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Justin Fields, offense shine in preseason finale | Game Recap

Bears quarterback Justin Fields celebrates with receiver Dante Pettis following their 12-yard touchdown connection vs. the Browns
Bears quarterback Justin Fields celebrates with receiver Dante Pettis following their 12-yard touchdown connection vs. the Browns

Quarterback Justin Fields and the first-team offense put on a show Saturday in Cleveland, scoring 21 straight points and leading the Bears to a 21-20 win over the Browns.

Fields put together an impressive individual performance, completing 14 of 16 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. He earned a rating of 146.9 in his longest outing of the preseason—Fields and the first-team offense were on the field for 29 plays—and completed passes to 10 different players through five drives.

Fields said he had a good feeling and confidence going into the game, and was excited to see his unit's turning point in learning and executing the offense.

"I think it's just execution on all parts," Fields said. "I think the o-line did a great job protecting today, I told them that multiple times. The receivers did a great job with scramble drill just running the right routes, the right depth and stuff like that. So again just protection-wise, running the football and that'll open everything up with our play-action and bootleg plays.

Fields threw his first touchdown of the preseason, connecting with tight end Ryan Griffin on a corner route for 22 yards and the score. Fields was perfect on the 7-play, 80-yard drive, completing five passes for 55 yards to put the Bears up 7-0.

The second-year quarterback showed off his versatility, completing passes to five different players on the drive and rushing for a first down.

"I just think [Fields] is getting better," coach Matt Eberflus said. "Like I said the other day, he's a young player, he needs experience. I think this was game-like experience for him that he needed to have. He took a big step forward for him and for our football team just getting comfortable, operating the offense and doing his thing. I thought he did that tonight."

On the subsequent possession, the Browns' Cade York missed a 58-yard field goal attempt, giving the Bears the ball at their own 48. Fields quickly moved the offense down the field with an 18-yard completion to receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, then David Montgomery picked up 13 yards to get in the red zone. Fields capped off the 5-play, 52-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to receiver Dante Pettis, extending the Bears' lead to 14-0 with 13:49 left in the half.

The Bears defense created the first takeaway of the night as Greg Stroman Jr. intercepted Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett at Chicago's 38, setting up another scoring opportunity for the offense.

Fields then commanded his third and final touchdown drive, capping it off by extending a play with his legs then throwing 24 yards to a wide-open Cole Kmet in the right corner of the end zone. The quarterback once again completed 5 of 5 passes on the 8-play, 62-yard drive. Kicker Cairo Santosthen hit his third extra point, giving the Bears a 21-0 lead with 3:35 remaining in the first half.

"We're excited where Cole is," Eberflus said. "Cole had another good game this game, so we're excited about where he is. He's been practicing his tail off, so he's been working hard, he's been blocking at the point. Obviously, he's catching the ball well in the open field and running after the catch. So he's been doing some nice things. We're pleased [with] where he is."

In the final two minutes of the second quarter, York connected on fields goals of 57 and 46 yards to cut the Bears' lead to 21-6.

Montgomery saw his first playing time of the preseason Saturday, rushing for 28 yards on 9 carries. Pettis earned the most targets with the first-team offense, catching 3 of 4 passes for 37 yards. Kmet caught all three targets for 36 yards.

The Bears first-team offensive line remained the same as left tackle Braxton Jones, left guard Cody Whitehair, center Sam Mustipher, right guard Teven Jenkins and right tackle Larry Borom all started for a second consecutive game.

"Just good operation overall," Eberflus said of the offense. "We ran the ball solid; I thought the play-action was nice. The boots and waggles were good, we took the completions there. And then we did a nice job of handling, we got the takeaway and we scored. That's complementary football. Then we end up giving the ball away. We end up stopping them and holding them to three points. That was a good swing of four points there for us and that was probably what happened for the ball game, so that was nice."

The Browns rallied with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to get within a single point at 21-20, but the Bears stopped Cleveland's two-point conversion attempt with 2:31 remaining to preserve the win.

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