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Week 2 recap: Chicago Bears win home opener 20-17 as rookie QB Justin Fields takes over for an injured Andy Dalton

The Justin Fields era for the Chicago Bears arrived earlier than expected Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.

After starting quarterback Andy Dalton injured his knee while scrambling out of bounds in the second quarter, Fields played the entire second half of a 20-17 Bears victory.

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Fields didn’t lead a touchdown drive while completing 6 of 13 passes for 60 yards and throwing a fourth-quarter interception. But the Bears defense helped the rookie complete his first NFL victory.

The Bears had four takeaways, including Roquan Smith’s 53-yard interception return for a touchdown, to shed the bad taste from the season-opening performance against the Los Angeles Rams.

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That was the first of three interceptions on three straight drives by Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson followed with his first career interception, and defensive lineman Angelo Blackson picked off Burrow with help from inside linebacker Alec Ogletree’s pressure.

Earlier in the game, safety Eddie Jackson forced a fumble that safety Tashaun Gipson recovered.

The Bears also sacked Burrow four times.

Dalton, who spent the second half on the sideline, led a scoring drive to open the game, hitting Allen Robinson with an 11-yard touchdown pass.

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The Bears offense didn’t find the end zone again, and Fields made a late mistake to make the game closer than the Bears probably wanted.

With 3:50 to play, he threw an interception at the Bears 25-yard line, and the Bengals capitalized with a touchdown to pull within three points. But the Bears did just enough on their final drive to run out the clock for the victory.

Here’s how the Week 2 game at Soldier Field unfolded.

Inactives announced

Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman, who sat out the season opener, is out for the home opener after missing practices Thursday and Friday with a knee injury. But left tackle Jason Peters is active after he was listed as questionable; he left the Week 1 game at halftime with a quad injury.

Other inactives for the Bears: Outside linebacker Trevis Gipson, tight end Jesper Horsted, offensive tackle Alex Taylor, wide receiver Breshad Perriman and quarterback Nick Foles.

1st quarter: Bears jump out to 7-0 lead

Bears quarterback Andy Dalton won over the Soldier Field crowd early Sunday against the Bengals.

Dalton threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Allen Robinson on the Bears’ first drive for a 7-0 lead.

The Bears twice got into third-and-long on the drive.

Dalton hit Darnell Mooney with a 17-yard pass on third-and-8. On third-and-12, Dalton threw to Marquise Goodwin, who grabbed the ball down the left sideline but was out of bounds. However, Bengals cornerback Eli Apple was called for pass interference — a 32-yard penalty that gave the Bears first-and-10 at the 16-yard line.

The Bears scored three plays later.

2nd quarter: Justin Fields comes in for injured QB Andy Dalton

Bears quarterback Andy Dalton left the game against the Bengals early in the second quarter after he fell while running out of bounds.

After Dalton scrambled 14 yards to the Bengals’ 37-yard line, he tripped on the Bears sideline. He limped to the medical tent, and rookie quarterback Justin Fields went in the game on a second-and-6 play.

After two Montgomery runs, the Bears went for it on fourth-and-1 on a Fields keeper, but didn’t gain the needed yard.

Dalton emerged from the tent as the Bears defense took the field and ran up and down the sideline.

Earlier in the game, the Bears defense forced the Bengals to punt on their first drive.

On third-and-5 from the Bengals’ 35-yard line, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow threw incomplete to Ja’Marr Chase. But Bears safety Tashaun Gipson was called for taunting for clapping while standing over Chase.

The Bengals got to the Bears’ 35. But Robert Quinn sacked Burrow for a loss of 8 yards on third-and-10 and the Bengals punted.

2nd quarter: Andy Dalton returns — then leaves again

After leaving the game for three plays to go to the medical tent early in the second quarter, QB Andy Dalton returned on the next Bears drive.

Dalton completed a 10-yard pass to David Montgomery to open the drive. Montgomery lost a yard and Dalton was sacked for a loss of 8 yards on consecutive plays, and the Bears eventually punted.

But with 5:34 to play in the first half, with the Bears defense on the field, Dalton left to go to the locker room.

