CHICAGO – Following a disheartening 20-point loss in the season opener a week ago, the Bears rebounded with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals, 20-17, on Sunday at Soldier Field.
Joe Burrow and the Bengals traveled to Chicago for the first time since 2013. Cincinnati was coming off an overtime victory against the Minnesota Vikings.
Shaw Local Bears reporter Sean Hammond and football analyst Hub Arkush were at Soldier Field providing news and analysis all game long. Find Hammond on Twitter at @sean_hammond and on Instagram at @bears_reporter. Arkush is on Twitter at @Hub_Arkush.
Bears complete 20-17 victory
The Bears held on for a 20-17 victory over the Bengals. Justin Fields and David Montgomery picked up first downs to run out the clock.
Fields finished 6-for-13 passing for 60 yards with an interception. He also ran for 31 yards on 10 carries.
Bengals pick off Fields, cut Bears’ lead to three
Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson intercepted Justin Fields deep inside Bears territory late in the fourth quarter. The Bengals took over at the 7-yard line. QB Joe Burrow needed just one play to find receiver Tee Higgins for a touchdown.
The score cut the Bears’ lead to 20-17 with 3:39 remaining in the game.
Bengals score first touchdown
Bengals QB Joe Burrow found rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase deep for a 42-yard touchdown pass. Two Bears defenders ran into each other on the play, knocking each other down. Chase had an easy walk into the end zone at that point.
The score cut the Bears’ lead to 20-10.
Angelo Blackson grabs Bears’ third interception
The Bears made it three straight possessions with an interception. Linebacker Alec Ogletree disrupted Bengals QB Joe Burrow and tipped a pass, which fell into the hands of Bears defensive tackle Angelo Blackson.
The team’s fourth takeaway of the game led to a Cairo Santos field goal, which gave the Bears a 20-3 advantage.
Johnson makes it back-to-back interceptions
Second-year cornerback Jaylon Johnson finally found his first career interception. Moments after Roquan Smith picked off Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, it was Johnson jumping in front of a receiver for an interception.
The turnover gave the Bears the ball at the Bengals 36-yard line, already holding a 17-3 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Roquan Smith returns pick-six touchdown
Bears linebacker Roquan Smith intercepted a Joe Burrow pass on third-and-3 early in the fourth quarter, returning the interception 53 yards for a touchdown. The play sent Soldier Field into a frenzy and extended the Bears’ lead to 17-3.
The score was Smith’s first career touchdown.
Cairo Santos adds field goal
On third-and-goal, Justin Fields threw a pass intended for Allen Robinson in the end zone that was broken up by Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie.
Bears kicker Cairo Santos made a 28-yard field goal, extending the lead to 10-3. For Santos, it was his 28th consecutive made field goal dating back to last season.
Bears defense comes up with takeaway
The Bears defense found its first turnover when safety Eddie Jackson punched the football from the hands of Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. Bears safety Tashaun Gipson recovered the fumble and ran it back 26 yards, setting up the Bears at the Cincinnati 39-yard line.
Bengals add field goal; Fields remains in game for Dalton
The Bengals drove 43 yards on the first possession of the second half, finally finding the scoreboard after a 53-yard field goal from kicker Evan McPherson. The score narrowed the Bears’ lead to 7-3 with 8:22 remaining in the third quarter.
Rookie quarterback Justin Fields remained in the game to start the third quarter for the Bears’ offense. Veteran Andy Dalton was on the sideline in uniform, but didn’t appear to be going back in the game.
Dalton ‘questionable’ to return to to knee injury
Bears starting quarterback Andy Dalton is questionable to return due to a knee injury, according to an update from the Bears.
After re-entering the game, Dalton played one series, but then left the sideline for the locker room.
Dalton appears to injure leg, returns to game
Quarterback Andy Dalton scrambled to his right for 14 yards in the second quarter, but then went down hard on the Bears’ sideline. Dalton needed to be helped up and walked gingerly on his left leg. He visited the injury tent for a few minutes.
Rookie Justin Fields entered the game in his place, but the Bears’ drive stalled out when a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak from Fields came up short.
