Bears QB Justin Fields throws 3 touchdown passes in 1st half vs. Browns

CLEVELAND — If the Bears’ offense is going to do anything this season, quarterback Justin Fields must rise above his imperfect circumstances.

For the first time this preseason, he showed he’s good enough to do that.

The Bears were looking for some signal from Fields that he’s ready for the season, which opens in two weeks, and he sent it with three touchdown drives before halftime against the Browns on Saturday in the preseason finale.

It got off to a rocky start, and concerns about the offensive line persisted throughout the first half, but Fields delivered nonetheless and exited at halftime after completing 14 of 16 passes for 156 yards with three touchdowns and no turnovers for a 146.9 passer rating.

It was by far his most extensive and impressive work of the preseason.

Pretty much everything that everyone frets about for the Bears flared up on Fields’ second possession, but he pushed through it to lead an 80-yard drive that he stamped with a touchdown on a sharp 22-yard throw to tight end Ryan Griffin.

The pressure was constant, Griffin negated a 24-yard run by David Montgomery with a holding penalty and Fields took a hard shot while sliding at the end of a nine-yard scramble. But Fields made all the right plays to keep the offense moving.

Big gains are nice, and he had several, but it was equally important that Fields was sharp on the more modest, basic plays that essential to a functioning offense.

On a first-and-20 near midfield, he hit Dante Pettis on a quick pass for 14 yards that got the drive back on track. Two plays later, with pressure coming from his left against tackle Braxton Jones and guard Cody Whitehair, Fields held his footing in the pocket and hit Griffin in the end zone as two defenders arrived late.

Even amid the offensive line’s struggles, the overall scheme looked functional. That’s a step forward from where the Bears left off last season under Matt Nagy.

Receivers and running backs often had plenty of space to maneuver on short passes, and tight end Cole Kmet was so open on Fields’ third touchdown pass that he almost came to a complete stop as he watched the ball sailing to him in the end zone.

A big part of that play working so well was Fields drawing the defense in by rolling to his right, then sending the ball over their heads to Kmet. That’s an advantage offensive coordinator Luke Getsy intends to make frequent use of this season.

The Bears got the ball back with 1:20 until halftime, and coach Matt Eberflus sent backup Trevor Siemian in for Fields. The Bears went to halftime up 21-6.

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