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Injury Update: Dalton to start in place of Fields

Bears QB Justin Fields

With rookie quarterback Justin Fields still on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Bears coach Matt Nagy announced Friday that Andy Dalton will start Sunday's season finale in Minnesota, with Nick Foles serving as the backup.

The Bears were planning to start Fields against the Vikings. After missing two games with an ankle injury, the first-round pick had returned to practice Wednesday without limitations. But he was placed on the COVID list Thursday.

"You can't predict any of these COVID situations," Nagy said. "It's what we're all dealing with right now, everywhere. Finding out when we did with Justin, it's a part of this deal. Justin was super eager to get out [and play]. He had a great day of practice, and this is a part of how it goes. So, we've just got to be able to react to it, and that's why we feel good about having Andy and Nick here."

There's a slim chance that Fields could be removed from the COVID list before kickoff Sunday—if he's asymptomatic and receives multiple negative test results. But even if that's the case, it's unlikely the rookie would play against the Vikings after missing practice Thursday and Friday.

"We've discussed that," Nagy said. "I think the odds of that happening, I don't know where that stands. We would discuss where that's at and how that would go. But right now, the big thing is getting the practice reps. I think that's the biggest thing the last two days; not having them would probably prevent that from happening."

It appears that Fields' rookie season will end with him having played in 12 games with 10 starts and completing 58.9 percent of his passes for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 73.2 passer rating. He also rushed for 420 yards and two TDs on 72 carries, was sacked 36 times and lost four of 12 fumbles.

It seemed as if Fields was ready to ascend after passing for a career-high 291 yards Nov. 8 in a Monday Night Football game in Pittsburgh. He helped the Bears erase a 20-6 fourth-quarter deficit and take a 27-26 lead with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney with just 1:46 remaining. But the Steelers rallied for a 29-27 victory.

In the Bears' next game against the Ravens, Fields sustained cracked ribs that forced him to miss the following two contests. He returned versus the Packers, but then sustained an ankle injury a week later against the Vikings that sidelined him again.

The injuries and COVID have prevented Fields from having more opportunities to grow.

"When you go back to that night in Pittsburgh," Nagy said, "I'll always remember that being a moment right then and there for a long time of like, 'I told you,' where he just kind of looked at me and just smiled like, 'Get ready to watch what's going to happen.' And then for that to happen, I do feel like that was growth up until that point and we're taking off. And then you end up having some injuries, and now recently here with COVID.

"The good thing for Justin is that he has developed. He's gotten better. He's improved. He knows that he can improve and is going to continue to keep improving. But that's just how it goes. It would have been interesting to keep it consistent, but that's not the way it went, and fortunately we have Andy and Nick there to protect us in this situation."

In other injury news Friday, the Bears ruled defensive tackle Akiem Hicks out of Sunday's season finale with an ankle injury that prevented him from practicing this week. He's been dealing with the injury since sustaining it against the Steelers.

After missing four games, Hicks returned with a vengeance Dec. 20 versus the Vikings, registering five tackles, 2.0 sacks, two tackles-for-loss and four quarterback hits. He sat out the following week versus the Packers while on the COVID-19 list and then came back to play in last Sunday's win over the Giants.

Hicks, who is in the final year of his contract, originally signed with the Bears in 2016 after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Saints (2012-15) and Patriots (2015). He has since started all 77 games he's played over six years, registering 247 tackles, 51 tackles-for-loss and 31.0 sacks.

"He did a lot of good things as far as affecting different offenses," Nagy said. "He creates a lot of double teams, and I thought he did a good job of doing that his whole career here."

