LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP)Justin Fields insisted he doesn’t plan to make 1,000-yard rushing seasons a regular occurrence. The single-season record for a quarterback is in sight, and he’ll gladly take it if he can get it.
A day later, coach Matt Eberflus expressed a similar thought.
He’d be thrilled to see Fields break Lamar Jackson’s record for a QB. He’s just not necessarily going to scheme to make it happen.
”I think we’ll just use him the best way we can to win the football game,” Eberflus said Monday. ”So we’ll take a look at it – each individual defense that we face and unit that we face – and then go from there what’s best for our team to win.”
The Bears (3-11) have lost seven in a row and are one shy of matching the franchise record after Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles held them off 25-20 on Sunday. But Fields, at least, reached a milestone.
He ran for 95 yards, giving him exactly 1,000 on the season. The only other quarterbacks to reach that mark are Michael Vick (1,039 in 2016) and Jackson (1,206 yards in 2019 and 1,005 in 2020). If he averages about 70 over the final three games, he will surpass Jackson.
Fields also broke Bobby Douglass’ franchise rushing record for a QB of 968 yards in a 14-game season in 1972.
The run defense. The Bears came in ranked among the worst in the NFL in stopping the run. But they did a decent job against Philadelphia even though Jalen Hurts matched a career high by running for three touchdowns. Chicago held the Eagles to 112 yards rushing – well below its average of 162.2 coming in – and 3.4 per carry.
Pass defense. The Bears made some big plays, intercepting Hurts on two of Philadelphia’s first four possessions, but they also gave up 315 yards passing in the game. The Eagles completed four passes for 29 yards or more, with A.J. Brown hauling in a 68-yarder late in the game to set up the final touchdown even though cornerback Jaylon Johnson was right with him. Brown caught nine passes for a career-high 181 yards, and DeVonta Smith had five receptions for 126 yards.
Fields. The way he has been breaking off big runs, Fields could top Jackson’s record without taking too many hits. He had another one on a second-and-27 in the second quarter against Philadelphia, when he spun out of a sack by Haason Reddick and broke off a 39-yard run to the 9 that led to a touchdown by David Montgomery. Fields is averaging a league-leading 7 yards per carry and ranks seventh overall in rushing. He also has three touchdown runs of 50 yards or more – the most by an NFL quarterback in a season.
WR Velus Jones Jr. Eberflus indicated the rookie might be benched after another costly fumble. This one happened on an end-around in the third quarter after Fields led a touchdown drive to cut it to 17-13 and the defense forced a quick punt. The Bears had the ball in Eagles territory when Jones failed to secure the ball properly. Avonte Maddox forced a fumble and Reddick recovered it for Philadelphia.
”That’s a discussion we have to have as a group,” Eberflus said. ”We’ll look at it during the course of the week and we’ll assess that as we go.”
Jones, a third-round pick from Tennessee, muffed two punts in a three-game span early in the season that contributed to losses against the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders. He lost that job to Dante Pettis. Jones also missed the first three games because of a hamstring injuring.
RG Teven Jenkins (neck) was out of the hospital and seeing specialists Monday, a day after he was carted from the field. Eberflus called the news ”encouraging,” though he had few details about the extent of the injury. He said Jenkins was seeing specialists to ”double-check and cross-check everything.” It was not clear if he will miss the rest of the season. … Eberflus had no update on rookie LB Jack Sanborn (ankle), who left Sunday’s game. … RB Khalil Herbert (hip) is expected to return this week against Buffalo after missing four games.
6 – Fields got sacked six times after going the entire game against Green Bay two weeks earlier without being taken down.
A tough stretch continues for the Bears, with Josh Allen and AFC East-leading Buffalo visiting Saturday. The Bills clinched their fourth consecutive playoff berth.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL