Justin Fields is still searching for his first career win over the Green Bay Packers after the Chicago Bears were bested yet again by their oldest rivals in Week 13, but Aaron Rodgers believes Fields’ talent could give him ample opportunities as he continues on with his career in the Windy City.
Fields went 20-of-25 passing for a season-high 254 yards and rushed for another 71 yards and a touchdown on six carries against the Packers on Sunday, throwing two interceptions in the fourth quarter that helped seal the Bears’ 28-19 defeat but still impressing the four-time MVP playing quarterback for the other side.
“They’ve got a talented quarterback who has got a chance to be around for a long time,” Rodgers said after the game, adding that he believes the 2022 Bears were a much younger type of team than the Packers have faced in previous years.
Fields Receives Highest PFF Grade of the 2022 Season
Fields finished as Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded quarterback in Week 13, receiving a season-high overall grade of 90.4 for his efforts against the Packers. He also finished with an elite grade as a runner with his biggest play coming on a 55-yard scramble touchdown that he manufactured in the first quarter to put the Bears ahead 10-0.
Amid a heavy rebuild, the Bears might have already seen enough from Fields to believe he can be their franchise quarterback for years to come. There are obviously still things to clean up — such as his poorly-timed interceptions against Green Bay — but it helps to see him making gradual improvements with a generally weak supporting cast in his receiving corps and on his offensive line. Now, the Bears need to build around him.
The Bears will have an excellent opportunity to acquire top-level talent in the 2023 offseason. Not only does Over the Cap project them to have more than $120 million in cap space next season, but the Bears are also currently slotted to have the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. There are lots of ways general manager Ryan Poles can work that situation to massively improve the Bears for next year, and that’ll only help Fields.
Rodgers Also Deems Jaylon Johnson a ‘Premier Player’
Fields wasn’t the only Bears player that earned some praise from the four-time MVP in the aftermath of the Packers winning their eighth straight in the rivalry. Rodgers also singled out Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson as a “premier player” in the league and talked up some of the Bears’ younger players stepping up in the secondary as well, such as rookie cornerbacks Jaylon Jones and Josh Blackwell.
“The other young guys played pretty well, so you’ve gotta give them credit,” Rodgers said. “There were multiple times where it felt like, getting out of the pocket, somebody is going to come up in the scramble drills and they locked down our guys, so they definitely deserve some credit for that.”
Of course, Johnson and the rest of the Bears defenders would have liked a better late-game showing against Rodgers and the struggling Packers. Still, for an up-and-coming player like Johnson who is only in his third year, it brings a certain level of validation to his game to hear such high praise from a long-established star like Rodgers.
“I take pride in stuff like that,” Johnson told reporters on December 5. “Getting interceptions isn’t the only way to impact the game. Your peers validate you, not the media, not the outside people looking in.”