Justin Fields hasn’t had the start to 2022 he probably hoped for. That isn’t entirely his fault. His first game was in a Perfect Storm reenactment. Then he had to go into Green Bay for his second against a secondary littered with 1st round picks and behind an offensive line that can’t consistently protect. That said, a quarterback must take ownership of his play. Fields has to be better than a 69.2 passer rating and less than 100 yards per game.
Now comes the 0-1-1 Houston Texans. People aren’t sure what to make of Lovie Smith’s new team. They’ve played two close games thus far but haven’t looked overly impressive in either of them. It should be a winnable game for the Chicago Bears since they’ll be at home. There are also reasons to think their young quarterback can perform much better than last week.
Justin Fields rarely stacks bad games.
If there is one thing that is consistent with the young Bears quarterback so far in his career, it’s his ability to move on from tough outings. His worst games in 2021 were always followed by significantly better ones. His many deep strikes against Detroit followed his disastrous debut in Cleveland. Then he had that heroic performance against San Francisco after the Buccaneers smothered him the week prior. Fields prides himself on not making the same mistakes twice. It is a safe assumption he will be ready to play in this one.
Houston is vulnerable to the run.
As bad as the Bears defense has been at stopping the run through two weeks, the Texans are in the same boat. They’ve allowed 326 combined rushing yards thus far. David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert just gashed Green Bay for 160 yards on Sunday night. They should be licking their chops for this one. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy likes to run the ball. If it functions as intended against Houston, there will be tons of play action opportunities for Fields. He is dangerous off of play fakes.
The Texans’ interior pass rush isn’t great.
One of the reasons Justin Fields hasn’t passed well thus far is he hasn’t looked comfortable. His pass protection is inconsistent at best. Opponents have been able to squeeze the pocket up the middle. Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw had four pressures in Week 1. Kenny Clark had four by himself in Green Bay. Houston doesn’t have anybody of that caliber. Their entire defensive tackle room had eight pressures in two games. Despite Indianapolis and Denver throwing 81 combined passes against them. There should be cleaner pockets in this game.
Their tackling is bad.
If there is a game on the schedule where the Bears have a chance to get yards after contact, it is this one. Houston has serious issues wrapping up thus far. They’ve missed a total of 27 tackles in two games, by far the worst in the NFL. That is how you allow 867 yards of offense. It is a perfect game for Fields. Not only can he get the ball to guys like Byron Pringle and Cole Kmet, who are solid after the catch, but he is also dangerous as a runner. If Houston commits to keeping him in the pocket, that will leave fewer tacklers to handle others.