Bears Justin Fields Sends Warning to NFL Over Late Hits

Justin Fields, Bears

Getty Javon Hargrave of the Philadelphia Eagles sacks Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears during the third quarter of a game at Soldier Field on December 18, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears and their quarterback Justin Fields aren’t getting the respect they deserve — not from pundits, not from opponents and not from the NFL itself.

Fields on Tuesday, December 20, specifically referenced late hits and the lack of calls he’s receiving from referees as a second-year quarterback who frequently likes to take off and run.

“It’s just been too many times where I have slid and gotten hit too late and I don’t get any flags,” Fields told reporters. “I’m going to be on the refs just looking for a call. When I think it’s a flag, I’m going to ask the ref. On Sunday, he said he didn’t think it was a foul. I’m just going to be begging for those calls and hope that I get one in the near future.”

Notoriously Dirty DT Ndamukong Suh Targeted Fields Sunday

Justin Fields, Bears

GettyQuarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears runs with the ball during the first half of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field on December 18, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

The most recent incident the refs have missed, and the one to which Fields was referring on Tuesday, came in Sunday’s 25-20 defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Newly-signed defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who has long had a reputation as one of the dirtier players in the NFL, smashed into Fields from behind after the quarterback slid following a run. The motion of a slide is supposed to protect signal callers from hits of any kind, as they are surrendering both themselves and further yards on the play. However, that isn’t the way it played out Sunday.

Josh Schrock of NBC Sports posted video of the play in question on Tuesday.

“Here’s the hit from Suh that Fields was referencing,” Schrock tweeted.

Fields Has Earned Respect From NFL Officials After Massive Jump With Bears in 2022

Justin Fields

GettyQuarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears runs with the ball during the first quarter of a game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on November 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Fields is not yet a prolific passer, but there is little arguing that he is one of the most dynamic and dangerous players in the NFL in just his second year under center in Chicago — a status that should earn him more benefit of the doubt from officials than it has this season.

In just 13 games this year, the QB has rushed for 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns on only 143 carries. Fields is just the third signal caller in league history to hit that yardage mark, joining the retired Michael Vick and current Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. The latter owns the single-season rushing record for a QB, putting up 1,206 yards on the ground in 2019.

Fields is in position to break that record, despite missing a game earlier this season with a separated shoulder, by simply hitting his average rushing yards per contest (77) in each of the Bears’ final three outings.

His passing statistics have also improved significantly year-over-year. Fields has increased his completion rate by more than 3 percentage points, bumped his rating by 15 points and has more than doubled his QBR, per Pro Football Reference.

But head coach Matt Eberflus said there’s much more to Fields’ development than what can be seen on the stat sheet, noting a leap in leadership as well.

“Taking control, taking command of the offense, but also seeing him crossing the aisle, so to speak,” Eberflus told reporters Monday. “He’s leading our football team, too. … He’s done a really good job of that, of bringing everyone together.”

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