Comparing the First 6 and Last 6 games of 2023 for Justin Fields

Atlanta Falcons v Chicago Bears
Atlanta Falcons v Chicago Bears / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

All of the chat around Chicago and its tortured, but faithful fanbase surrounds what the Bears should do with the 1st overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

What we fans think will not matter. It will be a decision for Bears GM Ryan Poles, who will need to decide whether Justin Fields projects as a better long-term quarterback prospect than the likes of Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.

Part of his decision-making process will involve evaluating how and if Justin Fields has improved from the start of the season until now.

While we still have a mouth-watering encounter at Lambeau Field to look forward to next weekend, I thought it might be worth looking at the first 6 and last 6 games of the season so far and decide if Justin’s output has improved.

***Disclaimer – I am aware that there is more to a quarterback evaluation than just these stats. I am simply treating them in isolation at the moment***


Let’s start with Fields’ production with the ball in the air.

First 6 Games

Last 6 Games

Passing Yards

1201 Yards

1213 Yards

Yards Per Game



Completion Rate (%)



Passing Attempts



Avg Yards Per Attempt









Passer Rating



If we take the passing statistics on their own, there isn’t a huge difference from the first half of the season to the second half.

Passing yards and yards per game have increased minimally, and this is with 30 more passing attempts in the second half of the season.

Touchdown totals have reduced to less than half of the first six games, but interceptions have also halved.

What do the stats alone tell us? Well that there hasn’t been much of a change in passing output.

It is notable that Fields is throwing the ball a lot more than he was early on, and his interception rate has decreased.  However, if you look at his performance in comparison with the rest of the league, he presents statistically as a very average passing quarterback.


How have things changed with Fields running the ball?

First 6 Games

Last 6 Games

Rushing Yards

237 Yards

393 Yards

Rushing Attempts






Here is where Justin Fields continues to excel.

In the second half of the season, he has attempted to rush 22 more times than earlier in the year, and we can see the fruits of this in the increased total yards and touchdowns.

Only Lamar Jackson has had more rushing yards from the quarterback positions this year.

Clearly, Justin Fields is an elite running quarterback, as can be seen by the stats and from his Houdini-like escapability that we are privileged to witness each and every week.

Increasing his number of rushing attempts in the last 6 weeks has undoubtedly benefited the Chicago Bears.

While wins and losses are not a quarterback stat, it is reasonable to say that the change in how Fields is deployed has contributed to the 4-2 record in the last 6 weeks,vs the 1-5 record in the first 6 weeks.

So what does this comparison of statistics mean?

The answer is that on it’s own it doesn’t mean everything; however, it should absolutely be part of the overall evaluation of Fields’ season thus far.

The reason that I decided to compare these two periods was because Fields went out injured after week 6. He had an opportunity to reset and evaluate his performance, as well as watching the rest of the team improve and return from injuries. This would have given him a rare chance to adjust his game mid-season.

The question that Ryan Poles will need to ask himself is if he feels he can improve the quarterback output by replacing Fields with one of the prospects coming out of the draft.

Looking at Fields passing statistics, he may very well be able to, at the very least, replicate it, while hoping that the likes of Williams or Maye can show more. In that sense, there isn’t a huge risk in moving on.

The more significant loss to consider is Justin Fields’ immense ability to scramble, escape the clutches of oncoming defenders, and outrun everyone on the field with his blistering and electric speed, movement, and elusiveness.

Is displaying the statistics of an average passer combined with elite-level rushing skills enough to take this team to the next level?

Is there room for Justin Fields to get better as a passer, given that he is only in his 3rd year?

Is it too much of a risk to move onto a rookie and start all over again? Is it really starting over given that any incoming rookie quarterback is walking into a much better situation than Fields ever did when he was drafted?

Next. Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles had himself a day. Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles had himself a day. dark

There is a lot to consider for Ryan Poles, I’m not even taking into account any potential coaching changes.

I’m just glad that I’m not having to make that decision.