On his closing move of a difficult evening, Justin Fields knew he had one accountability, one obligation to his staff, one likelihood to writer the ending of Monday’s tense and sloppy recreation with the Minnesota Vikings.
Make a rattling play.
Simply make yet another play. Of any form.
That was all Fields wanted to do, even with all of the stress that was intensifying — from the Vikings protection, from his personal miscues earlier within the fourth quarter, from the load of so many earlier video games the Chicago Bears had their likelihood to win however couldn’t.
Simply make a play.
After doing so many issues improper Monday, after once more stumbling to the sting of the cliff in a winnable recreation, the Bears had their closing likelihood to steal a win at U.S. Financial institution Stadium. And the ball was in Fields’ fingers close to midfield, together with his staff down a degree and the clock ticking inside a minute.
On third-and-10, Fields saved his nerves calm and his eyes up. A seven-man safety stonewalled a four-man Minnesota rush. And with the Vikings bailing backward of their zone protection, Fields noticed precisely what he needed — high receiver DJ Moore breaking crisply towards the center of the sphere and left alone on his route.
There it was. The play was proper there.
“I’m simply locked in,” Fields stated. “There’s no feeling. It’s simply straight tunnel imaginative and prescient locked into that second.”
From his personal 43-yard line, Fields ripped a fastball into an enormous window. Moore, together with his eyes as massive as dinner plates, couldn’t consider that second of reality had unfolded so completely as Vikings cornerback Camryn Bynum caught with Tyler Scott on a nook route.
“They left me huge open,” Moore stated. “I don’t assume that was a wise alternative.”
Fields’ move hit Moore’s fingers, numbers excessive, on the Vikings 26 with no defenders inside 4 yards of him. The receiver barreled forward for 13 extra yards to complete the 36-yard completion, successfully positioning the Bears to seal their 12-10 victory.
Three clock-killing kneel-downs adopted and, with 10 seconds remaining, Bears kicker Cairo Santos nailed a 30-yard discipline purpose — his fourth of the evening — to complete the triumph.
Fields famous that closing completion got here on a play the Bears offense has felt assured operating for the reason that summer time. “We’ve hit that in apply a number of instances on our protection and within the 2-minute scenario,” Fields stated. “So it’s simply going again to these banked reps and all people succeeding after we wanted to.”
Moore stated he was about 10 yards into his route when he acquired a way he was about to spring open.
“I used to be like ‘one thing ain’t proper about this,’” he stated. “I seemed up and was like, ‘Shoot. There’s no person within the center. Effectively, this deep-in goes to be within the center.’ We related on it and the remainder is historical past.”
For now, this stands as one in every of Fields’ most important moments within the seven video games he has received because the Bears beginning quarterback.
Technically, he entered Monday with two profession game-winning drives. However the latest — in Week 3 final season — was a four-play, 0-yard go-ahead discipline purpose drive arrange by a Roquan Smith interception in a 23-20 win over the Houston Texans.
Two weeks earlier, he additionally completed a go-ahead 84-yard landing drive early within the fourth quarter of a 19-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. However heroics within the closing minutes? Fields had been late-game tragic much more usually in his profession than he had produced late-game magic.
Monday’s recreation appeared headed for the same and acquainted outcome, too, after Fields misplaced two fumbles in essential moments.
The primary, on a strip sack by Vikings defensive finish Danielle Hunter, prevented the Bears from growing their result in two scores with lower than 10 minutes remaining. That turnover got here 4 snaps after rookie operating again Roschon Johnson had the soccer punched from his fingers. Happily for the Bears, middle Lucas Patrick recovered that one.
Stated Fields: “I stated to (Roschon), ‘Ball safety is an important factor proper now.’ Then (just a few) performs later I fumble.”
The Vikings promptly turned that turnover into the evening’s solely landing with a 77-yard drive punctuated by a 17-yard T.J. Hockenson reception from Josh Dobbs. That gave the Vikings their first lead.
On the Bears’ subsequent possession, Fields fumbled once more, this time on the finish of a 6-yard scramble when he was popped by linebacker Josh Metellus. Anthony Barr dived on it.
Vikings ball. Once more. That felt crushing.
“I used to be sick to my abdomen,” Fields stated. “I’m not going to mislead you.”
Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter what was occurring in Fields’ abdomen, he knew his mind simply needed to be cleared. Particularly with the Bears protection doing its half, forcing a fast three-and-out and getting the ball again in 59 seconds.
All of the sudden, the Bears’ seven penalties within the recreation have been irrelevant. The missed alternatives of turning 4 takeaways by the protection into solely three factors didn’t matter. The offense’s sputtering rhythm for a lot of the evening didn’t should be deadly.
Fields needed one other shot together with his focus dialed in.
“I actually simply needed to show to my teammates that I had their again,” he stated. “… While you do get that chance on the finish of the sport, the whole lot (that occurred) earlier than that’s out the window.”
On the primary move of the ultimate drive, Fields prolonged the play, acquired outdoors the pocket, then discovered Moore for 16 yards. He added two runs for 13 yards, then had two helter-skelter incompletions earlier than his longest and most significant move of the evening. The one to Moore for 36.
Fields made a play, which helped the Bears produce their most significant win of the season.
“(Justin) had an ideal bounce-back,” stated Moore, who turned his 11 catches into 114 yards. “He had the fumbles. However he got here again like a real chief does, like someone on the rise as a younger quarterback. He simply blocked that out and made that throw.”
Added tight finish Cole Kmet: “That’s what this league is. Regardless of no matter else occurs, you need to keep in it. Keep in it, keep in it, keep in it. Then you need to discover a approach to win on the finish.”
Cornerback Jaylon Johnson, who had one of many Bears’ 4 interceptions, watched that final drive and the ultimate Fields completion to Moore and liked the whole lot he noticed.
“Truthfully, I felt like this feels just a little higher contemplating what (Justin) did after these two turnovers,” Johnson stated. “As a result of that’s disheartening, particularly for him desirous to be on the degree he is aware of he can play at. However then coming again and making that massive throw? I feel was larger than only a game-winning drive. This was about his resilience, having the ability to keep on with it and ship that ball when and the place he wanted to.”
With no terrific defensive effort, in fact, the Bears would have been doomed Monday evening. But with the sport on the road and few alternatives left, Fields and Moore met the second. They made a play to win the sport.
“We acquired the end half down,” Moore stated. “Now we will see it. We are able to contact on it and grasp it. We wish to see that extra transferring ahead.”