The Lions are taking on the Bears for the first of two times this season on Sunday.
Head coach Dan Campbell and company have faced quarterback Justin Fields before — but not when he’s been playing like this.
Despite losing to the Dolphins in Week Nine, Fields was the NFC offensive player of the week after he completed 17-of-28 passes for 123 yards with three touchdowns and rushed for 178 yards and a TD.
Since coming back from the mini-bye after a Thursday night loss to the Commanders, the Bears are 2-1. Fields has completed 65 percent of his throws for 453 yards with six touchdowns and an interception. He’s rushed for 320 yards and three TDs, averaging 8.7 yards per carry.
“I feel like you’re watching a little bit of Deshaun Watson in Houston, you’re watching Lamar Jackson, Baltimore. There’s a little bit of Jalen Hurts — just very quarterback driven,” Campbell said in his Wednesday press conference. “Quarterback-driven runs, guard/tackle pulls, read the end, hand it off, these backs are running hard, they’re downhill. And then, there’s enough of the keepers off of it. There’s enough misdirection to the receivers.
“And then, certainly his ability on third down, that’s where they really got Miami was man, there’s a number of third-and-8, third-and-10, third-and — there’s an opening in there and he takes it and he’s gone. And one of them for 60-something yards. So, that’s where he’s very lethal, but it’s very much built around him. So, I think the starting point is obviously 32 [David Montgomery] and 24 [Khalil Herbert]. But then, it’s him because he’s very dangerous.”
So how can the Lions counter that?
“I think you’ve got to use a little bit of everything,” Campbell said. “Really, I think there’s a place to spy, I think there’s a place to pressure, I think there’s a place to really play more coverage and keep everything in front of you and then rally to it. So, I think it’s all-encompassing and a lot of that’ll have to do with third down which will come tonight, tomorrow.
“But I think there’s no easy answer to playing this guy because you see it all over the tape week after week. But it’s certainly something that we’re preaching and it’s the cast the net, close the net.”
The Lions still have the league’s worst defense in yards allowed and points allowed. But after holding the Packers to just nine points last week, we’ll see if Detroit has turned a corner with its performance in Chicago.