Sunday afternoon saw the Chicago Bears welcome fans back to Soldier Field for the first time since the 2019 season and everyone got exactly what they wanted: An extended opportunity to watch rookie quarterback Justin Fields. After veteran Andy Dalton injured his knee midway through the second quarter, the Bears were forced to play Fields in a game where the 11th overall pick did just enough to lead Chicago to a victory.
The story of the afternoon revolved around Chicago’s defense, which forced Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow into throwing three interceptions during the second half, breaking the game wide open. The Bears also took advantage of a weak Cincinnati offensive line, sacking Burrow on five different occasions.
Chicago set the tone early, marching down the field on the opening drive, where Dalton connected with wide receiver Allen Robinson for an 11-yard touchdown, putting the Bears on the board first. Running back David Montgomery played an integral role in Chicago moving the chains with 20 carries for 61 yards, including an 11-yard run.Â Despite a victory, the Bears still dropped three potential touchdown passes with Fields in the game. Drops by Robinson and wide receiver Darnell Mooney led to Bears kicker Cairo Santos kicking two fields.
Fields didn’t exactly light up the Bengals’ defense but throughout the afternoon, the 11th overall pick did display poise, accuracy, mobility, and pocket presence, averaging 4.6 yards per pass attempt. Going 6-for-13, Fields had just 60 yards but tacked on 31 rushing yards, scrambling for 10 yards in a third-and-nine situation, giving the Bears a fresh set of downs to set up a Bears victory.
What’s next for the Bears? Chicago will return to practice early this week to prepare for a road matchup against the Cleveland Browns. The biggest question of the week will revolve around the quarterback position for Chicago. If Dalton is healthy, will the Bears coaching staff stick with Fields or go back to the 11-year veteran? Or will head coach Matt Nagy opt to stick with his handpicked quarterback in Fields? We’ll know next week.