Matt Nagy’s game-time decision came a bit early.
The Chicago Bears officially named Justin Fields their starting quarterback for Sunday’s NFC North matchup against the Detroit Lions.
The news came as the Bears downgraded usual starting quarterback Andy Dalton to doubtful while he’s still dealing with a knee injury.
#Bears injury update:
We have downgraded QB Andy Dalton (knee) to Doubtful for Sunday’s game. QB Justin Fields will start vs. the Lions.
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) October 2, 2021
Can Justin Fields redeem himself after tough first start?
Fields’ first NFL start did not go great last week in Cleveland.
Fields got the start in Week 3 after Dalton was sidelined after taking an awkward fall and injuring his knee the week before against the Bengals.
The rookie was sacked nine times against the Browns and went just 6-of-20 through the air for 68 yards. The team had just 47 offensive yards, and fell 26-6.
Nagy drew plenty of criticism after the loss for numerous reasons, including for not calling a better offensive game that would have fit Fields’ style of play. Nagy defended the team on Friday, however, and said that “we know what we’re doing."
“Where I’m at is inside,” Nagy said, via ESPN’s Kimberley Martin. “I’m inside this building with these guys … I’m in a really good place. Eager to get back out there … and get back on track.”
Fields will get his chance at redemption at Soldier Field on Sunday, where the Bears are listed as -3 favorites on BetMGM against the winless Lions. While he knows his first start wasn’t good, Fields said he feels a lot more relaxed in that role.
"This week's practice compared to last week's practice, I felt just more comfortable at practice just kind of getting that under my belt and getting kind of past that," he said, via ESPN. "Last week, you really can't get worse than that. I mean, I hope not. But I felt comfortable this week."
Yet when the time comes and Dalton is fully healthy, it sounds like the starting job is still his.
“It means a lot,” Dalton said about still having the starting job, via NBC Sports Chicago’s Adam Hoge. “I feel like that’s what I was told when I first got here and obviously a lot can change … but it just shows the confidence that they have in me and what I can bring and what I can do for this team.”