Justin Fields and the Bears found an identity — or was it just the Broncos?


As if the Bears didn’t have enough to do during their short week, they need to sort out how much of Sunday’s long-awaited offensive outburst was quarterback Justin Fields and how much was the defense he was carving up.

The Broncos have the worst defense in football. Fields, until Sunday, was one of the worst quarterbacks in the sport.

Both might still be true.

“I do think we took a step closer in finding our identity as an offense,” Fields said Tuesday. “So that’s always a positive. But I mean yeah, we just have to keep working hard and keep getting better each and every day. You know, this week’s a short week, so really got to lock in mentally.”

The Commanders are allowing 30 points per game, the fourth-most in the NFL. But they’re light years better than the Broncos, and far more in line with the list of good-but-not-great defenses awaiting the Bears on the other side of this weekend’s “mini-bye.”

The Bears won’t attack the Commanders the same way they did the Broncos — for one, they boast perhaps the best defensive line in football. Staying the same is impossible, anyway; Fields said the Bears need to “change things up offensively to try to attack the defense the way they can be attacked.”

What they showed Sunday, though, makes a lot of sense — though the outcome was the same. The Bears blew a 21-point lead, tying a franchise record, and remain on a franchise-worst 14-game losing streak.

There are clues Sunday to what elements of the Bears offense can be universally effective: a strong power run game, a focus on finding receiver DJ Moore and tight end Cole Kmet and letting Fields use his legs to create mismatches on the ground and in the air.

When offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was asked in which area Justin Fields had made the most improvement Sunday, his answer came quicker than any of fields throws.

“Statistically,” he said. 

The Bears quarterback had his best-ever game as a passer against the woeful Broncos, going 28 for 35 for 335 yards, four touchdown passes and a 132.7 passer rating. And then the Bears lost the game in dramatic fashion.

“There’s only one stat that really matters to both Justin and I …” Getsy said. “And we didn’t that done.”

Fields had a big role in the meltdown, committing two fourth-quarter turnovers, one of which, a fumble on a naked bootleg, was returned 35 yards for a Broncos touchdown.

“To be honest, I’d rather throw for 50 yards with three picks and we still win the game than what happened this past Sunday,” Fields said.

Earlier this season, the first part of that sentence seemed possible — Fields threw for 99 yards against the Chiefs despite playing three-quarters of the game in garbage time. Through three weeks, Fields was 29th in passing yards and 33rd in passer rating. The Broncos game moved him up to 18th and 21st, respectively.

“I think everybody definitely took a step and is more confident going into this week,” Fields said.

The Bears’ offense, though, remains a work in progress. And confidence is only as strong as the next opponent’s defense. That’s a statistic that matters as the Bears chase their first win since Oct. 24.

“At this point, winning is just the No. 1 thing on my mind,” Fields said. “So I’d rather do that than accomplish any individual goal or individual statistic that there is. I’m just trying to get a ‘dub.’”

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