Fields Named Starting Quarterback For Bears

by Frank T. Slawson, The Chicago Times

October 6, 2021

CHICAGO — Justin Fields, the Chicago Bears‘ first-round draft pick, has been anointed the team’s starting quarterback.

Fields earned his first career victory against the Lions on Sunday, completing 11 of 17 passes for 209 yards.  Andy Dalton has been sidelined since Week 2 due to a bone injury in his left knee.

After trading up nine spots in the draft to take Fields at No. 11, the Bears devised a strategy to develop the former Ohio State star to replace veteran Andy Dalton.  According to head coach Matt Nagy, Fields’ improvement on the field made the decision easier.

Fields has completed 25 of 52 throws for 347 yards and two interceptions, 17 carries, ran 55 yards, and scored 1 touchdown this season.

Time will tell if Fields has the “right stuff” to bring the Bears through a successful season.  Bears face the Raiders next Sunday.

BEARS BACK ON COURSE, BEAT DETROIT, FIELDS ON ROAD TO HALL OF FAME

by Frank T. Slawson, The Chicago Times

October 3, 2021

CHICAGO — Fields and the Bears were in much better shape after a bloody beating  from Cleveland the previous week.  They gained 373 yards after being restricted to 47 yards by the Browns, the ninth-lowest total in league history.

Justin Fields appeared more confident in his second, completing 11 of 17 throws for 209 yards and an interception while Andy Dalton was out with a bone bruise in his left leg.  After being sacked nine times for 67 yards while throwing for only 68 yards the previous week, the No. 11 overall draft pick was only sacked once.

David Montgomery had 106 yards and two touchdowns on the ground before leaving with a knee injury.  He scored on Chicago’s opening two possessions, sprinting in from the 4 and 9 yards out to make it 14-0, but walked off the field early in the fourth quarter after a 5-yard run.

With the Lions, Robert Quinn had a strip-sack deep in Chicago territory.  Khalil Mack added a sack and a fumble recovery for the Bears.

Jared Goff completed 24 of 38 passes for 299 yards.  He connected with Kalif Raymond for a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter and a 25-yarder in the fourth to put the score 24-14.

With about 4 1/2 minutes remaining, the Lions possessed the ball on the Chicago 8.  The Bears stopped Detroit when they chose to go for it on fourth-and-1 rather than shoot a field goal.

The Bears gained 200 yards in the first half and took advantage of two Detroit errors when the Lions drove inside the 10 to take a 14-0 lead.  On the game’s first possession, they marched 75 yards for a touchdown, with Montgomery carrying six times and scoring from the 4 to cap a 12-play drive.

Detroit then advanced to the 8, only to have the threat stop on an odd turnover.  As Goff walked near the line, center Frank Ragnow snapped the ball, which ricocheted off the quarterback and into the hands of Chicago’s Bilal Nickols.

Two snaps later, Fields connected Mooney for a 64-yard throw, and Montgomery scored from the 9 on the first play of the second quarter to make it 14-0.

Instead of kicking a field goal, the Lions chose to go for it on fourth down at the Chicago 5.

In the end zone, the Bears’ Alec Ogletree rejected a ball intended for D’Andre Swift.  Quinn strip-sacked Goff on third down at the 3 and Detroit fumbled again inside the 10.  Mack was able to recover, and the Bears took over at the 23-yard line.  Chicago increased its advantage to 21-0 early in the third quarter when Damien Williams scored from the 4.

Browns Slaughter Bears 26-6

by Frank T. Slawson, The Chicago Times

September 26, 2021

CLEVELAND — As the Browns bloody the Bears 26-6 on Sunday, Myles Garrett set a franchise record with four and a half sacks on Justin Fields, and Cleveland hauled down the rookie quarterback nine times in his first NFL start, restricting him to one net yard throwing.

Garrett dominated Bear’s QB Justin Fields, who was thrown into the starting lineup after veteran Andy Dalton’s knee injury last week.  The Bears (1-2) wanted to wait until the No. 11 overall pick was ready before playing him.

The Browns (2-1) didn’t give him any mercy, and their defense, which had been chastised in the first two games, came together at Fields’ expense and limited Chicago to 47 yards and six first downs.

From the start, the former Ohio State standout was under fire.  He threw for 68 yards on 6 of 20 attempts.  The Bears’ most important offensive play was a pass interference call that resulted in a 48-yard gain and wiped away an interception.

For the Browns, Jadeveon Clowney added two sacks.  Cleveland dominated, outscoring Chicago 418 to 47.

In the fourth quarter, Kareem Hunt scored on a 29-yard run and finished with 155 yards rushing (81) and receiving (74) combined.

Baker Mayfield threw a touchdown pass to Austin Hooper and five passes for 77 yards to star Odell Beckham Jr., who made his first appearance since suffering a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 25.

Mack left the game in the first half with a foot injury and didn’t return until the third quarter.

Despite having the six-time Pro Bowler back on the field, the Bears were unable to stop Hunt from scoring early in the fourth quarter.

Fields was sacked on back-to-back plays and four times in total as Cleveland’s offensive line poured it on.  The Bears had only 14 total yards before gaining another 24 — and their second first down — before punting with 2:54 remaining before halftime.  Chicago’s only bright spot was kicker Cairo Santos, who nailed a pair of field goals and has now converted 31 consecutive field goals.

Bears QB Andy Dalton Could Miss Additional Time Because Of Knee Injury

by Frank T. Slawson, The Chicago Times

September 25, 2021

CHICAGO — Justin Fields will make his first NFL start for the Chicago Bears on Sunday in place of starter Andy Dalton.

Bears quarterback Andy Dalton, 34, was sidelined last Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals with a bone bruise on his left knee and could be out for another week or two.  Dalton suffered no cartilage or ligament damage and will not require surgery, but his return will be determined by how quickly the bone bruise heals.

The Bears have not placed Dalton on injured reserve, which would require him to miss at least three games. 

According to Coach Nagy, Dalton will be the starter for the Bears when he fully heals.  The team entered the season with the intention of sticking with Dalton for as long as possible, giving Fields time to develop during his rookie year.

Fields, the No. 11 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft by Chicago, said Wednesday that he is ready to start Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, emphasizing that he has been “preparing for this moment for a long time.”

After filling in for Dalton, Fields completed 6-of-13 passes for 60 yards and an interception while rushing 10 times for 31 yards against the Bengals last Sunday.

Bears Beat Bengals 20-17

by Frank T. Slawson, The Chicago Times

September 19, 2021

CHICAGO — Justin Fields entered the game in the second half after Andy Dalton left with a knee injury against his former team, and the rookie quarterback led the Bears to a 20-17 victory over Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Roquan Smith returned an interception 53 yards for his first career touchdown, one of three consecutive picks thrown by Burrow during the decisive stretch in Chicago’s first victory of the season.