Justin Fields didn't have a great game. But that's no reason to go back to Andy Dalton.
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Good morning, frents!
So I binged a coupla two, tree episodes of Chicago Party Aunt on Netflix over the weekend and enjoyed it immensely. Any cartoon that has jokes about bag fries and Fridge posters on an actual fridge checks out.
Bears 20, Bengals 17
Matt Nagy's not-so-difficult decision
There's no need to make this difficult.
Justin Fields should be the starting quarterback next Sunday in Cleveland, regardless of Andy Dalton's status.
Granted, Matt Nagy may not see it as an easy choice after Sunday's 20-17 win over the Bengals. Dalton's second-quarter knee injury doesn't appear to be severe and Fields didn't exactly light it up in his first substantial playing time. In fact, he made a lot of mistakes.
But exactly what's the point of going backward?
Dalton is a veteran quarterback on an expensive contract who figures into the Bears' post-2021 plans as much as Mitchell Trubisky does.
Fields is the potential future of the franchise and a quarterback who even Nagy admits is ahead of schedule. He needs the opportunity to play and work through the mistakes that come to any new quarterback.
So why wait? The Bears were waiting for an excuse to hand off the reins to the rookie and they got it in just Week 2, awkward situation or not.
"I'm not going to get into any of that," Nagy said when asked by the media if Dalton was still QB1 if healthy.
I have to admit I don't really know what Nagy will do here.
If he wants to revert back to Dalton, Nagy can make a case. Dalton held off any potential frenemies at Soldier Field with an opening TD drive and was 9-for-11 with 56 yards when his injury on a 14-yard scramble forced him from the game. He looked like the productive stopgap Nagy and Ryan Pace have been trying to sell us on.
But Fields also had his moments. Chief among them was a 10-yard scramble to convert a third-and-nine with under three minutes remaining. The run came the series after Fields' threw an awful pick-six that cut what had been a 17-point Bears lead only minutes earlier to just three points.
The run allowed Fields to get into the first of what we hope are many victory formations at Soldier Field and showed that he wasn't shaken by the interception.
Fields' final numbers weren't great and they certainly won't hold up well within the narrow focus of a history book. He went 6-of-13 for 60 yards an interception with another 31 rushing yards on 10 carries. He committed two false start penalties from shotgun and fumbled (but recovered) after being hit from the blind side.
All of the mistakes, though, were teachable moments and easily fixable with more playing time.
(Those final numbers also would've looked better had Allen Robinson held onto the dime that Fields dropped his way in the end zone.)
If Nagy wants the opportunity to start designing 60-minute game plans for Fields, here's his opportunity. That may start the clock on Nagy's audition for his own job, but there's really no sense in delaying the inevitable any longer.
Three more thoughts
- The sooner the Bears resolve the quarterback situation, the sooner we can return the postgame headlines to the most deserving players. On Sunday, that was the Bears defense, which had an incredible bounceback performance with four sacks and four turnovers, including interceptions on three straight passes from Joe Burrow. The future of the unit is in good hands with Roquan Smith and Jaylon Johnson.
- I still have no idea how Roquan found the end zone for the 53-yard pick six. But his tackle-breaking ability and underrated speed will probably get him on the radar of the Pro Bowl voters who snubbed him last year.
- If baseball is finally cool with bat flips, I think football can be ok with a little clapping after a big tackle.
“I don't think I'm pleased with how I played at all. I think there's a lot more in me that I have to show. I know it's not going to happen overnight. I'm just going to keep grinding. No matter what happens, I know I'm meant for this." — Justin Fields
News and results
Sox magic number down to four
The 2005 Sox clinched the division in Detroit and it looks like the 2021 version will be doing the same after Sunday's 7-2 win in Texas dropped the clinching number to four. They'll need a little cooperation from Cleveland, who launch a four-game series against the Royals with a doubleheader today.
Next: Carlos Rodon (12-5, 2.38) vs. Matt Manning (4-6, 5.75)
Patrick Wisdom breaks Cubs rookie homer record
So long, tie with Kris Bryant. Wisdom is now the sole owner of the franchise record for rookie homers after hitting his 27th in the eighth inning of a 6-4 win over Milwaukee. The homer helped the Cubs avoid a sweep and erased — at least a little — the fact that Wisdom struck out four times on both Saturday and Sunday.
Next: The Cubs are off both today and Thursday with a two-game visit from the Twins sandwiched between.
Sky head toward playoffs with win
Sunday's 98-87 win over Indiana didn't mean much. The Sky were already locked into the sixth seed and the Fever showed with only six players becoming just the third team in WNBA history to do so.
The Sky's next game on Thursday, however, means everything. After a 16-16 season, they'll face Dallas at Wintrust in a single-elimination contest. Here's the entire WNBA playoff bracket.
- Notre Dame 27, Purdue 13: Brian Kelly now has as many wins (105) as Knute Rockne. Up next is Wisconsin at Soldier Field on Saturday. ESPN's College Game Day will be in attendance.
- Maryland 20, Illinois 17: Three straight Ls for the 1-3 Illini and the schedule isn't getting any easier. Three of the next four contests are against Purdue, Wisconsin and Penn State.
- Michigan 63, NIU 10: Rocky Lombardi threw for 323 yards at the Big House with Michigan State last year. This year with the Huskies? 46.
- Duke 30, Northwestern 23: RIP Wildcat defense? The team has given up 30+ points in both losses this season.
- Sorry Jim McMahon and Kyle Orton. The Bears' record for rookie passing touchdowns no longer belongs to you after some interesting legwork from our pal Jack Silverstein. Windy City Gridiron
- Zach LaVine is reportedly telling people he's in it for the long haul with the Bulls. NBC Sports Chicago
- Scott Powers shows why Hawks fans should be high on Lukas Reichel after the team's rookie games. Camp opens up on Thursday. The Athletic
- George F. Wendt, the cousin of that George Wendt, died after drowning in a race on Lake Michigan. As Maureen O'Donnell writes, he was a big star in his own right. Sun-Times
- Let's all enjoy the Minnesota radio call of the Vikings' game-losing missed field goal in Arizona. Twitter