Chicago Bears
Table - Injury report
Player Injury Game status
PRO CAREER:


In his sixth season with the Bears and 10th overall in 2021
Earned his first career Pro Bowl selection in 2018
Has started 101 of 129 games with 37.0 sacks, 68 TFLs, six forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries with the Saints (2012-15), Patriots (2015) and Bears (2016-20); also has played in six postseason games with four starts


HONORS:

2019: Ranked No. 39 on NFL's Top 100 list
2018: Named to the Pro Bowl (DT)
2016: Named Week 13 NFC Defensive Player of the Week

2020 SEASON (Bears):


Played in 15 games with 15 starts, missing the Week 12 game at the Packers with an injury
Recorded six tackles and two QBH in the Wild Card playoff game at the Saints
Had a team-high 21 QBHs on the season; recorded 3.5 sacks for minus-23.5 yards
Recorded 1.5 sacks in the Week 3 win at the Falcons, where he also had a career-high 5 QBHs; added 3 QBHs in the Week 15 win at Minnesota
Recorded 1.0 sack for minus-9 yards in the Week 1 win at Detroit; also had four tackles in that game with one QBH
Had his second sack of the season in the Week 2 win over the Giants to go along with three tackles
Season-high six tackles in Week 4 vs. the Colts, including one TFL and two QBH
Recovered a fumble and also added a TFL in the Week 6 win at the Panthers


2019 SEASON (Bears):


Started five games in which he played, recording 10 tackles, 1.0 sack, one fumble recovery and one TF
Placed on Injured Reserve on 10/15 after suffering an elbow injury against the Raiders in London
Activated from Injured Reserve on 12/14 and recorded four tackles and two QBH in Week 15 at GB


2018 SEASON (Bears):


Named to his first Pro Bowl after starting 16 games and recording 55 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, five pass breakups and three forced fumbles
Recorded a career-high five tackles for loss vs. MIN (11/18
S)cored on a one-yard touchdown run at NYG (12/2)
Led team in tackles for loss and was second on the team in sacks
Recorded four tackles and one tackle for loss in Wild Card playoff game vs. PHI (1/6/19)


2017 SEASON (Bears):


Started all 16 games, recording 54 tackles, 15 TFLs, 2 fumble recoveries and a career-high 8.5 sacks for a loss of 57 yards
Recorded 20 QBHs, the most by a Chicago Bear in single-season since the stat was tracked in 2006


2016 SEASON (Bears):


Started all 16 games at DE, setting a career-high in tackles (71), sacks (7), pass breakups (3) and forced fumbles (2), 5 TFLs and recovered 1 fumble
Only defensive player to start every game


2015 SEASON (Saints/Patriots):


Appeared in 16 games, making 3 starts with the Patriots and Saints
Posted 23 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 5 TFLs and 1 FR
All 3 starts came with New Orleans, where he collected 2 assisted tackles
In 13 games with New England, notched 21 tackles, 3 sacks, 5 TFLs and 1 FR
Saw action in 2 playoff games, posting 3 tackles and 1 TFL


2014 SEASON (Saints):


Started 14-of-15 games, posting 41 tackles, 2 sacks and 7 TFLs
Placed on Injured Reserve prior the season finale


2013 SEASON (Saints): Started 16-of-16 games for the first time in his career


Posted then career-highs in tackles (56), sacks (4.5) and TFLs (8)
56 tackles were the most among the Saints defensive front
Started both of the Saints' postseason contests, notching 7 tackles and 0.5 sacks


2012 SEASON (Saints):


Appeared in 14 games with the Saints as a rookie, tallying 20 tackles, 1 pass breakup, 2 TFLs and 1 forced fumble
Akiem Hicks
Ankle Out
PRO CAREER:


Two-time Pro Bowler (2013, 2014); has appeared in 142 NFL games (119 starts), tallying 82.5 sacks, 35 tackles-for-loss, 166 QBH and 27 forced fumbles
With 80.5 sacks at age 29, only Von Miller (98.0), Chandler Jones (96.0), J.J. Watt (92.0) and Terrell Suggs (82.5) had more before turning 30
2013 PWFA Defensive Player of the Year when he finished second in the NFL with a then Rams franchise-record 19.0 sacks while also setting career-highs with 11 tackles-for-loss, 34 pressures and seven forced fumbles
Originally entered the NFL as a first-round pick (14th overall) by the St. Louis Rams out of the University of North Carolina in the 2011 NFL Draft
Has been ranked among the NFL’s Top 100 players twice (2014, 2015)


