LAKE FOREST – Many die-hard fans will watch even if there’s nothing on the line, but for the casual fan of the Bears, there is a new reason to tune into Sunday’s season finale against the Vikings.
On Wednesday morning, head coach Matt Nagy confirmed that Justin Fields will be the starting quarterback for the team in their season finale at US Bank Stadium.
This will be the first start for Fields since Week 14 against the Vikings, when he suffered an ankle injury but played through it in a 17-9 loss at Soldier Field. Fields was held out of the next two games against the Seahawks and Giants as he continued to work back to health.
“I’m able to walk pain-free now, so that’s good. Of course, running a little bit, too. Last week I wasn’t able to do that without it being pain-free,” said Fields on Wednesday when asked about his ankle. “It just slowly got better, so that’s why I’m playing this game.”
Keeping with the same order which the team has had since Week 5, Andy Dalton will serve as the back-up quarterback with Nick Foles being the third.
It will be one more change for Fields, the Bears’ first round pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, to get some experience during a difficult season. He has started 12 of the 16 games for the Bears this season, officially taking over at the No. 1 quarterback before the Week 5 victory over the Raiders in October.
In a season in which he’s experienced a number of growing pains on a Bears’ offense that overall has continued their struggles over the last few years to find a rhythm, Fields has completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns compared to ten interceptions.
During his last game against the Vikings, Fields was 26-of-39 for 285 yards passing with a touchdown. On that night, the Bears’ offense had no trouble moving the ball down the field but the team went just 1-of-5 in the red zone which led to the defeat.
“I take it day-by-day. That’s pretty much all you can do, really,” said Fields when asked about the last two months in which he’s missed three games due to injury. “There’s so much going on, you just deal with every day as it comes and just go about everything day-to-day and just make the most of today.”