Dalton returned to the Bears’ sideline and ran a couple sprints up and down the sideline, testing out his leg. He did return to the game on the Bears’ next possession.
Justin Fields makes an appearance
Rookie quarterback Justin Fields made his first appearance late in the first quarter. He attempted a pass intended for receiver Marquise Goodwin. His second play was a hand off to running back Damien Williams.
The Bears picked up a first down thanks to an illegal use of hands penalty against Cincinnati. Dalton returned to the field for first down.
Robert Quinn sacks Joe Burrow on third down
On Cincinnati’s first possession, the Bears appeared to be off the field after a third-down stop, but safety Tashaun Gipson was penalized for taunting. Gipson appeared to clap in a receiver’s face after an incomplete pass.
The drive wound up not costing the Bears, though, because outside linebacker Robert Quinn came up with a third-down sack a few plays later. With his first sack of the season, Quinn is already only one short of matching his 2020 total.
Bears strike first on an Allen Robinson touchdown
The Bears took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards on nine plays, capping the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andy Dalton to receiver Allen Robinson. The Bears opened up a 7-0 lead over the Bengals.
The drive ate up 5:02 of game time. The Bengals aided the Bears with a defensive pass interference penalty on third-and-12 from the 48-yard line. The penalty set the Bears up in the red zone.
Bears announce Sunday’s inactive players; Eddie Goldman out
Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman was among the players listed as inactive for Sunday’s game. Goldman had been dealing with a knee injury the past two weeks. He practiced one day this week, but sat out practice on Thursday and Friday.
Also inactive and not dressing for Sunday’s game is quarterback Nick Foles, receiver Breshad Perriman, offensive lineman Alex Taylor, tight end Jesper Horsted and outside linebacker Trevis Gipson.
For the Bengals, receiver Trenton Irwin, cornerback Trae Waynes, cornerback Nick McCloud, guard D’Ante Smith, offensive tackle Fred Johnson and defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin are all inactive.
What should I know about the Bengals?
Burrow is back after tearing his ACL in November. The injury cut short his rookie season. Rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase stole the show last week with his 50-yard touchdown. Burrow and Chase were teammates at LSU in college.
Check out our five things to watch in the Bears-Bengals matchup here.
Arkush provided his breakdown of the contest, with his top matchup to watch, biggest coaching decision, X-factor and more. Read Arkush’s full preview here.
How much will Justin Fields play?
Bears rookie QB Justin Fields saw five snaps last week, including his first career rushing touchdown. Don’t expect to see much more of him than that.
Head coach Matt Nagy said there is no snap count goal for Fields. If the game remains close throughout, he could see more than the five snaps he did last week. Nagy said the fact that the Bears were playing from behind limited his chances.
These quick opportunities for Fields are more about presenting the opponent with a different weapon, and less about developing Fields.
“It would be in, that instance, more of strategic for the game,” Nagy said. “But at the same time, you want to try to help him too by getting him some of those snaps.”
What happened to the Bears defense?
The breakdowns were glaring against the Rams. The Bears will have to be better, particularly in the secondary. Matthew Stafford dominated the Bears defense.
The Bengals are going to be a different challenge. The Bears should have a better opportunity to create havoc in the pass rush. Cincinnati’s offensive line is not a sure thing. The Vikings sacked Burrow five times last week.
The Bears believe their issues from Week 1 are fixable. Communication and mental mistakes are fixable.
The Bears officially placed rookie tackle Larry Borom on injured reserve Saturday afternoon. In corresponding moves, they elevated offensive lineman Alex Taylor and defensive lineman Margus Hunt from the practice squad to the active roster.
Starting left tackle Jason Peters is questionable with a quad injury. Peters hurt his quad during last week’s game.
Additionally, defensive tackle Eddie Goldman is “doubtful” for Sunday’s game with a knee injury. Goldman practiced one day this week on Wednesday in a limited capacity, but then did not participate Thursday or Friday in practice.
What else did I miss this week?
Catch up on all the news from Halas Hall this week.