Justin Fields was electric on Sunday.
But a costly mistake proved too much to overcome as the Detroit Lions mounted a fourth-quarter rally in a 31-30 win over the Chicago Bears. The Lions posted a 21-point fourth quarter aided by a pick-six from the Bears quarterback in a 31-30 win capped by a go-ahead Jamaal Williams touchdown with 2:21 remaining.
The Bears led 24-10 in the third quarter after touchdowns on three consecutive drives led by Fields. The Lions answered with a D'Andre Swift score before Fields gifted the Lions the game-tying touchdown.
Facing second-and-18 at Chicago's 17-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Fields faced pressure from a pair of Lions defenders and attempted to throw the ball away. Instead, his pass floated into the hands of Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah, who returned the ball 20 yards to the end zone for the game-tying touchdown.
Fields wasn't done, though. He answered his mistake three plays later with a 67-yard run to retake the lead for Chicago. Facing third-and-2 from the Chicago 33-yard line, the Bears called a designed run for Fields, who had torched the Lions defense on the ground all day. He faked a handoff to David Montgomery, then ran through a gap on his right and untouched to the end zone to secure a 30-24 lead.
But Bears kicker Cairos Santos missed the extra point, a second Bears mistake that would prove too much to overcome.
Lions rally for Dan Campbell's first road win
The Bears stopped the Lions on their next possession, but gave the ball right back after a three-and-out. This time, the Lions made them pay. Detroit marched 91 yards in 3:02 highlighted by a 44-yard connection from Jared Goff to Tom Kennedy.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) November 13, 2022
Jamaal Williams capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, and Lions kicker Michael Badgley converted on his extra-point attempt to secure a 31-30 lead.
The Bears had a chance to respond, but Fields took two sacks on Chicago's final possession, including a second-down takedown by rookie Lions star Aidan Hutchinson to set Chicago up with third-and-long.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) November 13, 2022
The win was the first on the road for the Lions under second-year head coach Dan Campbell. The loss for the Bears marked a bitter end to what previously looked like a landmark day for Fields during a breakout second NFL season.
“I can assure you that will never happen again for the rest of my career," Fields said of his pick-6 after the game.
Fields' monster day undone by mistake
Fields accounted for four touchdowns on the day and continued to rewrite the NFL record book with a 147-yard rushing effort. The tally added up to 555 rushing yards in five games from Fields, the most by any quarterback in a five-game span during the Super Bowl era.
Fields scored Chicago's first touchdown much like its last — with a jaw-dropping touchdown run. With the Bears facing third-and-goal in the waning seconds of the first half, Fields took a shotgun snap and looked to Darnell Mooney in the flat. But the Lions had Mooney covered, forcing Fields to improvise.
He pump faked and scrambled to his left, where he faced immediate pressure from Hutchinson. He then reversed field back to his right, where he was met by Detroit defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs, who had him squared up for a sure sack. Except he didn't.
Fields slipped out of Buggs' attempted tackle then pivoted back to his left and toward the goal line, where he dove past cornerback Jerry Jacobs and barreled through safety Deshon Elliott for a touchdown to tie the game at 10-10.
— NFL (@NFL) November 13, 2022
The touchdown personified Fields' season, which has seen him evolve from a disappointing rookie into one of the game's most dynamic weapons. He followed it up with touchdown passes on consecutive drives to open the second half, including a 50-yard pass to Cole Kmet on second-and-1. The Bears tight end found himself wide open and ran untouched into the end zone as the Lions went all in on stopping the run.
The score was a play-action clinic set up by a bruising Chicago ground game that saw the Bears tally 128 first-half rushing yards, 69 of them from Fields.
Fields ended the day completing 12-of-20 passes for 167 yards with two touchdowns. He countered with 147 yards and two touchdowns on the ground on 13 carries. The Lions had few answers for his dynamism, while Chicago's league-leading rushing attack ran up 258 yards on the ground.
But his day was ultimately overshadowed by a mistake. It won't be his last, of course. And it doesn't undo the progress of his breakout campaign. How he responds will prove to be his next opportunity to evolve as an NFL quarterback.