LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP)Justin Fields dropped back out of the shotgun and rolled to his left to avoid the pressure even though he had DJ Moore open in the middle.
Instead of a third-down completion early in the third quarter, the Chicago Bears quarterback got sacked by Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter. Worse, he landed awkwardly on his right hand as he tried to flip the ball away.
Moments later, he headed to the locker room with a dislocated thumb.
The Bears went on to lose 19-13 to the Vikings after stopping a 14-game slide the previous week. And now, the question is where they go from here.
Fields will likely miss at least one game, with coach Matt Eberflus saying it’s “doubtful” he plays this week when the Bears (1-5) host the Las Vegas Raiders (3-3). Rookie Tyson Bagent figures to start in his place.
An X-ray showed no fractures. Fields underwent an MRI on Monday, and Eberflus had no timetable for his return.
“It’s really going to come down to grip strength,” Eberflus said. “There’s natural swelling that occurs with this injury. We really should know more at the end of the week.”
He gave similar answers when asked if the MRI showed any structural damage and if Fields would need surgery. The injury adds another wrinkle to the Bears’ long-term decision when it comes to the quarterback position.
Fields is 6-25 as a starter over three years. The Bears have to decide after the season whether to exercise the fifth-year option for 2025.
Fields struggled through the first three games, then delivered two of his best performances as a passer before a rough outing against the Vikings. He was 6 of 10 passing for 58 yards with an interception and was sacked four times.
The defense. The Bears hired former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Phil Snow as a defensive analyst, filling a position created after former defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned last month. But the defense performed well enough against Minnesota. Chicago gave up a season-low 220 yards and held Minnesota to 2 of 13 on third downs.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The pass protection. The Bears were getting better protection in recent weeks from an offensive line that had been short-handed. That changed in a big way against Minnesota.
The Bears simply couldn’t handle Minnesota’s blitzes. The Vikings set the tone on the game’s first play from scrimmage when an unblocked D.J. Wonnum sacked Fields for a 7-yard loss.
Right guard Nate Davis left with a high ankle sprain in the first quarter and will not play this week. C Cody Whitehair seemed to get benched in the third in favor of Lucas Patrick after some erratic snaps. That left Chicago with just two of its originally intended starters this season in left guard Teven Jenkins and rookie right tackle Darnell Wright.
Left tackle Braxton Jones (neck) is eligible to come off injured reserve, though Eberflus had no update on him.
Bagent. The undrafted rookie from Division II Shepherd University in West Virginia becomes a rather important figure with Fields likely out. Bagent completed 10 of 14 passes for 83 yards with an interception in his debut. He got strip-sacked by safety Josh Metellus, leading to a 42-yard touchdown return by Jordan Hicks that made it 19-6. Bagent made it a six-point game with a 1-yard TD run. But he also underthrew Moore on a deep pass that Byron Murphy Jr. picked off with about two minutes remaining.
Fields. The Bears have a big decision looming with the quarterback spot. An extended absence increases the chances of the team moving on from Fields. The Bears could be in a position to draft one of the top quarterbacks, with their own first-round pick as well as Carolina’s. The Panthers (0-6) are the lone winless team.
Eberflus said the injury to Davis – who was hurt when Fields fell on his leg after being hit by Josh Metellus – is “a week-to-week deal.” … CB Terell Smith (mononucleosis) is expected to miss three to four weeks. … S Eddie Jackson aggravated his injured foot in the first quarter and did not return.
10 – The Bears’ home losing streak is at 10 since a Week 3 victory over Houston last season. They are 0-3 at Soldier Field this year.
The Bears find themselves in a familiar spot, trying to rebound from a loss, this time when they host the Raiders on Sunday.
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