 11 weeks of the season. The third pick in the draft sounds mighty lovely, especially when you consider that Fields is playing like a franchise quarterback of the future despite his surroundings. I mean, I really can’t stress how important it is that the Bears are checking these boxes right now. Having a solid draft position and getting tangible growth and development out of Fields has the franchise knowing it doesn’t have to worry about the quarterback position for years to come.

Instead of asking if the Bears should use that premium pick on a quarterback, the more pertinent question is answering how they want to best use that draft pick to help their franchise quarterback next season.

In the end, we’re seeing the Bears front office getting the best of both worlds right now. The roster is bottoming out, the front office is juicing up their draft pick stockpile, and are preparing for an offseason in which they’ll be more than $125 million under the cap. All the while, they’re watching their inherited quarterback blossom into the most exciting and talented signal caller we’ve ever seen wear a Bears jersey.

No, this isn’t what a fan wants to see on Sundays. But the other six days of the week, this balance could pay off big time for the Bears. And hey, regardless of the outcome, Fields has singlehandedly made Bears games something to get excited about again. Imagine what that’ll look like next season after an offseason in which GM Ryan Poles and friends use what they have in a fully juiced war chest of draft picks and cap space.



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

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