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Bears Bulletin

Justin Fields ruled out of Bears' season finale

Bears quarterback Justin Fields
Bears quarterback Justin Fields

Bears quarterback Justin Fields will not play in Sunday's season finale against the Vikings due to a strained hip, coach Matt Eberflus said Wednesday.

Eberflus added that Fields will be replaced by veteran Nathan Peterman.

Fields sustained the injury in the first half of last Sunday's loss to the Lions but played the rest of the game. The second-year pro was experiencing soreness in his hip Monday and was sent to take an MRI exam, which showed the strain.

"He's not going to be at full strength this week and the medical staff has ruled him out for this week," Eberflus said. "This is not a long-term injury."

Eberflus was asked if Fields' status would be the same if the Bears were preparing for a playoff game this weekend.

"Yes, it would be the same," Eberflus said. "Like I said, it's not long-term. He's just not able to go full speed. I asked him how it was today, and he said it's still real sore."

Fields told reporters after last Sunday's game in Detroit that he sustained the injury on "a roll-out play, and I kind of got tackled weird, too, where my hip got kind of twisted up. I felt fine afterwards, just got it stretched out and worked on a little bit."

Fields started 15 games this season, rushing for 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns on 160 carries and passing for 2,242 yards with 17 TDs, 11 interceptions and an 85.2 passer rating. His 1,143 yards rushing are the second most in NFL history by a quarterback behind only the Ravens' Lamar Jackson's 1,206 yards in 2019.

Fields also set a single game record for rushing yards by an NFL quarterback with 178 Nov. 6 against the Dolphins. In addition, he became the first quarterback with three TD runs of at least 50 yards, the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era with a rushing TD in six straight games and the first quarterback to rush for at least 70 yards in five consecutive contests since at least 1950.

Fields made strides as a passer as well, especially during a stretch of seven starts from Oct. 30-Dec. 24 when he posted passer ratings of 120.0, 106.7, 99.4, 119.5 and 92.5.

"You could see where he improved," Eberflus said. "The scoring offense was hitting on all cylinders midway or a little past that. He had a lot of lineup changes with the receivers and the offensive line and the running back going out and all those things."

Asked about the areas he'd like Fields to focus on in the pass game in 2023, Eberflus said: "Just much of what I've said over the course of the season: just the rhythm and timing of it, being able to ride the pocket and deliver the ball down the field. But there's a lot of nuances to that. There's a lot of detail to that."

Peterman, meanwhile, will make the fifth start of his six-year NFL career and his first since Nov. 4, 2018, when he played for the Bills against the Bears in Buffalo. He has made brief appearances in two games this season, completing 3 of 6 passes for 25 yards with one interception on a Hail Mary on the final play in a Dec. 24 loss to the Bills.

Peterman, who was informed he would start Wednesday morning, is "extremely confident" heading into Sunday's game at Soldier Field.

"You're always preparing to be the starter and they said, 'hey, we're going to go with you,'" Peterman said. "I'm excited. It's been a little bit. [It will] just be great to get out there with the guys and play some football, have some fun."

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