DETROIT (670 The Score) – Late in the first quarter Sunday afternoon, Bears quarterback Justin Fields uncorked a deep ball to the back of the end zone at Ford Field. He was looking for top receiver D.J. Moore, but the pass was overthrown and fell incomplete.
“I told him I wasn’t going to miss him twice,” Fields said.
Fields hit Moore on their next deep ball opportunity, as they connected on a 39-yard touchdown with 4:41 left in the third quarter on a strike that found Moore in stride. It was the type of highlight that the Bears hope to see from Fields in the stretch run of the regular season, though it was overshadowed by Chicago blowing a 12-point lead in the final four minutes of a 31-26 loss at Detroit.
The 24-year-old Fields excelled in his first game back after missing Chicago’s last four contests with a dislocated right thumb. He was 16-of-23 for 169 yards and a touchdown while adding 104 rushing yards on 18 carries. Fields posted a 105.2 passer rating and made a strong impression.
That’s growth there with him,” head coach Matt Eberflus said.
The Bears took a 20-14 lead following Fields’ touchdown pass to Moore. As the Bears looked to seal the victory in the fourth quarter, their offense stalled with its drives late in the game and Eberflus elected for a pair of field goals from kicker Cairo Santos, the latter of which gave Chicago a 26-14 lead with 4:15 remaining.
The Lions responded with a pair of touchdown drives in the next four minutes, with a Bears three-and-out sandwiched in between. Trailing 29-26, Fields and the Bears got the football back with 29 seconds left. On first down, he was sacked by Lions star pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson, who beat rookie right tackle Darnell Wright and forced a fumble. The ball was booted out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
“Obviously, it doesn’t feel good,” Wright said.
Fields is facing a defining stretch to close his third NFL season. The Bears could once again land the No. 1 overall pick – they own the Panthers’ first-round pick and Carolina fell to an NFL-worst 1-9 on Sunday – and that would give general manager Ryan Poles the chance to potentially select Chicago’s next quarterback after he inherited Fields from the previous regime.
On Sunday, Fields led his team admirably and showcased the type of promise that the Bears want to see. But as the Bears fell to 3-8, he was once again frustrated to come away without a win.
"If I'm being real, we should've won that game,” Fields said. “It just comes down to finishing and executing in the end. That's how you do it.
“We know what kind of team we are. We just got to be better.
We just got to finish.”
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.