Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields sported a tiny cut above his left eye when he spoke with reporters late Monday at Gillette Stadium, a gash from being sandwiched between two New England Patriots defenders on a big second-quarter play.
When defensive lineman Deatrich Wise Jr. charged with his hands raised, Fields adjusted his arm angle and slipped a short pass to Khalil Herbert. The running back cruised 25 yards untouched into the end zone to give the Bears a lead they never relinquished in a 33-14 victory.
Fields didn’t see Herbert get into the end zone because Wise and another Patriots defender smashed into him simultaneously, leaving the gash, but he certainly felt the momentum surge that came with it.
The touchdown started a run of 23 unanswered points as the Bears earned their first win against the Patriots in New England in franchise history.
“That was our second time running that play. The first time, the ball got batted down,” Fields said. “The D-end came running free, so I saw him and I kind of pump-faked it and went sidearmed a little bit.
“We work on that in practice, maneuvering the screens around the D-end. It was a great catch and run by Khalil and really a great play call and great execution by everybody.”
Eleven days after expressing frustration about a rough 12-7 loss to the Washington Commanders on “Thursday Night Football,” Fields was in a much different place Monday, caught on camera dancing and smiling during the nationally televised broadcast.
Bears coaches and players made good use of the extra time between games, crafting a strong game plan that featured more designed runs for Fields, including a 3-yard touchdown run that put the Bears up 10-0 in the first quarter.
He had 14 carries for 82 yards and the touchdown and completed 13 of 21 passes for 179 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Fields said he was pleased with the plan coach Matt Eberflus, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and other coaches put together, saying they “brought a whole different element to our offense.”
“It makes our offense more complex, getting us out of the pocket, more designed quarterback runs,” Fields said. “It opens it up a little bit more. So just doing a lot of different things on offense.”
Fields made some impressive throws on the move and scrambles, including a 20-yard scurry on third-and-14 on the Bears’ final drive of the first half to get them to the Patriots 21-yard line. Bears kicker Cairo Santos made his second of four field goals to go into halftime up 20-14. The Bears were 11-for-18 on third downs.
“Every time he does something like that, I’m in awe,” Herbert said. “He’s special, and he continues to show it.”
It was part of a night in which the Bears amassed 243 rushing yards and 390 total yards. Herbert had 12 carries for 62 yards, David Montgomery had 15 carries for 62 yards, and wide receiver Dante Pettis had a 29-yard carry.
The performance was an obvious building block for an offense that less than two weeks earlier was the subject of ridicule for its inability to get in the end zone in three red-zone opportunities in Week 6.
“When you look at what we did with Justin and the run game and designed runs, that was a lot of fun. And then being efficient in the pass game,” tight end Cole Kmet said. “Everyone gets tied up in wanting to throw for 400 yards every game, and obviously that’s really cool. I want that and receivers want that, like, that would be sweet for everybody.
“But at the end of the day, our strengths as a team are being able to run the football. We’ve got a quarterback who can run and run physical, and he’s a tough kid who is able to get up and keep going. And when the passes come, he executes on them. It’s something we can lean into.”
Afterward Eberflus said it was important for his team’s confidence to put together a complete game in front of a national audience. But he and Fields were careful to note there’s more work ahead, especially against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8 on a short week of practice.
“Just the resilience, you know,” Fields said. “Everybody was devastated after the (Commanders) loss, and the way we fought and the way we prepared throughout the week, guys were locked in through meetings, through walk-throughs.
“And pretty much our motto this week was ‘finish everything,’ whether it was in practice … finish the day focused in and locked in on meetings. I’m proud of everybody the way they prepared this week and the way they performed today.”