'Special' Fields sets marks with 178 rushing yards

‘Special’ Fields sets marks with 178 rushing yards

CHICAGO — Justin Fields continued to make his case as the best quarterback in the 2021 draft class after hitting all-time highs in Chicago’s 35-32 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

The Bears quarterback set several NFL and franchise records on Sunday. His 178 rushing yards are the most by a quarterback in a regular season game in the Super Bowl era, surpassing the previous record set by former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick (173) in 2002.

Fields was 3 yards away from breaking the all-time record, which former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick (181 yards) set in the 2012 Divisional Playoffs.

Fields also became the Bears’ single-game franchise record holder by surpassing the 127-yard rushing mark set by former Chicago quarterback Bobby Douglass in 1972.

“I think I’m growing and getting better every week,” said Fields, who discovered he broke the Bears quarterback’s single-game rush record when it aired on the Soldier Field video board. “My main focus right now is just to keep doing it. To keep trending up, and every day I train, keep getting better. That’s really all you can do. “

Despite the loss, Fields put in one of the best performances of his career. The sophomore quarterback completed 17 of 28 passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns and finished with the third-highest passer rating of his career (106.7), his second straight game with a higher passer rating at 100. Fields also accounted for a rushing touchdown. .

“It’s crazy,” Chicago tight end Cole Kmet said. “It’s crazy. When you see him running like that and then being able to execute the passing game like he did, it’s pretty special, that’s for sure.”

The highlight of the play came on a 61-yard run that ended with Fields in the end zone early in the third quarter. On third-and-fifth from the Chicago 39-yard line, Fields backed up to pass and first looked to connect with wide receiver Darnell Mooney.

“We expected a man (cover) on this play,” Fields said. “They went with a move towards the man and on the snap they went to the area. I was looking for Moon, I walked into the pocket looking for Moon, and just as I was on the point of throwing it to him, he turned around so I kind of had to take the ball away and at that point instinct took over.”

Fields’ career longest rushing touchdown was the second-longest touchdown by a quarterback this season. The longest was Lamar Jackson’s 79-yard touchdown in Week 2, which also came against the Dolphins defense.

Miami entered Week 9 with the sixth-best running defense in the league, but struggled to contain running quarterbacks. Jackson rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on Sept. 18. The Dolphins had no answer for Fields on Sunday, especially on third down when he used his legs to keep plays alive.

Fields had seven carries for 111 yards and a touchdown on third down and converted six times for a first down.

“He’s as quick as any technical position runner,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said. “Like he’s really, really quick and he can cut and break tackles. There’s a lot of quarterbacks in the running. This one in particular, I think, is very elitist and adept at that.”

Chicago’s offense has averaged 31.3 points per game over the past three weeks after posting 15.5 points per game in Weeks 1-6. Fields’ extra element as a runner has helped the Bears to maintain their status as the league’s best rushing offense (195.4 yards per game). This trend started in earnest against New England, when engineered quarterback runs helped Chicago reach its best score (33 points) during the Fields era.

Against the Dolphins, it was Fields’ scrambling ability (110 yards, TD) that tore Miami’s defense apart.

“It was a big point of attention early in the game, just knowing how he’s really helped to really change the complexion of this offense over the last two weeks,” McDaniel said.

Fields continues to show week-to-week progress after a rocky start to the season. Even in the loss, Bears coach Matt Eberflus called Fields’ performance a “big step” for the quarterback and the direction the franchise is heading.

“I think it’s special,” Eberflus said. “I think we’re building our football team. Like I said, we have a young football team. We’re building on that. And the centerpiece of that is the quarterback. That’s how it is in the NFL Talk about tenacity and courage and the ability to persevere through a lot of different things.

“Obviously the start of the season kicks in, and now the last three games, it’s really taken off. And we’re excited about that as a group and we’re excited about that for the Chicago Bears and franchise.”

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