- This story originally appeared on NBCSportsChicago.com.
Justin Fields put together his best game as a pro on Monday night, finally playing consistently well for a full 60 minutes. He was accurate to all parts of the field in the passing game, and scrambled for spectacular highlights when other plays fell apart. But the key concept that gave the Bears offense a second gear was an uptick in Fields’ designed runs.
“I thought it brought a whole different element to our offense,” Fields said. “I think we executed that well and there were definitely some explosives in the designed runs.”
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Fields ended the day as the team’s top rusher, accounting for 82 of their 243 rushing yards, and one of their three rushing touchdowns.
The Bears didn’t just call it a day by working in some QB keepers, though. They iterated off of his designed runs by moving the pocket on other pass plays, or adding run-pass options. The various options kept the Patriots defense off balance, and Bill Belichick’s squad uncharacteristically could not find an answer for it throughout the night.
"We knew what his ability was, but once a couple of those (designed runs) started hitting early in the game, you know we could see that was the way the game was going to go," Belichick said. "I would say it was still a surprise, but once it was declared we were definitely playing for it. We didn’t do a great job defending it."
New England Patriots
The Bears used their extra time between last Thursday’s game and this Monday’s game to do some serious self scouting, and part of that evaluation involved taking a hard look at their schemes. Coaches wanted to make sure they were putting their players in the best positions to succeed. Clearly the coaches saw that they could help both Fields and the offense by having him run more, and it worked.
"That’s a big piece, and it’s hard to defend (running QBs),” said Matt Eberflus. "We’ve all seen them around the league and Justin did a nice job of executing today."