Chicago Bears Quarterback Shooting for Record

At 3-11, the Chicago Bears are in the middle of yet another season of futility, but at least they can comfort themselves with the development of their young franchise passer Justin Fields. Fields has emerged as one of the league's preeminent rushing quarterbacks and even has a shot of making history: he is only 206 yards away from breaking Lamar Jackson's record for most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback. Jackson totalled 1206 rushing yards in his amazing 2019 season, averaging 80.4 yards per game over 15 appearances. Fields has averaged 76.9 rushing yards per game this season over 13 appearances for 1000 yards, but the recently implemented 17-game season should allow Fields to make 16 appearances, giving him a very realistic shot to exceed Jackson's total.

Fields admitting he actually intends to chase the record is a refreshing change of pace for a quarterback, a position that tends to demand over-the-top displays of selflessness and team-first rhetoric. Ordinarily, a quarterback electing to run rather than pass more than absolutely necessary would be a recipe for self-sabotage, but Fields is the rare quarterback who is a significantly more efficient runner than passer. Fields has netted 5.47 net yards per attempt through the air compared to 7.0 on the ground, so he could actually help his team by throwing less.

Fields joined the Bears as their 11th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Despite his thrilling running ability, he has yet to find his footing as a passer in either of his two seasons in the league. The Bears finished 6-11 and passed for the third-fewest yards in the league in 2021, and they've actually regressed this year: their 3-11 record is the worst in the NFC, and they rank 32nd in passing yards, 32nd interception rate, and 32nd in sack rate.
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