Unlike the last few Chicago Bears losses, Week 11 felt different. The Bears lost to the Atlanta Falcons, 27-24, in a game that could have long-reaching repercussions.
Quarterback Justin Fields injured his left shoulder during the Bears’ final possession. Coach Matt Eberflus didn’t provide much information about the extent of the injury, opting instead to give a substantive update on Wednesday when more is known about Fields’ condition.
Fields was dynamic again before the injury. He finished Week 11 throwing for 153 yards, running for 85, and scoring two touchdowns. He admitted after the game that he was dealing with cramps in the second half, but overall, he lived up to the expectations his last month or so of play had created.
Fields was in obvious pain after the game, though, and his availability for Week 12 is, at best, unknown.
“I’m just going to take it day by day,” Fields said.
Sunday marked the third game in a row that the Bears had a realistic chance to win in the fourth quarter. An argument can be made that Chicago should have won their last two and that their inability to finish teams late in games is a big reason they currently sit at 3-8.
But none of that matters now. A Bears season that’s been all about the development of their young franchise quarterback has suddenly pivoted to preserving him.
“The pain right now is pretty bad,” Fields said. “Again, I’m just going to take it day by day and see how it feels later in the week.”
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy will come under fire this week for his use of Fields after the star quarterback was injured. Designed quarterback runs and a vulnerable third-down pass play were risks that shouldn’t have been taken, even if the Bears were playing to win the game.
Eberflus said nothing changed from a play-calling standpoint during Chicago’s final possession.
“Luke’s just calling the game like he always does,” Eberflus said. “My communication to him is simple. I’m telling him what the operation of the offense is, meaning, you’re on the ball or I’m calling timeouts, so he knows. Then he rips the call.”
Getsy’s failure to adjust to Justin Fields’ injury may force him to prepare for an offense led by backup QB Trevor Siemian against a stout New York Jets defense next week. Any missed time for Fields is a worst-case scenario for his and the franchise’s development entering 2023.