The Cleveland Browns face off with the Chicago Bears in Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season. A matchup of two teams with a 1 – 1 record is not expected to be a close game. In Week 2, the Browns didn’t play well and still defeated the Houston Texans by double digits.
The Bears, on the other hand, struggled against the Cincinnati Bengals but were able to take advantage of a Joe Burrow interception for a defensive score. Chicago’s offense has been very limited especially with the lack of explosive plays.
In Week 1, the Bears were run out of the building by the Matthew Stafford-led Los Angeles Rams.
For Week 3, for both the Browns and the Bears, the one thing that matters is the success of rookie quarterback Justin Fields. After being chewed up by Patrick Mahomes and Tyrod Taylor, can the Cleveland defense limit Fields or will his movement skills and deep passing create conflict?
While the move Fields provides a shot of hope for Chicago’s fan base, he has already played in 47 plays this season with limited success. The former Ohio State Buckeye has completed just 53% of his passes with only 70 yards on 15 attempts.
During his 42 snaps in Week 2, Fields completed 46% of his passes on 6 for 13 passing, 60 yards and an interception. He did run the ball 10 times for 31 yards during the game, fumbling once.
Last week, the Browns defense allowed Taylor to complete 10 of his 11 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. Taylor also rushed for a 15-yard touchdown in the first half. Had Taylor been able to finish the game, the outcome may have been in question. His injury created an easy victory with rookie Davis Mills inserted into the lineup.
While the team’s success against a fellow rookie (Mills was 8 for 18 with a TD and INT) could boost Cleveland’s confidence, Fields and Mills were not comparable coming out of college. Fields was thought by many as the second-best quarterback in the entire NFL draft while Davis’ 10 college games had many wondering if he would be drafted in the second or third day of the draft.
At the end of Week 3, for both the Browns and Bears the one thing that will matter is Fields’ performance. Cleveland can win despite a big day from the rookie but will have continued questions about their defense. Chicago could win with a big Fields game but, more importantly, would have confidence in their future at quarterback. A poor game from Fields can buoy the Browns belief in their defense while popping Chicago’s early hope of Fields to step in right away as a hero.