Oct 10, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) warms up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Bears’ Justin Fields, Panthers’ Stephon Gilmore enter COVID protocol

Quarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears and cornerback Stephon Gilmore of the Carolina Panthers were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday in advance of their teams’ season finales this weekend.

Both the Bears and Panthers have been eliminated from playoff contention in the NFC.

Fields didn’t play in a Week 17 victory over the New York Giants because of an ankle injury, but coach Matt Nagy had said Wednesday that Fields would start this weekend when the Bears (6-10) face the Vikings (7-9) in Minnesota.

The starting job Sunday will fall to veteran Andy Dalton if Fields isn’t released from the protocol before game time.

Fields, the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is 2-8 as a starter. He’s completed just 58.9 percent of his pass attempts for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Gilmore, acquired by the Panthers in a trade with the New England Patriots in October, has played in eight games (three starts) for Carolina. The 31-year-old, a two-time All-Pro, had two interceptions, two passes defensed and 16 tackles on the season.

The Panthers also on Thursday placed rookie wide receiver Shi Smith on the COVID list. He has six catches for 104 yards in six games.

The Panthers (5-11) will end their season Sunday at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4).

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton (14) passes the football in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Bears to start Andy Dalton over Nick Foles in home finale

The Chicago Bears named quarterback Andy Dalton to start in the team’s home finale Sunday against the New York Giants.

Dalton will take over from Nick Foles, who guided the Bears to a 25-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks last week to end a three-game losing streak. Foles had taken over for rookie QB Justin Fields, who was out with an ankle injury.

Dalton started the first two games of the season for the Bears, until he was replaced by Fields. Dalton also started in Weeks 12 and 13. Chicago is 2-2 in Dalton starts this season.

Dalton, 34, has passed for 1,017 yards this season with six touchdowns and six interceptions. He was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list Dec. 23 but did not play last Sunday.

Foles threw for 250 yards with a TD and no interceptions against the Seahawks, making his first appearance this season after starting seven of the nine games he played for the Bears last season.

–Field Level Media

Aug 21, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) walks off the field after the game against the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Bears QB Nick Foles to start Sunday vs. Seahawks

Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles will start Sunday at Seattle, head coach Matt Nagy confirmed Friday.

Justin Fields is dealing with an ankle injury and Nagy said it will be a game-time decision whether the rookie will be Foles’ backup when the Bears (4-10) face the Seahawks (5-9).

Andy Dalton was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday but has been ruled out for Week 16 with injuries to his left hand and groin.

Fields, who missed Weeks 12-13 with cracked ribs, injured his ankle in the second quarter of Monday night’s 17-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. He stayed in the game, passing for 285 yards and one touchdown.

Foles, 32, will be making his 2021 season debut. He went 2-5 as a starter for Chicago last season, completing 64.7 percent of his passes for 1,852 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

The Super Bowl LII MVP with Philadelphia, Foles owns a 28-27 career record with 13,753 passing yards, 81 TDs and 43 picks in 67 games (55 starts) with the Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars and Bears.

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Bears rookie QB Justin Fields to start vs. Packers

Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields received medical clearance and will start Sunday night when Chicago visits the Green Bay Packers.

Head coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday that the Bears have no physical limitations on Fields.

Fields has been sidelined with rib fractures sustained in the Bears’ 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 21.

Andy Dalton started the last two games for the Bears (4-8), who have dropped five of their last six contests heading into Sunday’s road game versus the Packers (9-3).

Fields, 22, has thrown for 1,361 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions in 10 games (eight starts) this season since being selected with the 11th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. He also has rushed for 311 yards and two scores.

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Bears QB Justin Fields (ribs) to remain starter upon return

Injured Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields will remain the starter when he returns from cracked ribs, head coach Matt Nagy said Friday.

Fields was ruled out of Thursday’s game at Detroit and Andy Dalton led the Bears (4-7) to a 16-14 victory to end a five-game losing streak.

A prior NFL Network report said the rookie’s rib fractures were tiny and it was not considered a significant injury.

“When Justin is healthy, he’s the starter,” Nagy said. “It’s pretty simple.”

Fields was injured in last Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Sitting out Thursday’s game gave him 10 days to recover before Chicago’s Dec. 5 date with the Arizona Cardinals.

Fields, 22, has thrown for 1,361 yards with four touchdowns against eight interceptions in 10 games (eight starts) this season. He has rushed for 311 yards and two scores.

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bears QB Justin Fields suffered cracked ribs

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields suffered cracked ribs in last week’s game, NFL Network reported Thursday.

However, the fractures are tiny and not considered major, per the report. Fields was already ruled out for the Thanksgiving Day game against Detroit. Andy Dalton will start against the Lions.

Fields suffered a rib injury in last Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Sitting out Thursday’s game will give him another 10 days to recover before Chicago’s Dec. 5 date with the Arizona Cardinals.

