Bears head coach Matt Nagy announced Wednesday that rookie quarterback Justin Fields will start Sunday’s game against the Browns in Cleveland with Andy Dalton still dealing with a knee injury that forced him to leave the team’s Week 2 game against Cincinnati.
“It’s unfortunate for Andy because Andy was really playing well there at the beginning part of that game,” Nagy said. “Andy’s a very tough player and a team guy. I know he’s been really supportive here moving forward with Justin.
“But there is excitement. Justin’s a guy (that) prepares well. This is going to be his first time to truly prepare as the starter and see what it’s like every single day to do that stuff mentally and then physically in practice.”
Nagy said Dalton is not expected to be placed on injured reserve and remains the team’s starter when healthy. He declined to say if the Bears would reconsider if Fields plays well during Dalton’s absence.
“I’ve talked about it this entire time, we’re not going to get into that what-if game,” Nagy said.
Dalton got off to a hot start Sunday against the Bengals, leading the Bears on a nine-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by Allen Robinson’s 11-yard touchdown reception.
Dalton continued to play well in the first half but came up injured after scrambling out of bounds for a 14-yard gain in the second quarter. Dalton briefly returned for one series late in the first half, but Fields played the entire second half.
Fields’ first extensive game action came with some highlights and several rookie mistakes. He finished 6-of-13 passing for 60 yards and added 10 carries for 31 yards. Fields fumbled once and also threw one interception; though, his final stat line would have looked better if not for a Robinson drop in the end zone that should have gone for a 38-yard touchdown.