It was the best of games, it was the worst of games. It was the best of outcomes, it was the worst of outcomes. It was the best of Justin Fields, it was the worst of Justin Fields.
Yes, Bears Nation is like a tale of two factions. One side wanted the Bears to beat the hated Packers when at their weakest. The other side wanted the Bears to continue losing to maintain their path to a Top 3 draft pick next April.
I wish I had a poll to truly gauge what percentage favored which outcome.
As it unfolded, the Bears would go on to lose in similar fashion as they’ve done multiple times in the midst of their 6-game losing streak. They squandered a fourth-quarter lead and Justin Fields failed to lead a comeback victory drive.
Therein lies the rub. Is it really Fields’ fault that he couldn’t lead a come-from-behind touchdown drive? He is the quarterback and the leader of the offense, after all. Many Bears fans are using this as ammo for why he might not be the answer as a franchise quarterback.
On the other hand, Fields is also handicapped by one of the worst offensive supporting casts in football. That can’t be denied and has to be a part of the discussion as well.
So which is? My assumption is that there are two factions in Bears Nation over this debate, too.
From my perspective, I have my own tale of two factions going on. My head and my heart are at odds with one another.
My head is telling me that obviously the higher the draft pick, the more valuable it is. That’s why the “trade value chart” for draft picks was invented and still exists. And yes, after seeing the 49ers trade three first-round draft picks for Trey Lance — a move that looks awfully terrible through two seasons — one can’t help but wonder what the Bears could do with three first-round picks if they traded a Top 3 draft pick.
That assumes they’re happy with Fields and will move forward with him.
On the flip side, my heart is telling me to always root for the Bears and I can’t bring myself to root for losses. Fans who are advocating for tanking will argue that a higher draft pick will bring the Bears closer to a Super Bowl. I get that argument. But that presupposes that the Bears will be able to cash in on a trade with a quarterback-desperate franchise. It also assumes general manager Ryan Poles will make the correct draft choices.
There is no guarantee in the NFL Draft, thus, I still want to root for the Bears to win every time they set foot on a football field.
And in the end, if they wind up losing and get a higher draft pick, we’ll look to make the most out of that when the time comes for it.
Briefly about the game: we continue to see the evolution of Justin Fields the athlete. For the sixth-straight game — which ties an NFL record for quarterbacks — Fields rushed for a touchdown.
Want more impressive than that?
It was Fields’ sixth-straight game with 50-plus rushing yards and a touchdown, which tied the great Gale Sayers.
How about one more?
Reports are conflicting, but Fields might be the only quarterback in NFL history with three or more 50-plus yard touchdown runs in a season. The Sun-Times said it’s been “at least” since 1924.
What does all this tell you? Fields’ rushing ability as a quarterback is revolutionary, and it’s been in fewer than two professional years of football. Less than one season of football, honestly.
Heck, it’s taken only seven games to show how special he is.
Now, here’s where the two warring factions of Bears Nation butt heads again.
Is it enough to have a special “running” quarterback? Or will Fields’ passing need to catch up to his running — or, at the very least, just get marginally better?
I’ve long declared that “primarily” running quarterbacks don’t have long careers in the NFL, because when they hit 30, or thereabouts, their speed wanes and defenses catch up. Who’s the last Super Bowl winning quarterback who was “primarily” a running quarterback?
I’ll give you a few minutes to try to look that up.
A quarterback must be able to throw the football in the NFL to win a Super Bowl — unless you have such a dominating defense and a complementary run game that cannot be stopped.
I’m not saying the Bears can’t win a Super Bowl with the latter, but it sure would improve their chances if Fields makes the former happen.
That game against the Packers was ripe for the taking, but the Bears’ defense — maybe the worst in the NFL — blew it in the fourth quarter. There aren’t going to be many more chances for the Bears to win a game this season. They might be able to beat Detroit, and the Vikings might rest their starters in the season finale. But the Bears will get smoked by the Bills and Eagles, two teams who just might be headed for a collision course in this year’s Super Bowl.
So what does that all mean? There is a very real chance the Bears will be picking in the Top 3 in next April’s draft.
And that will make at least one faction of Bears Nation happy.