Chicago Bears ask too much from Justin Fields in loss to Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields rubs his shoulder as he walks back onto the field during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Atlanta.

Type in a Google search for “are mobile QBs injured more?” and you’ll come up with some surprising results.

• ”New study: Quarterbacks that run most are not most injured.”

• ”Rushing quarterbacks being more prone to injuries is unfounded.”

• ”Injury proneness to running QBs is overstated.”

Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy must believe all of these stories because he seems determined to run Justin Fields 1,000 times this season.

There’s no doubt that the results have been electric, with Fields setting record after record during loss after loss.

Sunday in Atlanta, however, we saw Superman crumple.

Fields, who carried the ball a whopping 14 times in the first half alone, hurt his shoulder on the Bears’ final failed drive during their 27-24 setback. The injury occurred on a designed run on first down that picked up 1 yard.

Incredibly, on second down, Getsy asked Fields to run again. His young QB took another hit and winced after a 4-yard gain.

The possession ended seconds later when Fields’ jump pass sailed over the head of David Montgomery and landed in the hands of Atlanta’s Jaylinn Hawkins.

So how is Fields doing? Good question.

“He’s fine. He’s good. We’ll see. I mean, I don’t know,” a stumbling Bears coach Matt Eberflus said on WBBM 780-AM. “We don’t know what it is exactly. You know, he got dinged in the left shoulder ... so we’ll see what it is. The doctors are evaluating him and all that.”

Fields, who finished with 85 yards to increase his season total to 834, told reporters that his legs were “cramping pretty much the whole fourth quarter.”

As for the shoulder? Is it dislocated?

“I don’t even know,” he said. “I think the doctors took a picture and they were going to go over it.”

Asked if he’d play next week against the Jets, Fields simply said: “I’m not sure yet. Take it day-by-day.”

Believe what you want about the propensity for scrambling QBs to get injured more than their statue-like counterparts. They do. They don’t.


In Fields’ case, we are seeing a QB run at historic rates, so it’s tough to compare him to anyone in the past. Over the past six games, Fields has taken off a mind-boggling 80 times for 640 yards.

Eighty times. In six games.

That would be 227 attempts over a 17-game season. Only eight running backs had that many attempts in 2020 and 2021.

The NFL record for rushing attempts by a QB is 176 by Lamar Jackson. If Fields stays healthy, it’s a good bet he surpasses that total.

Enough is enough. It’s time for Getsy to find out what some of these receivers can do.

Where was Chase Claypool on Sunday? He had two catches for 11 yards.

Dante Pettis anybody? He wasn’t even targeted.

Equanimeous St. Brown? A nice blocker, but he’s done almost nothing in the passing game.

We know it’s not the most accomplished group, but you have the best rushing offense in the NFL. One would think some well-designed play-action passes would be in order.

The Bears managed to jump out to a double-digit lead for the second straight week by scoring 17 unanswered points. Darnell Mooney snared a 16-yard TD reception with 6:02 remaining in the first quarter; Cairo Santos booted a 41-yard field goal with 7:42 left in the second quarter; and Fields bolted in from 4 yards out three minutes later to make it 17-7.

Unfortunately for Eberfuls’ squad, former Bear Cordarrelle Patterson returned the ensuing kickoff back 103 yards to get the Falcons within 17-14. Patterson now holds the NFL record with nine kickoff returns for touchdowns.

The Falcons took a 24-17 lead on Marcus Mariota’s 10-yard TD run late in the third quarter, but the Bears answered with a 13-play, 75-yard TD drive that featured a marvelous catch by Montgomery.

The ending was a carbon copy of the past few weeks: the Bears’ defense failed to stop the Falcons; and the offense wilted in crunchtime.

“I’m frustrated,” Mooney told WBBM. “We’ve just got to execute and win the game. I mean, there’s nothing to it.

“The game in the NFL always comes close at the end. ... So whoever has the ball last has the opportunity to win ... and we keep coming up short.”

The Bears (3-8) have lost seven of eight and face the surprising Jets (6-4) next week.

“Everybody’s got to look at themselves, look at their performance and how can I improve myself to help the unit?” Eberflus said. “Then the unit’s gonna help the team.

“The only way we’re gonna get it done is if we do it together.”