LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears will not shut down quarterback Justin Fields for the team’s final two games against Detroit and Minnesota, according to coach Matt Eberflus.
“Absolutely not,” Eberflus said Monday when asked whether the two injuries Fields sustained against Buffalo would put his availability in question.
Fields said Saturday that he hurt his previously injured non-throwing shoulder and had his foot stepped on late in Chicago’s 35-13 loss to the Bills. The quarterback said postgame that he couldn’t bear full weight on his injured foot but expected to be “good to go.”
Regarding his left shoulder, which he injured in Week 11, Fields said doctors and trainers told him it would be a “nagging injury all year” and that he planned to play through it during Chicago’s final two games.
Eberflus reiterated the same Monday.
“He’s good to go,” the Bears coach said. “He’s healthy, he’s ready to go for this week.”
The Bears were eliminated from postseason contention after a Week 13 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Despite riding an eight-game losing streak, Eberflus sees value in Fields playing out the remainder of the season if healthy.
“Because we’ve got to get better,” Eberflus said. “We want to improve. We want to see where we are. These last two games matter. They’re division opponents to us, very important to our football team to see the competition, to see guys compete against our division. I think it’s important for each man, it’s important for each unit and it’s important for our whole football team.”
The Bears currently hold the No. 2 pick in the 2023 draft with a 3-12 record after 16 weeks. Should Houston (2-12-1), which beat Tennessee on Saturday, win one of its final two games and the Bears lose both of their final two, Chicago would jump the Texans in the draft order and earn the No. 1 overall pick.
The value placed on winning Chicago’s final two contests accomplishes a short-term goal of learning how to finish. The Bears are 1-6 in one-score games this season.
It also would accomplish a longer-term objective, according to Eberflus.
“I would see value in that because we have to learn how to finish,” Eberflus said. “We were at the game yesterday, or two days ago, but you saw it, right? It was fourth quarter, eight minutes to go, it was 21-13, we got the ball and we’ve got to learn how to finish . We’ve got to learn how to finish there. I know when it was 21-10, of course then we didn’t get the replay on the fourth down. Right there on the fourth-and-3 decision we went for it , and they called it short. Two plays later we intercepted it and then we ended up getting a field goal out of that drive.
“They’re getting close to really understanding how to finish the game and you finish with game-defining execution. That’s what you finish with. You finish in those moments that the plays when they matter in the fourth quarter, we execute. And to me, these next two games are just about that. Being able to execute in those game-defining moments, those plays that matter and getting it done. And to me, that’s important going forward to the future.”