CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears escaped Week 3 with a 23-20 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday, thanks in large part to a late interception by linebacker Roquan Smith that set up Cairo Santos‘ game-winning 30-yard field goal as time expired.
But quarterback Justin Fields continued to struggle.
After tallying 48 net passing yards in a loss at Green Bay in Week 2, he completed just 8 of 17 passes for 106 yards and two interceptions against Houston. He also fumbled twice and tallied a 27.7 passer rating, the lowest of his NFL career.
Following the game, Fields offered a harsh assessment of his performance.
“Straight up, I just played — I don’t want to say the A-word, but I played like trash,” Fields said. “Really just got to be better.”
Fields said he was most upset by his two interceptions and planned to begin the process of correcting his mistakes immediately.
“I’m going to go see the film tonight. I played terrible,” he said. “See what I could have done better and get better.”
Fields’ first interception came with 2:54 remaining in the first quarter when he tried to connect with Cole Kmet on a seam route and missed the tight end, whom he said was wide open. The second interception happened in the third quarter and was the byproduct of what Fields described as a poor decision coupled with a poor throw to wide receiver Darnell Mooney with three defenders around him.
“I got pressure, saw Cover 2, (the middle linebacker) running with Darnell,” Fields said. “When I saw that, I got hit while I was throwing, so next time I’ve got to take the check-down. So that’s one thing that I’m going to work on this week: getting pressure — boom — check down.”
The Bears attempted only six passes in the second half and leaned heavily on their run game while Fields struggled. Khalil Herbert, who finished with 20 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns in place of an injured David Montgomery, shouldered the load for a run game that eclipsed 281 yards.
Chicago’s offense sought more balance after a paltry outing against the Packers and struggled to move the ball effectively with its passing game.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus addressed Fields’ shortcomings postgame and how the team can continue to instill confidence in his its young quarterback.
“I think when you are working with a young quarterback in a new offense, I think the people around him have to be solid,” Eberflus said. “So that’s important for us, meaning that the protection has to be good, the run game has to be good, the defense has to be really good and special teams, we’ve got to be awesome.
“What you do is you support that quarterback while he’s growing. And while he’s going through this, and there’s going to be good and there’s going to be things that he has to improve on, but that’s on the whole football team. The whole football team is like that.”
Despite Fields’ struggles, the Bears still were able to pull off a win to improve to 2-1. Fields pointed to the way he fought in Week 3 as a positive and emphasized his desire to win by any means necessary.
“After two picks, the score is 20-20,” Fields said. “The picks are not going to do anything for me now. It’s like at that point, I’m going to do whatever I can to help us win the game. Of course, I want to play better but — I can’t be out here sulking, this and that. Got to win the game.”