NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Not wanting to put starting quarterback Andy Dalton in harm's way on Saturday night, the Chicago Bears named first-round pick Justin Fields their starter for the third and final preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. It was something that Bears fans were excited for, as the former Ohio State star would likely get more reps than he had in the first two exhibition matchups.
Fields and his offense started slow, as two out of their first three drives ended in punts while the other was turned over on downs. With the Bears facing a two-minute drill on their final possession of the first half, Matt Nagy finally opened up the playbook and let his rookie quarterback take a couple of chances downfield. On a 3rd and 6, Fields identified a situation where his tight end Jesper Horsted had a safety beat -- and threw up a pass that resulted in a defensive pass interference penalty. The 20 yards gained from the penalty was the biggest "play" Chicago had recorded all night, and then Fields followed it up with the throw of the game two snaps later.
Fields delivered a touchdown pass on the run -- fitting the ball into a window where only his receiver Horsted could catch it even though he was in double coverage and working in tight space along the sideline. It was a moment where you could feel the eyebrows of everyone in Nissan Stadium rise at once, as it was understood that would certainly be the play of the game.
So, what was that feeling everyone was experiencing on Fields' last throw of the preseason? Horsted simply said that it was the power of Justin Fields.
"That was just kind of an example of the power of Justin Fields," Horsted said after the game. "He's great at extending the play."
"No one else could have caught that ball except maybe my other teammate -- I might have taken it from him I gotta see the film. But it was a great ball, just enough space that I could get both feet in and go out of bounds, but no defender could have gotten that ball."
Following the 27-24 victory over the Titans, coach Nagy spent a considerable amount of time on Fields' touchdown pass in talking to reporters, admitting that the one thing he thinks Fields does a great job with is keeping his eyes downfield. Nagy also said he's come to see just how special his rookie quarterback is outside of the pocket.
"He's done a lot of great things," Nagy said. "So I would say that with our situation with where Andy's at and where he's at that he's done everything he can to make us feel good that if we were to put him in the game or had to put him in the game that he would be fine."
Dalton is going to be the Bears' starting quarterback when Chicago faces the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 12, but one has to wonder when Nagy will make the move for Fields. The young quarterback made a statement about his potential with his final play of the preseason, or at least the kind of "power" he possesses when it comes to making things happen downfield.
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