For those Chicago Bears fans hanging on through this 3-7 season because they at least can watch rookie quarterback Justin Fields’ growth, Sunday’s 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens was like taking a helmet to the gut.
Fields missed most of the second half at Soldier Field after suffering injured ribs, and his status is in question for Thursday’s game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
Bears coach Matt Nagy was typically evasive with his answers about Fields’ injury after the game.
He said he didn’t know if Fields’ ribs are broken, whether the injury happened on one play or was a result of several hits or if there is a chance Fields could recover in time for the Thanksgiving game.
“We’ve just got to see where Justin is at,” Nagy said. “When you’re talking about ribs, you’ve got to find out how much it affects him. We as a staff have to talk through all that.”
Fields’ friend Simeon Kelley posted an Instagram video of Fields lying down after the game and said Fields has a bruised rib.
“Just a little bruised rib, right? No broken?” Kelley said in the video.
“No, sir,” Fields said.
Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported that Fields was getting his spleen checked in addition to his ribs, according to a tweet by NFL reporter Chris Mortensen.
Fields’ final play was a 6-yard run with 12:12 to play in the third quarter. Ravens linebacker Tyus Bowser hit Fields and then pulled him down by his leg. Fields walked to the sideline and spent a couple of minutes talking with Bears training staff before heading into the injury tent and then the locker room.
Andy Dalton, who had taken three offensive snaps in the Bears’ previous seven games, took over in the second half and would start against the Lions if Fields can’t go.
The 11th-year NFL veteran lost his job to Fields earlier this season when he suffered a bone bruise in his left knee in Week 2. After a rocky first start against the Cleveland Browns, Fields played well enough in the Bears’ first meeting with the Lions that Nagy abandoned his plan to have Fields learn behind Dalton.
Nagy named Fields the starter, and Dalton had played only one other series against the Las Vegas Raiders when Fields was briefly injured.
“I’ve been through a lot,” Dalton said after the game Sunday in his first public comments since losing his job to Fields. “There’s a lot that’s gone on from starting the year to the injury to not playing, and it’s one of those things — I lean on my faith. I knew that God had me here in Chicago for a reason.
“Football is part of it. There’s more to it. Being the good teammate, being a guy in the locker room that guys can lean on and staying ready for the next opportunity. And that’s, I feel like, what I’ve done.”
Dalton had more success than Fields did Sunday.
After Fields’ play in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago had fans and media buzzing with excitement, he came out of the bye week and completed just 4 of 11 passes for 79 yards, had four carries for 23 yards and lost a fumble.
One of the Bears’ four first-half drives ended on Cairo Santos’ missed 40-yard field goal. Another ended when Bowser had a strip-sack of Fields and Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell recovered at the Baltimore 34-yard line.
The Ravens had 40 offensive plays to the Bears’ 23 in the first half and possessed the football for more than 10 minutes longer than the Bears as they took a 6-0 halftime lead.
“They’re a good defense and they’re going to present different things to us,” Nagy said. “I think we had 17 plays before the two-minute warning. … Seventeen plays, it’s hard to get in a rhythm, and it starts with that first drive. We got down there and we ended up missing that field goal. But just rhythm-wise, we weren’t getting into that.”
After Fields went to the locker room with his injury, Dalton led the Bears on a two-play, 83-yard touchdown drive. He hit Jimmy Graham with a 23-yard pass, then threw a short pass to Darnell Mooney, who dodged three Ravens defenders to score a 60-yard touchdown for a 7-6 lead.
After the Ravens retook the lead on Justin Tucker’s 46-yard field goal, Dalton led a 10-play, 75-yard drive. On fourth-and-11 with 1:48 to play, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin blew by Ravens cornerback Chris Westry to get wide open for a 49-yard touchdown pass.
After the Ravens took the 16-13 lead, the Bears got the ball back with 22 seconds to go but came up short. Dalton, who finished 11 of 23 for 201 yards and the two touchdowns, said he tried to stay calm and have fun when he entered the game.
“You can’t take any opportunity, any time, for granted,” he said. “That was the thing — just go up there and just have some fun. It was a sweet drive to go two plays and a touchdown.”
Neither Dalton nor Mooney had talked to Fields right after the game, so they couldn’t give an update on how he was doing.
Bears coaches and players will be back at Halas Hall on Monday to prepare for the Lions. Dalton, who stepped in to start nine games with the Dallas Cowboys last season in place of the injured Dak Prescott, said he will prepare in the short week as if he’s going to start.
If Dalton does start, the Bears will be in the hands of a quarterback who has started 144 career games. But they won’t be in the hands of the player who is expected to lead them into the future.
“I’m confident in both quarterbacks, whoever we put in,” Mooney said. “Andy has showed us in practice, in games, that he can hold his ground and do what he can do, and he’s been doing it for a while. So there’s no difference out there.
“We were able to go down there and put some points on the board, and he wasn’t shocked about it or worried. He came in with a lot of confidence, like, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s do what we always do and go out there and score.’ And we scored.”
Source: Berkshire mont