2020 SEASON (Bears)


Played in all 16 games with 13 starts; inactive for Week 1; received his first start of the season in Week 4 vs. the Colts
Saw his first action in Week 2 vs. the NYG, recording a strip-sack on Daniel Jones on his first play; also added three total tackles and an additional forced fumble
Recorded a strip-sack on Kirk Cousins in the Week 15 win at Minnesota
Recovered a fumble in the Week 5 win vs. Tampa Bay
Season-high four tackles in Week 12 at Green Bay; had two tackles and two QBH in the re-match with the Packers in Week 17
Forced a fumble that led to an Eddie Jackson scoop-and-score touchdown in Week 7 at the Rams


2019 SEASON (Cowboys):


Started 14 games for the Cowboys and wrapped up 11.5 sacks (for minus-86 yards) while adding a team-high 22 QBH and 13 TFL
Recorded his fourth season with double-digit sacks and his highest sack total since the 2013 campaign when he tallied a career-high 19.0
Recorded a team-high 22 QBH and 13 TFL
Recorded 2.0 sacks at New Orleans and again at the Jets
Generated pressure on 14.0 percent of pass rushes last season, second highest in the NFL behind Green Bay’s Za’Darius Smith (14.6 percent), according to Next Gen Stats


2018 SEASON (Dolphins):


In his lone season with the Dolphins, started all 16 games for the third time in his career and the first since 2014; tallied 38 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 15 pressures, four tackles-for-loss and two forced fumbles
Made his Dolphins debut against Tennessee with four tackles
Logged his first sack of the season at the N.Y. Jets
Had a season-high 1.5 sacks at Green Bay before posting four straight games with a sack Weeks 13-16


2017 SEASON (Los Angeles Rams):


In his final season with the Rams, notched 34 tackles, 8.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, 12 hurries, one breakup and two forced fumbles, starting 14 of the 15 games he played
Had a sack in the opener against Indianapolis
Notched a season-high five tackles along with a sack against New Orleans to start a streak of four games with at least one sack
Notched 2.0 sacks in games at Arizona and at Seattle
Made his post season debut in the Rams Wild Card game against Atlanta and logged three tackles, a sack, one tackle for loss and a pressure


2016 SEASON (Los Angeles Rams):


Was limited to starts in eight-of-nine games played after suffering a shoulder injury mid-season and a concussion near the end of the season
Tallied 10 tackles, 4.0 sacks, six hurries, two breakups and two forced fumbles
Had sacks in back-to-back games twice - Weeks 2-3 and 11-12
Missed the final five games with a concussion


2015 SEASON (St. Louis Rams):


Had 5.0 sacks, 21 tackles, seven hurries, three breakups, two tackles for loss and three forced fumbles in eight games (seven starts) before landing on Reserve/Injured (back) for the final three games of the season
Missed the final eight games with a combination of hip and back injuries
Opened the season with a pair of sacks against Seattle and logged sacks in games against Pittsburgh, at Green Bay and against San Francisco


2014 SEASON (St. Louis Rams):


Started all 16 games for the second consecutive season and notched 46 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 20 pressures, seven tackles for losses, six breakups and five forced fumbles
Opened the season with a tackle behind the line of scrimmage in five straight games
Had three straight weeks with six tackles (Weeks 6-8) and four straight games with at least one sack (Weeks 7-10), including a two-sack game at Kansas City
Had a season-high 3.0 sacks against Oakland, followed by 1.5 at Washington


2013 SEASON (St. Louis Rams):


Started all 16 games for the first time in his career and tallied 57 tackles, career-bests with 19.0 sacks - second in the league and a franchise record - 11 tackles for loss and 34 pressures
Tied his single-game high with 3.0 sacks in the opener against Arizona
Added another sack against San Francisco before notching 5.0 sacks in three games, including a three-sack day against Seattle; also had a career-best five pressures against the Seahawks
Had back-to-back games with sacks with 2.0 at Indianapolis and one against Chicago before closing the season out with sacks in the final three games - 2.0 against New Orleans, 3.0 against Tampa Bay and one at Seattle


