Devin McCourty had seen this before. The way the Chicago Bears utilized quarterback Justin Fields in a 33-14 win over the Patriots on Sunday night reminded the veteran safety of another QB who had run all over New England’s defense a month prior.
“I think with the extended time, they added some plays that I think we saw in the Baltimore game with Lamar Jackson,” McCourty said, referring to the 10 days between the Bears’ last two games.
Fields said Wednesday the Bears implemented several of Baltimore’s run plays into their game plan against New England, notably the ones drawn up for the former MVP quarterback. Jackson ranks second with 39 designed runs for 390 yards and two TDs.
“He’s just quicker and faster than everybody else,” Fields said. “I’m just hoping to be quick like that one day.”
Using their second-year quarterback in a manner similar to Jackson was the catalyst for Chicago’s highest scoring game with Fields at quarterback. Of Fields’ 14 rushes (a single-game career high) for 82 yards, 10 came on designed runs and yielded 5.6 yards per rush. Fields totaled 13 designed rushes for 28 yards in Weeks 1-6 combined.
Bill Belichick said the Patriots were aware of Fields’ skill set as a runner beyond his ability to scramble and improvise when plays break down. How capable New England’s defense was to stop it proved to be a different story.
“We gave him third-and-long, and it seems like he would just find a running lane and pick it up with his feet or make a throw,” linebacker Matthew Judon said. “I think we kind of had no answers for him.”
The Bears came away from their mini-bye week with a formidable plan for how to incorporate Fields’ most underutilized asset: his legs. Fields was on the move frequently, whether on called runs or plays outside of the pocket. Fields went 6-for-7 for 104 yards throwing on the run, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.