Is the 24-14 victory in the first home start for Justin Fields reassuring?
Chicago won the coin toss and scored on their drive. They never looked back. “That definitely sets the tone for the rest of the game,” said Justin Fields. “So I’m just proud of everybody on offense from the O-line to the receivers to the running backs, running hard. I think we all executed today at a high level.”
Fields finished the game connecting on 11 of 17 passes for 209 yards and one interception. The aforementioned offensive line protected their quarterback much better allowing only one Lions sack, compared to the nine given up at Cleveland the week before.
Coach Matt Nagy was effusive in his praise of Fields. “I can’t say it enough, with Justin, bouncing back from last week, what a great job for him to be able to respond to what happened, to learn to get better, that’s what this game is all about. You’re a rookie quarterback in a tough environment, your first start, you come back at home and you bounce back, and he did that. He made great plays, he made great throws, great decision making. His teammates stepped up for him, the defense did, the special teams, his coaches did, and for that I’m proud of him, of all those guys.”
It doesn’t hurt to feast on a winless team when your are trying to fix literally everything that went wrong against the Browns in game three.
Center Sam Mustipher commented, “Our job as an offense when we step on the field is to score touchdowns. And we haven’t done that enough. Coming out and taking the ball and marching down the field is an awesome feeling that got the confidence back rolling after a rough week last week and set the tone for the game.”
Darnell Mooney was one of the beneficiaries of Field’s renewed confidence. The second year wide receiver is rapidly becoming one of Justin’s top targets . On Sunday, he caught five passes for 125 yards, including a 64-yard bomb after a Detroit turnover deep in Chicago territory. “He’s more comfortable, calm,” stated Mooney. “Just being able to get that first one out of the way. Just understanding that it’s not that different. You just got to play regular. Just be yourself and just go out there and play. And he did that today.”
I have to give it to the o-line and the running backs. They helped it out with the run game. When the run game’s going good, the pass game opens up-Darnell Mooney
David Montgomery had another one-hundred yard ground performance, to go along with two touchdowns, including that pivotal first drive. Nagy singled him out as well. “Guys made plays. We got the running game going, and then we were effective in the red zone. David has a knack. He has a knack for the red zone. He shows that. He’s proven that all year long. He’s proven it his whole career. You hang your hat on those O-linemen, those tight ends. Sometimes the O-line always gets all the credit, and they did a hell of a job, but we can’t forget about those tight ends, either, and the way that David runs and Damien and these other guys.”
Robert Quinn had another good game for the defense. He notched five tackles including a sack, and two QB its. “I guess I’m just playing more consistently,” he said. “Yea, a good game. But again, I was talking to someone walking in the tunnel and it was ‘on to next week.’ I guess being in the league so long, you gotta learn that once the clock strikes zero you move on to next week, to what’s in front of you. It was a good start, but we got to have an even better finish.” He humbly conceded a reporter’s question that he has been playing well. He did add,” It’s the consistency factor that we definitely have to work on.”
More from Fields, “My mindset coming into today was just different. I think it was because of last week, how we played, we didn’t play like we wanted to, so my goal was out there to just play better than last weekend. I thought we did that. The O-line did a great job today. They only let up one sack, and that sack was on me, I should have checked the ball down faster than that. But the O-line played great. I’m proud of those guys.”
Next week begins a stretch of three tough games in a row. First to Las Vegas and their new stadium, although it will be a fun field trip for Bears fans. Then Green Bay makes their first visit to Soldier Field this year, and lastly, it’s off to face Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.
So while the Lions were a short term cure for the inept display at Cleveland the week prior, these three games will show how this team measures up to the rest of the NFL elite.