Justin Fields Won’t Play in Week 18 vs. Vikings
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields won’t play in Week 18 against the Minnesota Vikings after suffering a hip sprain in Week 17’s loss to the Detroit Lions. The team announced the decision on Wednesday, and in his place, Nathan Peterman will take snaps under center for Chicago.
Fields, 23, has taken some major steps forward this season in terms of a playmaker for Chicago. Despite the Bears 3-13 record, Fields has become the third NFL QB to record 1000+ rushing yards in a season (Lamar Jackson twice, Michael Vick). He finishes his year with 1143 rushing yards as well as 8 TDs on the ground.
As a passer, Fields still has much room for improvement, but he set career highs in passing yards, passing TDs, and completion percentage. Overall, Fields completed 60.4% of his passes for 2242 yards, 17 TDs, and 11 INTs.
Protection on the offensive line as well as quality wide receivers remain an issue for the Bears moving into their offseason, though. Fields was sacked a league-leading 55 times this season, tying for the 20th most sacks in a single season in NFL history.
The Bears traded up to the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft in order to select Fields out of Ohio State. They sent the 20th overall pick (Kadarius Toney), 2021 fifth-round pick (No. 164, Jamar Johnson), 2022 first-round pick (No. 7, Evan Neal), and 2022 fourth-round pick (112th overall, Daniel Bellinger) to the New York Giants.
As for Fields’ replacement, Nathan Peterman, he has appeared in two games this season. He’s completed 3-of-6 passes for 25 yards and an interception. Peterman joined the Bears this year after spending 2020 and 2021 with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Prior to that, Peterman spent 2018 and 2019 with the Buffalo Bills where he made all four of his starts. During those seasons with the Bills, he completed 52.3% of his passes for 548 yards, 3 TDs, and a whopping 12 INTs. Overall, the Bills went 1-3 in those starts. In all, Peterman has a career completion percentage of 52.5% with 598 yards, 3 TDs, and 13 INTs.
He goes up against a Minnesota Vikings squad that will be trying to win this game given the possibility that they could still land in the No. 2 seed in the NFC. They need a victory, and the Arizona Cardinals to take down the San Francisco 49ers.
On the other side, it’s not all that surprising that the Bears would sit Fields even if he was healthy. If Chicago loses on Sunday, and the Houston Texans defeat the Indianapolis Colts, then they will be in a spot where they own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Vikings and Bears are scheduled to kick off at 12 PM CST on Sunday, January 8th at Soldier Field for the regular season finale for both teams.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.