2012 SEASON (St. Louis Rams):


In his second NFL season, played in all 16 games with 14 starts and notched 10.5 sacks and was second on the defense with 25 pressures along with 40 tackles
Teamed with Chris Long to become the first Rams defenders to record double-digit sack numbers since 2000
Had a single-game best with 3.0 sacks against Arizona
Notched his second career multi-sack game, finishing with 1.5 at San Francisco


2011 SEASON (St. Louis Rams):


Drafted in the first round (14th overall) by St. Louis and finished with 20 tackles and 5.0 sacks
Made his NFL debut at the N.Y. Giants and had his first career sack
Had sacks in consecutive games two times
Made his first NFL start - against Cincinnati and logged his third blocked punt of the season


HONORS & AWARDS:


2021: AP All-Pro (second team), Pro Bowl, NFC Defensive Player of the Month (November)
2014: Pro Bowl
2013: Pro Bowl
Robert Quinn
Shoulder Questionable
PRO CAREER:


Has appeared in 67 contests with 63 starts across five seasons
Owns 153 career tackles, 12.5 sacks, 17 TFLs, two fumble recoveries and one pass breakup


HONORS:

2015: Mel Kiper and PFWA All-Rookie teams

2020 SEASON (Bears):


Reserve/COVID-19 Opt-Out


2019 SEASON (Bears):


Voted a Pro Bowl alternate; started 15 games, recording 29 tackles, one sack and two TFLs
Recorded 1.0 sack on Eagles QB Carson Wentz in Week 9 at Philadelphia
Also had one TFL in a Thanksgiving Day win at the Lions


2018 SEASON (Bears):


Started 16 games, recording 39 tackles, 3.0 sacks, five tackles for loss and one fumble recovery
Forced a safety by sacking Rams QB Jared Goff in the end zone in a Week 14 home win over the Rams on Sunday Night Football
Also recorded sacks on Seattle's Russell Wilson and Minnesota's Kirk Cousins in Weeks 2 and 17, respectively
Added four tackles and one tackle for loss in Wild Card playoff game vs. PHI (1/6/19)


2017 SEASON (Bears):


Started 15 games, recording 44 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery and 3 TFLs
Recorded his first sack of the season in Week 2 at Tampa Bay; also had a half sack in a Week 7 win over the Panthers


2016 SEASON (Bears):


Limited because of injury to six games with five starts, recording 24 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 TFLs and 1 pass breakup
Recorded a half sack in the opener at Houston while also picking up sacks in Week 10 at Tampa Bay and Week 14 at Detroit


2015 SEASON (Bears):


Started in 12 of 15 games for the Bears while his 4.5 sacks ranked fourth among NFL rookies; added 39 tackles and 6 TFL
Posted a career-high 2.0 sacks in a Week 13 win over the 49ers; also posted sacks in a Week 4 win over the Raiders and in Week 11 vs. the Broncos
Was placed on IR on 12/30 with an ankle injury
Eddie Goldman
Finger Questionable
PRO CAREER:


Finished his second season with the Bears in 2020 after playing in nine games as a rookie in 2019


2020 SEASON (Bears):


Played in 11 games in 2020 with two starts; inactive for Weeks 1-3, 6-8; made starts in Week 15 at the Vikings and Week 17 vs. the Packers
Made his first appearance of the season on special teams in Week 4 vs. the Colts
Recorded one special teams tackle in Week 9 at the Titans
Saw significant time on defense in Week 14 vs. the Texans, filling in for the injured Buster Skrine; recorded three total tackles and one PD
Made his first career start in Week 15 win at the Vikings, recording a career-high seven tackles
Saw action on defense in the Wild Card playoff game at the Saints, recording one tackle and one PD


2019 SEASON (Bears):


Appeared in nine games as a reserve in his rookie season
Inactive for Weeks 5-12
Duke Shelley
Heel Questionable

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