After sluggish start, Justin Fields leads two touchdown drives in Chicago Bears debut

CHICAGO -- Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields reminded everyone on Saturday that it's not how you start, it's how you finish.

Fields, the 11th overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft, entered his first preseason game against the Miami Dolphins in the second quarter to thunderous applause at Soldier Field. But he mostly struggled to find a rhythm until the end of the half, when he and the offense moved the football enough for Chicago to kick a long field goal as time expired.

"I was calm as could be today," Fields said.

Fields flipped the switch at halftime and led Chicago on a 77-yard scoring drive to open the third quarter that he capped off with an 8-yard touchdown run. On the play, Fields showcased both his strength and speed, fighting off a Dolphins defender before leaving the pocket and going virtually untouched until he crossed the goal line.

"It was awesome," Fields said. "Definitely a dream come true, first NFL touchdown and have my teammates celebrate, it was a nice moment."

He later found tight end Jesse James wide open for a 30-yard touchdown strike, the final touchdown in a 20-13 Bears win.

"I thought that Justin did a great job of worrying about today and he played smart football," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "He made plays, and again like what you just said, it is preseason, and we all understand that there's variables involved in all that. But at the same time, if you go back and look, is he doing what you want him to do, absolutely."

Fields -- the No. 2 quarterback behind veteran Andy Dalton, who played two series Saturday -- finished 14-of-20 for 142 passing yards and one touchdown along with five rushes for 33 yards and one touchdown.

"Everybody here is super excited about the way that he played today," Nagy added. "You know, we all want the same thing. We understand the buzz. We understand the excitement. That's why we drafted him you know what I mean. That's why we drafted him.

"We want to make sure that we continue to go through this thing and we understand the process and this is one game that he came in here and now the beautiful thing is we get to get more practices in and get to see how he comes back next week, you know, against Buffalo and he's going to have another chance."