INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The official kickoff to the Justin Fields era left you wanting more.
The Chicago Bears’ heralded first-round pick out of Ohio State played five snaps -- periodically subbing for starting quarterback Andy Dalton -- in a brutal 34-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.
The volume of plays may have been small, but Fields made an impact nonetheless.
“It was hard to tell if we knew exactly how many snaps he was going to get, but once you get behind like we did, that's when you get more into the two-minute mode,” Bears coach Matt Nagy explained. “That's probably why there was a little bit less.”
Despite the limited action, Fields had two memorable moments.
The first occurred on Chicago’s opening drive when on second-and-10 from the Rams’ 12-yard line, Fields hit Marquise Goodwin for a nine-yard completion.
Later in the third quarter, Fields again entered the game in the red zone and scored on a read-option from three yards out.
“Basically, I was reading the end, and he froze a little bit, and I thought I could beat him around the edge,” Fields said, “so I just tried to get the ball in the end zone, so pretty simple.
“It was awesome, of course, first career touchdown. I just wanted to celebrate with them. Those guys were excited, Cole Kmet almost ran me over. ”
Fields’ performance -- coupled with David Montgomery’s 108 rushing yards and one touchdown -- were among the few positives for the Bears.
Nagy now faces the delicate task of -- temporarily-- sticking with Dalton while conversely working to expand Fields’ role.
“We know that we're going to do that with Justin so that he feels comfortable and knows exactly what plays he's going in for, and then situationally know how we're going to use him,” Nagy said. “I think that when you go through these situations or these experiences, you have to look at all of that stuff because you want to make sure that you're taking care of both guys the right way.”
The Bears are not about to tip their hand about anything schematically. But rest assured, Fields is likely to play more than five snaps in Chicago’s home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.
The Bears are in scramble mode after their lackluster effort in Los Angeles, and there is no better way to satiate an already edgy fan base than to let Fields play, particularly in the red zone where his dual-threat skills are huge advantages.
“I’m excited to be a part of this team, so however my role plays out I am going to be here for the team, and whatever this team and Coach Nagy need me to do to help us win, I am going to do,” Fields said.