Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) runs for a one-yard touchdown after escaping Detroit Lions defensive end Isaiah Buggs (96) during the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

On Saturday, December 1, 2018, Georgia freshman quarterback Justin Fields was forced into action as the up-back on a punt with 3:04 left in the fourth quarter in the SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Bulldogs faced a fourth-and-11 at the 50 when the snap went to Fields, who was looking to throw, but found no one open. He’d run for a 2-yard gain. Soon thereafter, Alabama would march down the field and Jalen Hurts would score the game winning touchdown in thrilling fashion.

It was the last time Fields would play a football game in the state of Georgia. Until this Sunday afternoon.

Fields, a graduate of Harrison High School, alum of The Ohio State University and a Kennesaw native, will return to The Benz as he leads the Chicago Bears against the 4-6 Atlanta Falcons. 

Fields is undoubtedly playing his best football in the last four weeks. In the last two weeks, Fields has rushed for a combined 325 yards, the highest two-game total by an NFL quarterback, surpassing the 268 two-game total by Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson in 2019.

Fields rushed for 147 yards versus the Lions last week after running for 178 yards against the Dolphins two weeks ago. 

“I get that conditioning, extra work during the game, and then recover during the week and get my body ready to go on Sunday,” Fields said.

“[I’m] just making sure I’m getting as much treatment as I can during the week, doing whatever I can, maybe tapering back. The quarterbacks will run a gasser or two during practice, so I probably won’t do that today just to save my legs for the game this upcoming Sunday.”

In the first six weeks, Fields was sacked 23 times as head coach Matt Eberflus designed game plans to keep him in the pocket. Even though the Bears don’t have a lot of weapons outside of tight end Cole Kmet, Fields is equally dangerous as a runner and a passer.

“He knows how to move the ball around and he knows how to use his legs to make big plays,” Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell said. “We’ve just got to key in on the details and just make sure we attack him the right way and don’t let him loose, keep him contained and not let him get out of the pocket for sure.

The Bears currently lead the NFL in rushing with 201.7 yards per game and are last in passing offense. This week Khalil Herbert was placed on injured reserve with a hip injury, sidelining him for four weeks.

Falcons fans want more production from Pitts; HC Smith says it’s deeper than that

Kyle Pitts puts on a team cap after he was chosen with the fourth overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round of the NFL football draft Thursday April 29, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts has 25 receptions for 313 yards and two touchdowns. He averages 34.8 yards per game, 2.8 receptions per game, and 12.5 yards per catch. The Falcons fans have bombarded social media and the radio shows demanding Desmond Ridder replace the starter, Marcus Mariota. However, Falcons head coach Arthur Smith isn’t having it.

“There’s been a lot of different reasons, some of it’s just timing with the routes,” Smith said in his Monday press conference. “I mean, Pitts has been successful; he doesn’t have the Tyreek Hill numbers everybody — you guys panic and act like it’s some great failure, but Kyle’s had a good season. Certainly, we don’t have a ton of passing attempts either so that’s certainly a part of it but like a lot of things that we do, we can do it better and that’s what we’re looking to do.

“I’d be discouraged if it were one thing where a guy wasn’t necessarily productive, when in man, not just in zone but I don’t think that’s necessarily been the case. There’s a lot of things, sometimes there’s been a comedy of errors, timings sped up, maybe it’s the pressure, maybe the ball comes out quick, you don’t get into a clean pocket, or we have missed him, whatever it is. There’s a lot of different reasons but I’m very confident in both of those guys, especially Kyle.”

Toe meets leather between the Chicago Bears and the Atlanta Falcons Sunday at 1:00 PM inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Falcons are currently a three point favorite. 

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...