Justin Fields Injured, Leaves Bears' Loss to Vikings with Right Hand Issue
Chicago — The Chicago Bears suffered a third-quarter loss of quarterback Justin Fields due to a right-hand injury during their 19-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
It's unclear how serious Fields' throwing hand injury is and how long he could be out of commission. Fields' hand X-rays came back negative, according to coach Matt Eberflus at his postgame press conference. On Monday, the quarterback will get an MRI.
Fields dislocated his thumb, according to a Fox Sports story that was published later on Sunday, but he managed to put it back in and try to continue the game. In the end, the report stated, he could not hold onto the football.
Chicago's opening drive of the third quarter ended with Fields being sacked by Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter. Fields dropped back to pass on a third-and-7 play from Minnesota's 48-yard line, hoping to elude pressure as he went towards the visitors' sideline. Fields was sacked by Hunter from behind, and as the quarterback hit the ground, Hunter attempted to flip the ball to running back Darrynton Evans.
Fields broke his fall and landed awkwardly on his right arm.
Fields visited the medical tent and then left, covering his right hand with a towel, and headed back to the locker room. At first, his comeback was deemed dubious, and he was quickly ruled out.
Fields tried to return to the game, according to Eberflus, but he was unable to grasp the ball to toss it. Against Minnesota's forceful blitz, the 25-year-old quarterback completed 6-of-10 throwing for 58 yards and an interception. He also gained 46 yards on eight rushes.
Eberflus reported that he had a brief conversation with Fields following the game.
"I love his attitude," Eberflus remarked. "Coach, let's see where it is tomorrow," he says. He had an optimistic and enthusiastic attitude."
Fields was replaced by freshman Tyson Bagent, who owns the Division II records for the most passing yards (17,034) and total touchdowns (171) as well as the NCAA record for the most touchdown passes (159). He joined the Bears this summer as an undrafted free agent and signed with Chicago in May. On cutdown day, he defeated Browns quarterback PJ Walker for a spot on the starting 53-man roster.
Recently, the Shepherd University graduate was moved up to QB2 on the Bears' depth chart, replacing Nathan Peterman, who started Sunday as Chicago's backup quarterback.
Tyson has our faith," Eberflus declared. "We obviously had him at No. 2 for a reason and we feel strong about that."
Three plays after taking Fields' place, Bagent's NFL regular-season debut was marred by a strip-sack by Vikings safety Josh Metellus. The Vikings led 19–6 after Minnesota linebacker Jordan Hicks recovered Bagent's fumble and raced 46 yards down the home team sideline for a score.
"A little bit of miscommunication, but at the end of the day, I've got to keep two hands on the ball," said Bagent. Protecting the ball is one of my main responsibilities when I'm out there. You have to be more proficient in that area and maintain two hands on the ball."
After three drives, in 4:56, Bagent led the Bears 77 yards downfield and scored a touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak, bringing Minnesota's advantage to 19-13. After completing his previous seven throws, Bagent underthrew Bears wide receiver DJ Moore on Chicago's last possession, giving the team an opportunity to mount a game-winning drive, but the pass was intercepted.
Bagent completed with an interception and 83 yards on 10 of 14 plays.
"I thought he started out, was not great at first, but again that's everybody," remarked Eberflus. "There are 11 men working there. However, I believe that when he calmed down, he rekindled his motivation, and you could clearly see his potential. He was capable of going off schedule. He can get away. There, he produced a few excellent tosses, and his movement is strong. On several of those passes that he made, I felt that his timing was excellent. Thus, in my opinion, he looked good.
If Fields misses time, the Bears have a backup quarterback in place, according to Eberflus. When asked how Bagent at quarterback may change Chicago's offensive identity, Eberflus said he would wait to make any choices until Fields' MRI findings were in.
"We'll check in with Justin," Eberflus remarked. "We'll have to search carefully to determine its identification and figure out how to move the ball down the field while scoring points. That is the most important thing we must accomplish."
Bagent had played in just a few minutes throughout Chicago's three preseason games before Sunday's defeat. Currently, the only quarterback in Division II on a 53-man roster throughout the league is him.
Regarding his frame of mind heading into his Week 7 matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders, Bagent stated, "I'm obviously very confident in myself." "For me, nothing changes. I started getting ready as if I were going to play the entire game from day one. I kind of play the game that way. I prefer to always be aware of what's happening. During this week, not much will truly change. Restart the process and get ready for this week's trip to Vegas."