Teammates and coaches alike praised Fields for his composure and mental toughness in overcoming the poor start and a flooded field that was caused by heavy rain.
“He was able to move all those things aside,” coach Matt Eberflus said Wednesday, “figuring it out how he was going to grip the ball better, how he was going to operate and then figure out the game as the game went on and move the ball down the field.
“That’s what, to me, is outstanding. What an outstanding thing for a young quarterback to have that mental toughness; all of those things going on and to be able to laser-like focus in and get the job done. To me, that was very impressive.”
It certainly was, but the steely resolve that Fields displayed in the face of adversity is nothing new. It’s something the 2021 first-round pick demonstrated at Ohio State.
There’s no better example than the 2019 Big Ten title game against Wisconsin. Trailing 21-7 at halftime, Fields threw three TD passes as the Buckeyes outscored the Badgers 27-0 in the second half, earning a trip to the College Football Playoff with a 34-21 victory.
“I think for the most part, that’s how I’ve always been,” Fields said. “[I] just try to keep that composure because at the end of the day, I know my teammates are looking at me and I’m just trying to be that leader for them. Just show that I’m all right and I’m going to push them to keep going, and if we have a bad play, forget that last play and move on.”
Bears coaches urge Fields and all of his teammates to employ a “next play” mentality.
“We talk about that, and that’s an important piece for him and for every player on our team,” Eberflus said. “You just turn the page. You can only play one play at a time, and you can’t play all of them at once.
“There’s going to be six or seven plays that come in the game that make a difference, and we don’t know when those are. That’s why you have to be focused in every single play. I think that was in his mind, and that’s what he did the whole game.”