Justin Fields would probably like to have this one back.
Playing a rivalry game in front of a prime-time audience on Sunday, the second-year quarterback made a miscue that wouldn’t even qualify as a rookie mistake.
With 10:39 left in the second quarter, his Chicago Bears faced a third-and-10 against the Green Bay Packers. Fields took a shotgun snap, scrambled upfield then completed a first-down pass to Equanimeous St. Brown. Except it didn’t count.
The line of scrimmage on the play was Chicago’s 20-yard line. When Fields released his pass, he’d reached the 22. This, of course, is not legal.
Illegal forward passes happen in the NFL, but they’re generally close calls. This most certainly was not. The 5-yard penalty and loss of down resulted in a punt to concluded a three-and-out. The Packers converted on their ensuing possession to extend their lead to 17-7.
Not much is expected of the Bears, who did little this offseason to build around their quarterback. Plays like this don’t help an already long-shot cause.