Justin Fields is playing like the star quarterback the Chicago Bears hoped for when they made him the 11th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Fields broke Michael Vick's rushing record for a quarterback in a regular-season game Sunday, highlighting how much of a threat he's been on the ground. Fields, possessing both speed and power, has produced his biggest rushing numbers in his last four contests (88, 82, 60, and 178 yards), with three touchdowns to boot. He's on pace - alongside Lamar Jackson - to hit the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
"He's unstoppable in the open field," a general manager told me.
At 23, the former Ohio State quarterback is far more than just a rushing threat. During Sunday's 35-32 loss to the Miami Dolphins, he went 17-for-28 passing with three touchdowns and finished with the third-highest passer rating of his career (106.7). In fact, Fields has recorded a passer rating over 100 in three NFL games, and they've all come in the last five weeks.
"I thought the last few weeks he's found a comfort level," the GM said. "He's made some impressive throws. The strong arm - we knew he had in the draft - but now he's putting it together with some more advanced reads and throws. I thought he made some nice touch throws against Miami and New England. He's so tough for defensive linemen and even linebackers outside the pocket."
The NFC North, by nature, is a rugged, cold-weather division. Having a strong-armed, dual-threat quarterback who can push the ball downfield with his arm and legs is the easiest path to success.
"Better decision-making and improved accuracy (from Fields)," former Jets and Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum told me bluntly.
Chicago's offense has averaged 31.3 points per game over the past three weeks. This comes after scoring just 15.5 points per contest through the first six weeks. With Fields bulldozing defenses on the ground along with the surging Khalil Herbert (his 6.0 yards per rush is third-best among running backs this season), the Bears pace the NFL with 195.4 rushing yards per game. Baltimore is second at 168.1.
But that's not even the most impressive part about Fields.