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Bears to Start Andy Dalton vs. Cardinals as Justin Fields Deals with Rib Injury

Erin WalshDecember 4, 2021

Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton will start for the second week in a row, head coach Matt Nagy told reporters Friday. 

The Bears are set to face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Soldier Field, and rookie quarterback Justin Fields is unavailable because of a rib injury. Nagy added that Nick Foles will back up Dalton. 

Fields has been sidelined since injuring his ribs in a Week 11 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. 

In a 16-14 Thanksgiving win over the Detroit Lions, Dalton completed 24 of 39 passes for 317 yards, one touchdown and one interception. It was his best game of the season, and he was the first Bears quarterback since Foles in 2020 to throw for at least 300 yards. 

Dalton began the season as Chicago's starter under center. However, he suffered a knee injury in a Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals and missed the following two games, paving way for Fields to be named the team's starter.

In eight games as a starter, Fields has completed 58.5 percent of his passes for 1,291 yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions. The rookie first-rounder has also rushed for 277 yards and a score. The Bears are 2-6 in games the Ohio State product has started. 

The Bears are 2-1 with Dalton as their starter. The three-time Pro Bowler has completed 64.3 percent of his passes for 788 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions this season.

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In addition to Fields, the Bears will also be without wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (foot/ribs) and defensive linemen Akiem Hicks (ankle) and Mario Edwards Jr. (ribs) on Sunday. 

The Bears, who are third in the NFC North with a 4-7 record, have little chance to make the playoffs this season. When he is able to return to action, Fields will likely take over starting duties from Dalton, who is playing on a one-year, $10 million deal, in order to continue his development.  

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