Justin Fields tries to remove a rarity

Bears coach Matt Nagy sees a steady gradual improvement from Justin Fields, but his quarterback may need to increase that rate a bit this week.

After all, they’re up against the World Champions and Fields is playing like the rookie quarterback he is.

“So for us now we want to keep growing, whether it’s a concept, whether it’s something that we do that maybe he didn’t do in Cleveland in that first game,” Nagy said. . “Maybe we can make him grow a little bit there, but I think it takes a little patience and that’s certainly natural. But he’s improving and you see it in training.”

The question for the Bears is whether a rookie quarterback with a 67.4 passer rating and just 6.4 yards per attempt can bring down a team that won the Lombardi Trophy in February, a quarterback in the GOAT, Tom Brady.

It happens. It doesn’t happen often, but it does – the team with the rings loses to a rookie quarterback.

In fact, it happened once to Tom Brady. Great Mid-America Conference rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger beat Brady and the New England Patriots in 2004, 34-20. Brady threw two interceptions, was sacked four times and had a 72.9 passer rating.

Roethlisberger’s victory was not typical of rookie QBs upsetting the defending Super Bowl champions.

Normally something weird happens or sometimes the defending champions have already collapsed to be a punching bag even for newbie QBs.

Almost always, the rookies are supported by excellent defensive play in the upheaval.

Succeeding in the upheaval didn’t mean the rookie quarterback was destined for greatness, like Roethlisberger, unless Max Hall was secretly a strong candidate for Canton.

Since the turn of the century, there have been seven instances where a rookie quarterback has managed to upset the reigning Super Bowl champions. One of those players will be in the stadium Sunday in Tampa, and it’s not Brady.

Here they are:

Byron Leftwich, 2003

The Buccaneers’ current offensive coordinator led the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 17-10 rookie victory over the team he now coaches, except that the ringed head coach then was Jon Gruden. The Buccaneers had just beaten the Raiders in the Super Bowl the year before. Leftwich scored 20 of 34 for 224 yards with two touchdown passes on November 30, 2003.

Ben Roethlisberger, 2004

As mentioned, Roethlisberger beat Brady, scoring 18 of 24 for 196 yards with a pair of touchdowns and a 126.4 passer rating.

Max Hall, 2010

Hall was not only one of the great forgotten stories of the 2010 season, but how the defending champion Saints twice lost to rookie quarterbacks in the most unlikely way remains a big anecdote.

Hall was the nephew of former Cowboys quarterback Danny White and his grandfather was Wizzer White. Hall was a 25-year-old undrafted BYU rookie and on September 10, he led the Cardinals to a 30-20 victory over the Saints. Or rather, he accepted a 30-20 victory. The defense offered him victory. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returned an interception for a touchdown and Kerry Rhodes and Levi Brown returned fumbles for touchdowns, so all Hall had to do was guide the team to three goals from Jay Feely’s field. Hall had 17 of 27 for 168 yards with one interception and four sacks, to beat Drew Brees.

Colt McCoy, 2010

A month and a half later, on October 24, the Saints were again zapped by lightning. Once again, Drew Brees’ offense melted away with turnovers and on his second career start, McCoy only needed to pitch for 74 yards of 9 of 16 with a sack. David Bowens had a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown and a 64-yard intercept return for a touchdown, while Peyton Hillis scored on a 4-yard rush. The Saints were really struggling against inexperienced and indiscriminate passersby after winning the Super Bowl. Later in the season, they were also beaten by Josh Freeman in his second season as a starter.

RG III, 2012

Robert Griffin III led the Redskins to a 17-16 victory over the defending champions Giants on December 3. He threw for 163 yards and ran for 72 yards. They won the game on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Griffin to Pierre Garcon and the extra point from Kai Forbath with 11:31 left.

EJ Manuel, 2013

Manuel beat the Baltimore Ravens with just a passing score of 48.9. He was 10 of 22 for 167 yards with a touchdown and an interception. But the Bills defense intercepted Joe Flacco five times and sacked him four times on September 29, 2013.

Justin Herbert, 2020

The only time in the past eight seasons that a rookie quarterback beat the defending Super Bowl champions was the final game of the 2020 season, but it was somewhat hit and miss as the Chiefs played Chad Henne as the quarterback. with a bunch of subs. They had nothing to gain in the regular season finale. There was nothing sketchy about Herbert’s effort as he was 21 of 31 for 302 yards with three touchdowns and a 134.1 passer rating.

Twitter: BearDigest @ BearsOnMaven

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