Bears Rumors: Justin Fields 'In Line' to Start vs. Browns with Andy Dalton Injured

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 21, 2021

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) runs the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Chicago. The Bears won 20-17. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)
Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini

Justin Fields' first career NFL start may be in the same state where he played college football.

According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the Chicago Bears rookie "appears to be in line to make his first NFL start Sunday" against the Cleveland Browns. Pelissero called Andy Dalton "week-to-week" with a bone bruise in his "structurally sound" knee.

On Monday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Dalton suffered a bone bruise in his knee during the Bears' victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2.

While an injury to Dalton isn't ideal, Bears fans have been waiting to see Fields since the team traded up to draft him with the No. 11 overall pick.

Chicago has been starving for a franchise quarterback for years. It's still recovering from the decision to draft Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick in 2017 when Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson were also available.

It's still too early to tell if Fields will be the Bears' long-term answer under center, but he showed flashes of his ability during the preseason and during Sunday's win over the Bengals after Dalton exited.

His performance against the Bengals was something of a mixed bag, as he finished 6-of-13 for 60 yards and a costly interception. But he also made arguably the biggest play of the game when he scrambled for a first down on 3rd-and-9 while nursing a three-point lead in the final few minutes.

Fields also didn't get much help from his teammates. Allen Robinson II failed to come down with a potential touchdown pass that appeared catchable, and Chicago's offensive line struggled to protect the rookie.

Sunday will be a challenge against a Browns defense that features Myles Garrett spearheading the pass rush, but Fields also figures to benefit from practicing with the first team throughout the week as he prepares for his inaugural start.

If he lives up to expectations, the Bears may have finally found their answer at quarterback.