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Justin Fields, Mitchell Trubisky Star as Bills Rout Bears in Preseason Clash

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 22, 2021

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Mitchell Trubisky got revenge against his former team, leading the Buffalo Bills to a 41-15 win over the Chicago Bears in Week 2 of the preseason.

The former Bears quarterback started for Buffalo on Saturday at Soldier Field while Josh Allen rested. Trubisky took advantage of the opportunity, helping to build a 34-6 lead by halftime as part of a dominant early effort by the visitors.

Even with their MVP candidate quarterback absent, the Bills proved why they're a threat in the AFC.

Chicago starter Andy Dalton wasn't nearly as effective, leading the Bears to only one touchdown in seven first-half possessions. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields got his opportunity in the second half and kept things closer, leading Chicago to a 9-7 advantage after halftime while showcasing his athleticism. 

It could create some tough decisions for head coach Matt Nagy, as there's just one more preseason game before the season opener Sept. 12 at the Los Angeles Rams.


Notable Performances

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Justin Fields, QB, CHI: 9-of-19, 80 yards; 4 carries, 46 yards

Andy Dalton, QB, CHI: 11-of-17, 146 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rodney Adams, WR, CHI: 3 catches, 89 yards, 1 TD

Mitchell Trubisky, QB, BUF: 20-of-28, 221 yards, 1 TD

Devin Singletary, RB, BUF: 2 carries, 21 yards, 1 TD

Isaiah McKenzie, WR, BUF: 7 catches, 72 yards


Justin Fields Once Again Outshines Andy Dalton

There are important caveats when considering preseason performances, most notably that second-string quarterbacks usually face second-string defenses. With that said, Fields showed why he has a lot more upside than Dalton, the starter.

The rookie flashed his talent both throwing and running the ball:

NFL @NFL

Back foot, WHAT A THROW. <a href="https://twitter.com/justnfields?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@justnfields</a> <br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsCHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsCHI</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a> (or check local listings)<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ">https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/5wLow0zuTs">pic.twitter.com/5wLow0zuTs</a>

NFL @NFL

Pocket breaks down, <a href="https://twitter.com/justnfields?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@justnfields</a> makes a play.<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsCHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsCHI</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a> (or check local listings)<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ">https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/IIPyxKTcWe">pic.twitter.com/IIPyxKTcWe</a>

His ability on the ground was especially impressive, as he scrambled for six, 16, 11 and 13 yards, often getting himself out of trouble before picking up big chunks down the field.

Fields did struggle with consistency as a passer, but he showed poise in the pocket and set up big plays.

The biggest concern was the big hits he took, and he was sacked twice.

Dalton didn't gain many fans after starting the game without much success. The Bears went three-and-out on three of their first four drives, and the other ended with a Damien Williams fumble. 

The one bright spot came on a 73-yard touchdown pass to Rodney Adams, which featured a great individual effort by the receiver:

NFL @NFL

TOOK IT OFF HIS HELMET.<a href="https://twitter.com/rodney_adams87?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@rodney_adams87</a> houses the <a href="https://twitter.com/andydalton14?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@andydalton14</a> pass. 73 yards!<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsCHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsCHI</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a> (or check local listings)<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ">https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/p6treBnLWq">pic.twitter.com/p6treBnLWq</a>

That play accounted for half of Dalton's 146 passing yards, and there wasn't much to like from the rest of his showing:

Adam Beasley @AdamHBeasley

The Bears have four first downs in Andy Dalton's nine possessions this preseason.

Matt Zahn @mattzahnsports

An Andy Dalton interception the perfect exclamation point (or whatever the opposite of that is) to a mostly dreadful first half of preseason football for the Bears.

It was enough for many to have the same view after the game:

Jeremy Layton @JeremyLayt0n

There is no universe where Andy Dalton gives you a better chance to win than Justin Fields

Of course, the offensive line will likely be a concern no matter who is behind center. The unit gave up a lot of pressures, and the 12 hits allowed on the quarterbacks likely contributed to the stagnant offense.

If this unit doesn't improve, it might not matter how well Fields or Dalton plays.


Mitchell Trubisky Thrives in Exciting Bills Offense

Across four seasons with the Bears, Trubisky averaged 208 passing yards per game. In one half against the Bears, he totaled 221 yards.

He looked impressive against a defense that featured plenty of starters, connecting on throws from in and out of the pocket:

NFL @NFL

Trubisky dealing! He finds Jake Kumerow to polish off a an 11-play, 64-yard drive.<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsCHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsCHI</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a> (or check local listings)<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ">https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/o4XepQRrJ2">pic.twitter.com/o4XepQRrJ2</a>

NFL @NFL

.<a href="https://twitter.com/Mtrubisky10?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Mtrubisky10</a> avoids the blitz, finds the marker.<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsCHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsCHI</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a> (or check local listings)<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ">https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/7C2qMWWdzY">pic.twitter.com/7C2qMWWdzY</a>

NFL @NFL

Back in Chicago, <a href="https://twitter.com/Mtrubisky10?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Mtrubisky10</a> has the <a href="https://twitter.com/BuffaloBills?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BuffaloBills</a> on the move.<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsCHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsCHI</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a> (or check local listings)<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ">https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/3uqcpl7kwM">pic.twitter.com/3uqcpl7kwM</a>

Trubisky threw only one touchdown pass, but he engineered the offense to six scoring drives in seven attempts.

Patrick Claybon @PatrickClaybon

2 drives <br><br>10 plays 72 yards<br><br>11 plays 64 yards<br><br>Mitchell Trubisky is scalpeling his old team

Grant Paulsen @granthpaulsen

Mitch Trubisky is putting on a clinic in Chicago. He's got the Bills up 21-0 at Soldier Field. Pretty great preseason storyline. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bears?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bears</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bills?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bills</a>

Though Trubisky is not competing for a starting job, he might do enough to rehabilitate his image before hitting free agency again next year. At the very least, he showed he can be an elite backup.

Of course, the Bills showed their offense will be a force.

Buffalo had the No. 2 unit in the NFL last season in yards and points, and it looked just as good without Allen or Stefon Diggs.

The offensive line cleared a lot of space up front, while the running backs also took advantage with 96 yards. 

Devin Singletary had only two rushing attempts but made his mark with the opening touchdown:

Buffalo Bills @BuffaloBills

MOTOR‼️<br><br>📺: WIVB + <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a> + The Bills App <a href="https://t.co/HUh9ltO3hq">pic.twitter.com/HUh9ltO3hq</a>

Zack Moss added 21 yards on four carries, while Matt Breida had 18 yards on five totes and caught a screen pass for 18 yards that almost ended in a touchdown. Reggie Gilliam scored two touchdowns and finished with 24 yards on eight attempts.

In the passing game, Isaiah McKenzie showed he deserves a bigger role with 72 yards on seven receptions.

Neither Jake Fromm nor Davis Webb played well in the second half, but the Buffalo offense will be elite at full strength. 


What's Next?

The Bears close their preseason next Saturday on the road against the Tennessee Titans. Buffalo will host the Green Bay Packers the same day.  

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