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Avoiding a Sophomore Slump
The Chicago Bears suffered their seventh loss of the season in a one-point defeat to the Detroit Lions and now sit dead last in the NFC North standings with a 3-7 record. Although Chicago’s season has been a disappointment through ten games, Justin Fields’ personal performance has taken great strides. Justin Fields started the season as one of the worst-qualified passers in the NFL. His throwing DVOA was -50.5%, and for those unaware, DVOA measures a team’s efficiency by comparing success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent.
After this sluggish start, Chicago finally began to use his agility to their benefit, which has helped open up the Bears’ passing offense in return. In their most recent game against the Lions, Fields ran for 147 yards with 2 passing TDs and 2 rushing TDs, as Chicago has averaged 29 points over their last four games. Instead of conforming to an already existing scheme, the Bears and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy have created a new offensive attack revolving around Fields’ ability to escape the pocket and move the ball with his legs. He now has six rushing touchdowns and 749 yards on only 104 attempts. Despite his growing aptitude in the game, Fields and his team could not give the fans what they wanted: wins.
Villain or Hero?
Bears fans have had a generally lukewarm reaction toward Justin Fields since he became Chicago’s starting quarterback in 2020. It is clear that forcing Fields to become a pocket passer in 2020 did not go to plan, and allowing him to use his legs this season has shown the natural athleticism he possesses when extending plays and flipping the field on designed runs. To clap back at the fans who have doubted his individual success and blame his performance alone for the 3-7 start to the season, Fields took to Instagram in an attempt to silence his critics.
An image captioned, “The one thing they love more than a hero is to see him fail.” was a direct response to the harsh criticism he has received from Chicago fans. Looking a bit closer, this quote comes from the 2002 version of Spider-Man in a conversation between Green Goblin and Peter Parker. He says these words during the final battle of the movie, trying to persuade Peter Parker that his efforts to defeat him were entirely pointless.
“But the one thing they love more than a hero is to see a hero fail, fall, die trying. In spite of everything you’ve done for them, eventually, they will hate you.”
It appears that the second-year QB has warned his fans for the final time, letting them know that his best is yet to come.
Justin Fields is only 23 years old, yet he presents himself like a veteran on and off the field. His work ethic is admirable and it is obvious that everything Fields does is dedicated to becoming the next great athlete in Chicago. The best quarterbacks in today’s NFL have the same passion and drive that Fields has shown in his first two seasons, yet they find a way to win when the lights shine the brightest. The Chicago Bears have not experienced a leader like this in many years, and it appears that the staff and surrounding fans are possibly unable to handle it. Fields has proven that he is not the problem in this organization, and cannot do everything alone. And hey, even your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man needs help sometimes.