PITTSBURGH — The Steelers faced a unique challenge on Monday night in Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields. While the Bears came into the game not doing a ton of designed quarterback runs, Fields’ mobility and escapability were so dynamic that it made it tough to completely focus on just doing their job. For the offense, however, that dynamic mobility that Fields brings to the table is much appreciated. Even when things in structure break down, he can make things happen.
“His mobility, his ability to create when there’s nothing there, his scrambling ability, we talked about it during the week last week,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “He ran for 100 yards last week. But that was not by designed runs. His ability to escape the pocket and get out on the perimeter, we tried to minimize him going to his right some. He went to his left some and he made some throws while going to his left so you’ve got to compliment him on that.”
Tight end Cole Kmet was the benefactor of Fields’ mobility at times, and so was wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who caught the go-ahead touchdown late in the game, even though the Bears came up short.
The Steelers, for all intents and purposes, have Fields dead to rights. The pocket is collapsing from most sides and they have pursuit angles if he chooses to tuck this and run. To say the least, there are few quarterbacks who can make this throw in the NFL. It is going away from his strong side, and he has no true base. Yet, he can flick it with great shoulder rotation and by keeping his eyes downfield, he finds Mooney in the endzone. For Kmet, it is plays like this that highlight the special player Fields could become.
“We’re still getting the feel for that,” Kmet said. “You know, we are still trying to figure out when he is going to run and when he is going to pass. You know, we have to get comfortable on scramble drills. That just comes with practice and playing time with him. It is pretty impressive when he makes those throws like the one he made to Mooney in the endzone. You know, he’s just going to continue to find voids in the defense.”