Chicago Bears did not consider shutting down QB Justin Fields for final two games

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields rolls out during their game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Dec. 24, 2022, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields was unable to finish Saturday’s 35-13 loss to the Buffalo Bills after sustaining a foot injury, but coach Matt Eberflus plans on Fields playing in their final two games.

Fields suffered the injury late in the game and backup Nathan Peterman played in the Bears’ final series. Eberflus was asked Monday if there was any consideration of shutting Fields down with two remaining games.

“Absolutely not,” Eberflus said. “Like I said after the game, he got stepped on. He’s good to go. He’s healthy, he’s ready to go for this week.”

The Bears (3-12) finish with a road game Sunday against the Detroit Lions (7-8) and then host the Minnesota Vikings (12-3) on Sunday, Jan. 8 at Soldier Field.

While some fans might not mind the Bears improving their draft status with two more losses, that is far from Eberflus’ mind. He sees one very good reason how the Bears ending their eight-game losing streak would benefit them in the long-term.

“I would see value in that, because we have to learn how to finish,” Eberflus said. “We’re at the game two days ago, but you saw it, right? It was fourth quarter, eight minutes to go it was 21-13, right? We got the ball and we gotta learn how to finish. We have to finish there.”

In the loss to Bills, one of the AFC’s best teams, the Bears again played with them into the fourth quarter. But in what has been a common theme during the current skid, they were unable to close the deal in the fourth quarter.

“They’re getting close to really understanding how to finish the game and you finish with game-defining execution,” Eberflus said. “That’s what you finish with. You finish in those moments that the plays when they matter in the fourth quarter, we execute. And to me, these next two games are just about that. Being able to execute in those game-defining moments, those plays that matter and getting it done. And to me, that’s important going forward to the future.”

Clamping down: Buffalo did the best job all season of controlling Fields running the ball. The Bears second-year quarterback has 1,011 yards, seventh in the NFL and the most of any quarterback, but carried only seven times for 11 yards.

That broke a streak of eight consecutive games in which Fields had run for at least 60 yards.

“(The Bills) did a couple good things,” Eberflus said. “They had a couple spies on him in the passing game, for sure. It could have been where the defensive lineman was popping out of there, or it was one of the linebackers, did a couple of nice things there.

“Dropped a couple safeties in also to spy on him that way. It was overall a good plan, nothing out of the ordinary. I thought that (defensive coordinator) Leslie (Frazier) did what he normally does, played good, sound, fundamental fast football. That’s what I saw.”

Keeping them up: Eberflus was asked how the staff has handled the morale at this point in the season and being eliminated from the playoffs.

“It’s really just about focusing on the individual guy to start, having a lot of conversations with each individual guy to make sure he’s squared away and then it’s about practice habits,” he said. “It’s about having that championship habit and mentality where we’re going to go about our business the way we’re going to go about it.

“We’re going to be on time, we’re going to be respectful, we’re going to work hard and we’re going to go on the field and we’re going to work our tail off. We’re going to be focused in the meetings. Right now we’re going to prepare for Detroit and get ready for our great Wednesday practice and move to Thursday, Friday and then go kick it off. It’s about sticking with the process.”

Joe Stevenson

Joe Stevenson

I have worked at the Northwest Herald since January of 1989, covering everything from high school to professional sports. I mainly cover high school sports now.