Justin Fields’s historic season became even more memorable Sunday.
Fields entered today’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles with 905 yards rushing on the season, just 64 yards away from breaking Bobby Douglass’s team record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback. And with 7:39 remaining in the 2nd quarter, Fields ripped off a 39-yard run, breaking Douglass’s club mark.
And with this 39-yard run, Justin Fields has set a new Bears single-season QB rushing record, passing Bobby Douglass's 1972 mark.— Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) December 18, 2022
1. Justin Fields, 2022 — 976 and counting
2. Bobby Douglass, 1972 — 968
Bear Down!@WCGridiron https://t.co/Wxw23BdhmApic.twitter.com/ORYrczxROt
That run put him to 71 yards on the day. He gained 24 more yards on the ground to reach 95, which left him at 1,000 yards on the nose, making him the third quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season — the fourth such season:
- Lamar Jackson, 2019 — 1,206 yards (6.9 y/a, 7 TD, 80.4 ypg)
- Michael Vick, 2006 — 1,039 yards (8.4 y/a, 2 TD, 64.9 ypg)
- Lamar Jackson, 2020 — 1,005 yards (6.3 y/a, 7 TD, 67.0 ypg)
- JUSTIN FIELDS, 2022 — 1,000 yards (7.0 y/a, 8 TD, 76.9 ypg)
Fields entered today’s game 1st among quarterbacks in rushing, and 9th in the NFL overall, meaning he needs just 207 yards to break Jackson’s QB record of 1,206 yards.
“I’m already deep into this year, so I might as well go and get that record,” Fields said today. “I think I need 206 (to tie). Three games left, that’s about 70 yards a game. We’ll see what happens.”
Of the four 1,000-yard QB rush seasons, Fields has the most rushing touchdowns, with 8. With three games to go, Cam Newton’s QB record of 14 rush touchdowns in a season is likely out of reach, but the Chicago Bears QB record for rush TDs in a season is in play: Johnny Lujack set the record in 1950 with 11.
The connection between Fields and Douglass has been explored a lot this season (including from yours truly) and with good reason, as Fields is easily the most dominant and explosive running QB the Bears have had since Douglass, who played recently enough to still be relevant to a generation of Bears fans, and gave an interview to Rick Telander last month to discuss his rushing heir apparent.
But the better comparison for Fields is Lujack. The year before rushing for 11 touchdowns and earning Associated Press first-team All Pro honors, Lujack was the NFL’s dominant passer, leading the league in yards (2,658) and touchdowns (23).
Fields has that kind of potential. While his rushing performance gained the headlines and highlights today, his passing remained efficient and effective: a passer rating of 119.5 with two touchdowns against zero interceptions.
Lujack is the last Bears quarterback to be named first-team All Pro and the last to lead the NFL in either passing yards or passing touchdowns. Now that Fields has passed Douglass for the greatest rushing season for a Bears QB, his sights are set on Lujack, as well as Erik Kramer, whose 29 touchdowns and 3,838 yards in 1995 remain the Bears’ single-season passing records.
He won’t get either of Kramer’s passing marks until next year, but along with shooting for Lujack’s 11 rush TDs this year, there is one more team record that Fields could surpass this season: 30 combined rushing and passing touchdowns, which is shared by Kramer in ‘95 (29 pass, 1 rush) and Jay Cutler in 2014 (28 pass, 2 rush).
Justin Fields 2022 touchdown pass #15!— Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) December 18, 2022
35 yards to Byron Pringle
The Race to Kramer: 14 to tie, 15 to pass.
(The Race to Kramer/Cutler for total QB TDs of 30: 7 to tie, 8 to pass.)@WCGridiron pic.twitter.com/z5pgpfhERG
Jack M Silverstein is Chicago’s sports historian, Bears historian at Windy City Gridiron, and author of the forthcoming “6 Rings: The Bulls, The City, and the Dynasty that Changed the Game.” His newsletter, “A Shot on Ehlo,” brings readers inside the making of the book, with original interviews, research and essays. Sign up now, and say hey at @readjack.