Over the last month, Justin Fields has gone on one of the greatest rushing stretches for a quarterback in NFL history. It might even actually be the best ever. Where do we even start?
- Fields broke Michael Vick’s single-game rushing record against the Dolphins, drawing the sarcastic ire of Mike McDaniel.
- With a few more incredible plays with his legs against the Lions, he put himself on pace to break Lamar Jackson’s single-season rushing record.
- This after accumulating the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a five-game span in the Super Bowl era.
But even with all of Fields’ magic, the Bears have gone just 1-3 as he blossoms and turns their offense into a competent unit. That didn’t seem to be a fact lost on the young quarterback, who seemingly took a little while to process a tough 31-30 defeat at the hands of the Lions.
That said, one opposing Detroit player — Fields’ former Ohio State teammate Jeff Okudah — was shocked to see the Bears quarterback’s newfound speed in the open field. After picking the signal-caller off for a game-changing pick-six in the fourth quarter, the young Lions’ corner got a first-hand taste of the new special gear in his former college teammates’ game:
Justin Fields with the 67-yard TD run
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) November 13, 2022
If you’ll notice, the last person Fields runs by on the play happens to be Okudah, who took a great angle to tackle him. The young quarterback was simply faster on an electric 67-yard touchdown.
Okudah seemed blown away by Fields’ growth on designed runs (and improvised runs) after the fact:
"I didn't realize how
fast he's gotten since college. He's a fast guy now. . . I don't think he used to run in college.
And now it's like he's got some nice speed."
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) November 13, 2022
Okudah’s assessment of Fields couldn’t be more correct. Coming out of Ohio State, Fields was a trademark pocket passer who mainly leaned on his arm to make plays downfield for a dynamic Buckeyes offense. There still were flashes of what Fields could do on the ground. You don’t run for 1,100-plus yards and score 19 rushing touchdowns in three college seasons if you don’t have some skill with the ball in your hands. But no one thought Fields would be in the conversation for best rushing quarterback in the sport when he turned professional.
Of course, Fields has run a lot by necessity on a barren offense such as the Bears. This is an extra skill for him just to survive a rebuilding year, and he still might be at the top of the class! Now imagine what can happen once the Bears’ have an offensive front and pass weapons for a quarterback far more known for his passing ability.
Terrifying stuff to consider in the future if you’re an NFL defensive coordinator trying to defend the Bears’ star QB.