Facing the NFL's reigning championship defense on their turf is hard enough. Doing so while receiving inaccurate information makes the task even more daunting. That was apparently what Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields experienced during the first quarter of his team's eventual blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Trailing 7-0 and facing a third-and-5 on his own 40-yard-line, Fields escaped heavy pressure before throwing a deep ball that was intended for Allen Robinson. But Fields' pass was instead picked off by cornerback Dee Delaney. The interception set up the Buccaneers' second touchdown en route to a 38-3 win. Fields said after the game that he was told he had a free play, which was not the case.
"In the headset they were telling me we had 12 men on the field, so I was trying to snap the ball quick," Fields said. "Me snapping the ball quick, I think it caught our receivers off-guard because we were trying to get a flag. Me thinking that we have 12 men on the field, that's a free play. … Of course, you see A-Rob downfield, I think he slips, and then of course the pick."
It was the first of three interceptions on the day for Fields, who threw for 184 yards on 22 of 32 passing. The loss dropped the Bears to 3-4 and a half game behind the Vikings for third place in the AFC North division standings. Chicago is 2-3 since replacing Andy Dalton with Fields, the No. 11 overall pick in the draft. So far, Fields has completed just 57.3 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and six interceptions. The Bears' offense is currently 30th in the NFL in scoring and last in passing and third down efficiency. They are sixth in the league in rushing following Khalil Herbert's 100-yard effort in Sunday's loss to the Buccaneers.
"We've got to continue to work," Fields said. "No matter how many picks I throw, no matter how many L's we take, I'm going to keep going. That's just a fact."
Fields was emotional during his postgame press conference. Part of that emotion was due to the fact that 22-year-old quarterback has never experienced losing at this rate. He enjoyed considerable individual team success at the prep level while playing for Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Georgia. At Ohio State, Fields was 20-2 as a starter while helping lead the Buckeyes to two Big Ten Conference titles, consecutive trips to the College Football Playoff and a win over Clemson in last year's Sugar Bowl.
"It's not really anger," Fields said when asked to explain his emotion. "I've never been in the position where I'm losing. I don't know what to feel. My only reaction to this is to keep working. I'm not angry at all. At the end of the day, it happened. We all have bad days. We can either get depressed, or y'all can get up the next day and go to work. I think that's what our team is going to do and that's what I am going to do."