After finishing the 2022 season with a league-worst 3-14 record and trading the first overall pick to the Carolina Panthers for DJ Moore and a handful of other picks, expectations for Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears were very high going into the season.
So what went wrong? It’s impossible to blame just one thing after the Bears’ disappointing 38-20 loss to their arch rivals. But Fields was very critical of his own performance Wednesday when speaking with the media. Fields said, “I felt like I was a little bit too conservative at times during the game.” When asked why, the Bears quarterback didn’t have an answer.
Bears QB Justin Fields acknowledged that he was, in his words, "too conservative" with taking chances down the field against the Packers in Week 1.
Asked why, Fields shrugged. "I'm not sure. I don't know."
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) September 13, 2023
Expectations were high after this offseason. Adding to the expectations was the fact that Green Bay, Chicago’s biggest rival, was without Aaron Rodgers for the first time in nearly 20 years. Rodgers went 24-5 against the Bears as a Packer, so the transition to Jordan Love was supposed to be a new era in the rivalry where the Bears could finally get the upper hand.
Everything was lined up perfectly for Fields and the Bears. They opened the season against Love and the Packers on national television. Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as planned for the third-year quarterback, as Green Bay simply steamrolled Chicago.
Fields finished the game 24-37 for 216 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Green Bay returned that interception for a touchdown. More alarming than the numbers themselves is the fact that 11 of Fields’ 24 completions went to running backs. That certainly can’t be what the Bears had in mind when they went out and acquired DJ Moore for their franchise quarterback. Moore had just two catches for 25 yards and was only targeted twice.
Just four of Fields’ 37 pass attempts went further than 10 yards. Regardless of whether that’s due to the playcalling, the defensive scheme, the quarterback himself, or a mix of all three, it’s evident what works and what doesn’t work in the NFL. That strategy simply won’t result in any success. Not for Justin Fields and certainly not for the Bears going forward.