For Chicago Bears fans who are hanging on to this season 3-7 because they can at least watch the growth of rookie quarterback Justin Fields, Sunday’s 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens it was like taking a helmet in the guts.
Fields missed most of the second half at Soldier Field after sustaining rib injuries, and his status is in question for Thursday’s game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
Bears coach Matt Nagy was generally evasive in his responses about Fields’ injury after the game.
He said he didn’t know if Fields’ ribs were broken, if the injury had occurred in a game or was the result of multiple hits or if there was any chance Fields could recover at time for the Thanksgiving game.
“We just have to see where Justin is at,” Nagy said. “When you talk about ribs, you have to find out how much it affects you. As staff, we need to talk about all of this. ”
Fields’ friend Simeon Kelley posted a video on Instagram de Fields lying down after the game and Fields has a bruised rib.
“Just a little bruised rib, isn’t it?” Not broken? Kelley said in the video.
‘No, sir,’ Fields said.
Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported that Fields was having his spleen checked in addition to his ribs, according to a tweet from NFL reporter Chris Mortensen.
Fields’ last play was a 6-yard run with 12:12 left in the third quarter. Ravens linebacker Tyus Bowser hit Fields, then pulled him by the leg. Fields went to the sidelines and spent a few minutes chatting with the Bears coaching staff before heading to the injured tent, then into the locker room.
Andy Dalton, who had taken three offensive shots in the Bears’ previous seven games, took over in the second half and would start against the Lions if Fields couldn’t make it.
The 11th-year NFL veteran lost his job to Fields earlier this season when he sustained a bone contusion to his left knee in Week 2. After a Rocky first start against Cleveland Browns, Fields played pretty well in the Bears first meeting with the Lions that Nagy abandoned his plan for Fields to learn behind Dalton.
Nagy named Fields the starter, and Dalton had only played one other series against the Las Vegas Raiders when Fields was briefly injured.
“I’ve been through a lot,” Dalton said after Sunday’s game in his first public comments since losing his job to Fields. “A lot has happened between the start of the year, the injury and not playing, and that’s one of those things – I’m leaning on my faith. I knew God had me here in Chicago for a reason.
“Football is one of them. There is more to it. Being the right teammate, being a guy in the locker room that the guys can lean on and stay ready for the next opportunity. And that’s, I feel like, what I did.
Dalton was more successful than Fields on Sunday.
After Fields play in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers Two weeks ago fans and the media were excited, he came out of the week off 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 practices ended with Cairo Santos’ failed 40-yard field goal. Another ended when Bowser picked up a backpack from Fields-Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell at the Baltimore 34-yard line.
The Ravens made 40 offensive games against the Bears’ 23 in the first half and held 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 us with different things,” Nagy said. “I think we had 17 games before the two minute warning. … Seventeen pieces, it’s hard to find the rhythm, and it starts with this first practice. We went down there and ended up missing this basket. But just in terms of the pace, we weren’t in there.
After Fields made it to the locker room with his injury, Dalton led the Bears on a two-game 83-yard touchdown. He hit Jimmy Graham with a 23-yard pass, then threw a short pass to Darnell Mooney, who dodged three Ravens defensemen to score a 60-yard touchdown for a 7-6 lead.
After the Ravens regained the lead from Justin Tucker’s 46-yard field goal, Dalton led a 75-yard practice in 10 games. In fourth and 11th with 1:48 to go, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin blew up Ravens cornerback Chris Westry to open wide for a 49-yard touchdown pass.
After the Ravens took a 16-13 lead, the Bears recovered the ball with 22 seconds left, but failed. Dalton, who finished 11 of 23 for 201 yards and both touchdowns, said he tried to stay calm and have fun when he entered the game.
“You can’t take any opportunity, anytime, for granted,” he said. “That was the trick – just go up there and have a little fun. It was a good practice to go two games and a touchdown.
Neither Dalton nor Mooney spoke to Fields right after the game, so they couldn’t give an update on his condition.
Bears coaches and players will return to 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 injured Dak Prescott, said he would prepare in the short week as if he was about to start.
If Dalton starts, the Bears will be in the hands of a quarterback who has started 144 career games. But they will not be in the hands of the player who should lead them in the future.
“I’m confident in both quarters no matter who we hire,” Mooney said. “Andy has shown us in training, in games, that he can hang on and do what he can, and he’s been doing it for a while. So there is no difference.
“We were able to go down there and put points on the board, and he wasn’t shocked or worried about that. 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.