The State of the Chicago Bears Nation took a sudden a dramatic turn in the 2nd quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Running to his right, Andy Dalton landed awkwardly on his left leg and came up from the Bears sideline limping. The NFL is a cruel mistress that can harm any player at any time. Andy Dalton could get hurt at any moment and the Justin Fields era would begin. Well, it happened. Kind of…
Andy hurt what was later described as a bone bruise to his left knee. Justin Fields came in for a couple of plays, but he was stopped on a 4th and 1 that looked like a bad spot from an officiating crew that kept the game ugly all day. After the Bears stopped the Bengals, the offense got the ball back and Andy was once again on the field. He gutted his way to a quick three and out, but on 2nd down he was sacked. Andy’s leg didn’t hold up and while the Bears were punting, Andy headed to the locker room. If the Bears got the ball back before the half, Fields would have once again been in the game. That never happened.
Andy Dalton was unable to return against his former team and with a 7-3 lead Justin Fields was able to lead the Bears to their first victory of the season. Though the stats would never show that. The stats show a bad 6 of 13 for 60 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception. He also added 10 rushing attempts for 31 yards. The stats however do not tell the whole story. It never felt like Fields was out of control. Sure, there were two false starts by the QB but that seemed like rookie nerves. Fields will clean it up. The interception was bad and it almost lead to the Chicago Bears blowing what seemed like an insurmountable 20-3 lead.
Justin Fields’ interception was a clear rookie mistake. Heck, even ten-year vets lose DE’s or OLB’s dropping late into coverage. It was a great call and a great play by Logan Wilson. Fields can learn from this. This wasn’t throwing off his back foot into triple coverage. He read everything right but the Bengals coaching staff had the perfect call. The backer blitzed then backed off right to where Fields hot route was running. That lead to an easy pick and set the Bengals up to attempt an improbable comeback.
Close but no Cigar
Fields did have three throws that just missed being touchdowns. One was a beautiful ball to Allen Robinson who dropped it in the end zone. Another was just off of Darnell Mooney’s fingertips in the end zone, and the third was an Allen Robinson 50/50 ball in the end zone that ARob lost to the Bengal DB.
Sports fans can play what if all day but the fact was Fields looked good even if the stats don’t show it. On top of it, Fields made the play of the game when he tossed away two defenders on a 3rd and 10 to ice the game for the Bears. That is the “special” that Justin Fields brings to the Bears. He can do what only a handful of humans can do on the football field. That play iced the game and the Bears held on.
This game was all about the Bear’s defense. They came ready to play. Both Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn were in Joe Burrow’s face all day. The run defense stifled Joe Mixon and Roquan Smith had a beautiful pick 6 that should have put the game out of reach.
if it weren’t for a poorly played jump ball to Ja’Marr Chase that Kindle Vildor and Eddie Jackson missed, the defense would have had a near-perfect day. This felt like a game where the Bears’ defense would be able to redeem their effort vs. the Rams the week before. The Bear’s defense isn’t great but today they were the reason the Bears got their first win of the season.
Now Comes the Fun
With the Bear’s first victory stored away, the Justin Fields era began on Wednesday after the game. It was revealed that Dalton has a bone bruise on his left knee. Apparently, Dalton was injured enough to miss Week 3 against the Browns because Matt Nagy revealed that Justin Fields will be the starter in Week 3. Nagy also noted that Dalton is still the starter and will be the starter once he is healthy. I can hear millions of Bears fans rolling their eyes from my computer.
Even if the Bears lose on Sunday, I have a feeling Andy Dalton will not be a Bears starting quarterback again unless Justin Fields gets injured. The Fields era has begun and the entire city of Chicago will be buzzing about his first start. The spotlight will not be too big for Fields who has played in the bright lights of the College National Championship.
Fields will make mistakes but what he brings to the field is rare. His Ohio State tape showed a confident, calm, quarterback that can take over a game with his arm or his legs. He will bring an element against the Browns that will remind the Browns of another duel threat player they play twice a year: Lamar Jackson.
The big difference is that Justin Fields is an extremely accurate passer. He was the most accurate deep ball passer in college last year. Fields’ threw a beautifully thrown ball that should have been hauled in by Allen Robinson. If the Browns sleep on Fields, he can burn them in the passing game.
What’s Next for the Chicago Bears?
The game against the Browns will be telling in many ways for the 2021 Bears. The Browns are an excellent benchmark. They are a team that has Super Bowl aspirations. The Browns have a loaded roster from top to bottom. The Browns come into this game a little beat up but they also come in as seven-point favorites.
With Justin Fields getting the start, the betting line barely moved which should tell folks a lot about how Justin Fields is perceived by the sharps. The kid can play. The element of surprise will be one of the few areas the Bears have an advantage.No one has a clue how Justin Fields will perform nor how Matt Nagy will run the offense. That element of the unknown will be an advantage to the Bears going into the game.
There are many questions. Will the Bears defense play like they did against the Browns or the Rams? Can coach Nagy be able to tailor a game plan to Justin Fields’ talents or will he force-feed Fields his offense? Will the Bears offensive line hold up against a fearsome Browns pass rush? Can Justin Fields play cool and calm on the road in the dog pound?
Chicago Bears History in the Making
This game will be fascinating not only for this one game but also as a sign of what the Bears will be in the future. The Future is now in Chicago. Justin Fields is the future of the Chicago Bears. Everyone knew that his time was coming. Well, now it is here.
The Bears have not had a franchise quarterback in 80 years. Justin Fields will hope to break the Chicago Bears dreaded franchise quarterback curse. His first start will be a fun watch and one Bears fans will talk about in 10 years when Justin Fields’ time in Chicago is coming to an end. Let the Fun Begin.