After breakout performance, Bears' Justin Fields keeps his focus on improvement


LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Bears quarterback Justin Fields is used to the burden of expectations. He has been a prized prospect in the spotlight since early in high school.

But what has transpired lately is new even to Fields, who Chicago is starting to believe can become a franchise star. He has encountered plenty of scrutiny during his first two seasons in the NFL. Now, Fields must adjust to a newfound level of hysteria.

“Just don’t let it affect me,” Fields said. “Just go about my day like I would before all this so-called hype came. Just put my head down and keep working. My main goal is to keep improving and keep getting better each and every day.”

On Wednesday morning, Fields was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after his record-setting performance in a loss to the Dolphins on Sunday, when he rushed for 178 yards, the most ever by a quarterback in a regular-season game in NFL history. That total included a spectacular 61-yard touchdown run that marked the longest rushing play by a Bears quarterback in franchise history.

Fields also went 17-of-28 for 123 yards and a career-best three touchdown passes. In doing so, he became the first player in NFL history to rush for more than 150 yards, run for a touchdown and throw for three touchdowns in a single game.

“It was super cool seeing him ball out the way he did,” said Bears receiver Chase Claypool, who was acquired in a trade with the Steelers last week.

The performance showcased clear growth from the 23-year-old Fields, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Fields is much more comfortable now in first-year offensive coordinator Luke Getsy's system while also making his own personal improvements with 21 games under his belt in the NFL.

“The experience has really led him to take the next step,” Bears coach Matt Eberflus said.

Fields has completed 58.8% of his passes for 1,322 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions through nine games while adding 91 carries for 602 rushing yards and four scores.

As Fields finds his form as a dynamic playmaker, he knows a key is to stay within the flow of the offense and take what’s presented. Fields feels that’s what can help him continue to improve.

“Main thing is not forcing the big plays, just letting them come to me,” Fields said. “Of course, I've always thought I've been able to make the big play, but I think the one thing you can't do is force big plays and just kind of let them come to you.

"Just take what the defense gives you, play every play out. Situationally, what's the down and distance? What do we need to accomplish on this play? Of course, if there is a big play there, then take it.

“Just keep developing, keep growing.”

Injury report
Bears defensive lineman Al-Quadin Muhammad (knee), cornerback Kindle Vildor (ankle) and safety Dane Cruikshank (illness) didn't practice Wednesday. Cornerback Josh Blackwell (knee) was listed as limited on the injury report.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Mike Dinovo/USA Today Sports