While Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears are already out of playoff contention, their Week 18 game against the Green Bay Packers still had postseason implications. The Bears could play spoilers to their rivals’ hopes to extend their campaign beyond the regular season.
However, it wasn’t meant to be, as the Packers wrapped up the seventh and final spot in the 2023 National Football Conference playoffs. Despite the loss, Fields was the center of attention among football fans for an alleged non-call that, in their opinion, should have been a Green Bay penalty.
Bears fans slam game officials for non-penalized hit on Justin Fields
On first-and-10 from the Green Bay Packers’ 48-yard line, Fields found the gap on the right end for a six-yard run. While he could have gotten more yards, he slid to the ground to end the play. However, safety Jonathan Owens flew in to hit Fields, forcing the quarterback’s head to bounce off the ground.
Unfortunately, the game continued without Owens getting a flag for unnecessary roughness. While the officials let that play go, Bears fans couldn’t, as one of them commented on the clip shared by JPAFootball:
“they be letting Justin Fields DIE out there”
Another fan seconded that emotion by saying:
“No love for my boy Fields man just embarrassing”
Here are other reactions to Jonathan Owens getting a free pass after an inconsequential hit on Justin Fields.
A few plays later, Fields checked out as Bears trainers assessed him for a potential concussion. Nathan Peterman entered the game, but the drive resulted in a punt.
After which, the Packers ran out the last six minutes in regulation to seal a 17-9 playoff-clinching victory.
Fields finished the game with 11 completions for 148 passing yards and eight carries for 27 rushing yards. He completed his third NFL season with 2,414 passing yards, 630 rushing yards, 20 total touchdowns (16 passing), and nine interceptions.
The Bears’ 2023 season ends at 7-10, extending their postseason drought to three years.
Will Justin Fields remain the Bears’ starting quarterback next season?
The Chicago Bears‘ offseason activity, especially around the 2024 NFL Draft, will determine Justin Fields’ fate. Chicago has the top overall selection in this year’s draft after the Carolina Panthers clinched the 2023 season’s worst record.
However, the Bears own that pick following last year’s trade that allowed Carolina to select Bryce Young at number one. There’s a possibility the Bears take a quarterback like USC’s Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye with the top pick.
Trading the number one selection in 2024 or announcing a non-quarterback as their top choice indicates that the Bears still believe in Fields’ capability as a potential franchise quarterback.