DETROIT -- Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields was feeling the moment. The Bears were going toe-to-toe with the Detroit Lions, the best team in the NFC North, and it was largely because of the explosive plays ripped off by Fields.
Facing third-and-14 from his team's own 40-yard line, Fields demonstrated the type of playmaking the Bears had largely been without in their last four games while he recovered from a dislocated right thumb. He stood in the pocket and scanned downfield, and when he saw no open receivers, Fields took off for a 29-yard gain. After the play, Fields let his emotions wash over with a celebration dance.
"I can't tell you [what that was]," Fields said of his celebration. "Just first thing that popped in my mind."
Fields looked crisp in his return and gave the Bears plenty to consider as they further evaluate their third-year QB. He completed 16 of 23 pass attempts for 169 yards and a touchdown and had a team-high 18 rushes for 104 yards (14 of those 18 attempts were designed runs, a career high and the most by a quarterback in a game this season). Fields finished with a 105.2 passer rating.
That stat line should have been enough for the Bears to win.
According to ESPN Analytics, the Bears had a 98.2% chance to win with 4:15 remaining and a 26-14 lead. But instead of celebrating an upset win in his return, Fields was left wondering how -- for a second time this season -- the Bears blew a double-digit fourth quarter lead which resulted in Detroit walking away with a 31-26 victory.
"I think the offense did a good job of pushing the ball downfield, controlling the ball, forcing long-play drives," Fields said. "Overall, we did good. I think what we've got to get better at is just the situations."
It was the first loss by any team this season when leading by at least 10 points in the final four minutes. Teams were 83-0 in those situations entering Sunday.
But if the top priority was evaluating Fields, the final score didn't dampen the result.
"You always want major production, right?" coach Matt Eberflus said. "But we'll look at the tape and see where he needs to improve and see where everybody needs to improve."
Fields recorded his fifth 100-yard rushing game, which passed Denver's Russell Wilson for the third most by a quarterback in NFL history.
And Fields entered the day with the fourth-highest pressure rate faced in the NFL (37%). When the Lions brought pressure, Fields still delivered, completing 7 of 9 passes for 102 yards and a 39-yard touchdown to wide receiver DJ Moore.
"He had that, 'I'm here. I'm back' mentality,'" Bears receiver Tyler Scott said. "You could see it. Just his confidence running the ball, throwing the ball. He just stepped in like he never left.
"Even after that play where we didn't connect, he came over, he had a smirk on his face. He said, 'Man, we gonna hit it.' And so, that's encouraging for him."
But for as good as Fields looked for over 58 minutes on Sunday, his fumble off a strip-sack made its way out of the back of the end zone for a safety. After not turning the ball over all game, the moment that squandered the Bears last chance at a comeback was a teaching point for the 24-year-old but should not overshadow the strides he showed in his return.
"If I'm keeping it real with y'all, we should've won that game," Fields said. "It just comes down to finishing and executing at the end of the game."