Once Justin Fields began to fully embrace his mobility as a runner, people started to see how lethal he could be as a quarterback. Defenses had nightmares trying to contain him. He broke the single-game record for rushing yards in the regular season with 178 yards, breaking the mark held by Michael Vick. People started making the inevitable comparison between the two. Some weren’t ready to go there. Vick was a special talent in his day. It would take more time before Fields could be put into that category.
Then you see videos like this and realize the comp is 100% justified. One of Vick’s most iconic moments came in 2002. On the day he set the single-game mark of 173 yards, his Atlanta Falcons played the Minnesota Vikings. The two teams battled into overtime. It was there Vick uncorked a highlight for the ages with a 46-yard touchdown to win the game. In an incredible twist of fate, Fields delivered an eerily similar highlight 20 years later against the same exact opponent, going 52 yards for what should’ve been a huge touchdown. Sadly his was called back due to a bogus penalty.
He even follows the same trajectory as Vick, running to his left, going along the sideline, and then cutting back inside before pulling away for the score. Full credit to @brwn_cr33py_ for putting the videos together.
Justin Fields must succeed where Vick failed.
Vick was arguably the greatest running quarterback in NFL history. However, he never achieved the full potential his career promised because he failed to develop fully as a passer. He crossed 3,000 yards passing only twice in 12 seasons and never threw more than 21 touchdowns. Teams learned how to handle his threat as a runner. By the time he finally started understanding how to pass, it was too late. He was in his 30s, and the hits he’d taken earlier in his career had caught up to his body. That is what the Bears must try to avoid.
They’ve leaned on Justin Fields’ mobility this season because they essentially don’t have a choice. Their offensive line and wide receiver positions are undermanned. They need significant talent infusions before contemplating a more robust passing attack. Fields has shown flashes of capability in the pocket. The tools are there. It comes down to trusting his protection and speeding up his processor. Strides were made this season. He must take the next step in 2023.