Fields has thrown for 1,361 yards with four touchdowns against eight interceptions in 10 games (eight starts) this season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks (96) reacts after sacking Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (not pictured) during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Bears rule out Akiem Hicks, Justin Fields for Thanksgiving game

The Chicago Bears on Wednesday officially ruled out starting quarterback Justin Fields, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks and running back Damien Williams for Thursday’s game against the Detroit Lions.

Further, wide receiver Allen Robinson (hamstring) is doubtful for the Thanksgiving Day game.

Nick Foles will back up Andy Dalton, who was named the Bears’ starter Tuesday. Rookie Khalil Herbert will back up starting RB David Montgomery with Williams out with a calf injury.

Fields suffered a rib injury in last Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Sitting out the Thanksgiving Day game will give him another 10 days to recover before Chicago’s Dec. 5 date with the Arizona Cardinals.

Hicks also missed the game against the Ravens with an injured ankle. It’ll be his fourth missed game this season.

It could also be the second consecutive missed game for Robinson, who has 30 catches for 339 yards and a touchdown on the season.

The Bears (3-7) are riding a five-game losing streak while the Lions remain winless.

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton (14) passes in the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Bears to start QB Andy Dalton on Thanksgiving

Andy Dalton will start at quarterback for the Chicago Bears on Thursday at Detroit.

Coach Matt Nagy confirmed the news Tuesday but added that rookie Justin Fields will regain the No. 1 job when he is healthy.

Fields suffered a rib injury in Sunday’s 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Sitting out the Thanksgiving Day game will give him another 10 days to recover before Chicago’s Dec. 5 date with the Arizona Cardinals.

Nick Foles likely will serve as the backup Thursday when the reeling Bears (3-7) try to snap their five-game losing streak against the winless Lions (0-9-1).

Dalton, 34, is 1-1 as a starter this season and has completed 48 of 73 passes for 471 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in four games.

Fields, 22, is 2-6 as the starter and has completed 115 of 198 passes for 1,361 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions. The first-round draft pick has also rushed 56 times for 311 yards and two scores.

Foles, 32, has not seen any action this season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) warms up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Bears-Packers rivalry renewed with fresh QB confrontation

Justin Fields versus Aaron Rodgers will be a go on Sunday when the Chicago Bears host the longtime rival Green Bay Packers.

Bears coach Matt Nagy said Fields will be under center for Chicago after the rookie hyperextended his left knee during a Week 5 road victory against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Fields returned to the game after being examined to guide Chicago (3-2) to a win. The Bears are aiming to take control of the NFC North from the Packers (4-1).

Fields knows the tales of Rodgers’ dominance of the Bears and is excited for his opportunity to shift the narrative.

“I’m excited,” Fields said. “Of course Aaron Rodgers is a Hall of Fame quarterback. He’s a great quarterback. He’s been playing since as long as I can remember. I know it’s gonna be a good matchup between him and our defense. Our defense has been playing well. I’m excited to see him play.”

While the Bears long have staked their team identity behind defense, Rodgers often has looked the other way.

The three-time NFL MVP is 20-5 against Chicago in his career with 55 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 107.2 passer rating.

Rodgers was 27-for-39 for 344 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in last week’s 25-22 overtime victory at Cincinnati. He vaulted into fifth place on the NFL’s all-time touchdown passes list while continuing his connection with Davante Adams, who had 11 receptions for a career-best 206 yards.

Will Adams carry any extra motivation into the Chicago game?

“I hate everybody I play against,” he said. “So like I said last week, when I go out there, I try to murder you. They’ll get the same treatment this week.”

For Green Bay and Rodgers, another cast change for Chicago is not a surprise.

Fields is set to become the 20th different Bears quarterback to start against the Packers since 1992.

Green Bay boasts a 44-15 edge against Chicago since 1992 while starting just three quarterbacks in that time — Brett Favre, Brett Hundley and Rodgers.

The Bears have won two straight following an abysmal offensive output in a Week 3 loss at Cleveland.

At Las Vegas, running backs Khalil Herbert and Damien Williams, filling in for the injured David Montgomery, combined to rush for 139 yards, while Cairo Santos connected on two 46-yard field goals in the fourth quarter.

Couple that with a steady D and increasing confidence from Fields, and the Bears feel optimistic about their season trajectory.

“We’re paying complementary football right now,” Bears safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. said. “Offense is doing what they need to do. Defense is playing phenomenal right now. Special teams is coming up big for us right now.”

Green Bay welcomed offensive linemen Elgton Jenkins (ankle) and Josh Myers (finger) back to practice this week.

“We’re going to need them,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “This (Chicago) is a really sound and physically gifted defense. It’s going to be a physical game.”

LaFleur added the Bears are “the best defense we’ll have played” in 2021, lauding the combination of the team’s scheme and personnel.

Green Bay posted 19- and 16-point wins over the Bears last season. The Packers have a 19-4 advantage over Chicago since 2010.

The Packers are 101-95-6 against the Bears — the biggest edge they’ve held against their rival all-time.

–Field Level Media