The Bears announced the veteran QB is questionable to return with a knee injury.

Bears running back David Montgomery takes the handoff from quarterback Justin Fields in the first quarter against the Bengals at Soldier Field on Sept. 19, 2021.
Bears running back David Montgomery takes the handoff from quarterback Justin Fields in the first quarter against the Bengals at Soldier Field on Sept. 19, 2021. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

Halftime: Bears lead Bengals 7-0

Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields received his first shot for extended playing time in the second quarter.

Fields entered the game when starter Andy Dalton injured his knee. Fields played three snaps on that drive and led a two-minute drive at the end of the half. The Bears punted on both drives and went into halftime with a 7-0 lead.

Dalton, who hit Allen Robinson with an 11-yard touchdown pass on the Bears’ first drive, went to the medical tent after he scrambled 14 yards and then tripped going out of bounds early in the second quarter.

Dalton returned to play on the next series. But after Bengals nose tackle D.J. Reader sacked on that drive, Dalton left to go to the locker room, and the Bears announced he was questionable to return.

Fields took on the Bears final drive of the half, and he hit Darnell Mooney with an 11-yard pass on third-and-4. But Fields was sacked for a loss of 9 yards on the next play and threw incomplete on third-and-9.

After a rough outing in the season opener, the Bears defense made several big stops to keep the Bengals scoreless, including a Robert Quinn sack on third down on the Bengals’ first drive.

3rd quarter: FG gets Bengals on the board

Bengals kicker Evan McPherson made a 53-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half to cut the Bears’ lead to 7-3 with 8:22 to play in the third.

The Bears sacked Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow three times on the drive. But an unnecessary roughness penalty on Robert Quinn for hitting Burrow out of bounds extended the drive.

Roquan Smith had the third sack to push the Bengals to third-and-18, but a 14-yard pass from Burrow to Chris Evans pushed the Bengals into field goal range.

Bears rookie Justin Fields continued to play in the second half for injured starter Andy Dalton.

4th quarter: Bears go up 10-3

Bears kicker Cairo Santos made a 28-yard field goal to give the Bears a 10-3 lead against the Bengals with 14:52 to play. It was Santos’ first field goal of the season.

The Bears started the drive after the defense’s first takeaway of the season.

Bears safety Eddie Jackson stripped Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, and Tashaun Gipson scooped it up and returned it 26 yards to the Bengals’ 39-yard line.

After a false start penalty, Bears quarterback Justin Fields got the ensuring drive going with back-to-back passes to Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney of 13 and 21 yards.

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That put the Bears at the 8-yard line, but David Montgomery was stopped for a loss of 3 yards, Fields rushed for 5 yards and then was called for another false start penalty. Fields threw incomplete in the end zone to Allen Robinson, who was covered well by Chidobe Awuzie. The Bears then turned to Santos.

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4th quarter: Pick-six TD for Roquan Smith

Roquan Smith intercepted Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown to put the Bears up 17-3.

The interception was the Bears’ second takeaway of the day after a forced fumble and recovery on the Bengals previous drive. Smith’s play came on third-and-3 on a pass intended for Tyler Boyd.

Smith broke a tackle and then raced down the left sideline behind blockers Alec Ogletree and Kindle Vildor into the end zone.

On the Bengals’ next drive, Jaylon Johnson came up with his first career interception on a pass intended for Tee Higgins.

4th quarter: Bears settle for FG after another INT

Cairo Santos made a 22-yard field goal to give the Bears a 20-3 lead against the Bengals with 6:40 to play

The Bears got the ball after defensive lineman Angelo Blackson picked off Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow for a third straight drive. Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree was in Burrow’s face as he threw the pass.

The Bears took over at the Bengals’ 9-yard line but couldn’t get in the end zone. Justin Fields rushed for 1 yard, David Montgomery rushed for 4 yards and Fields threw a pass into the end zone out of reach of Darnell Mooney.

4th quarter: Bengals score a TD

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase to cut the Bears lead to 20-10 with 4:39 to play.

The catch completed a six-play, 75-yard drive that helped Burrow bounce back from throwing interceptions on three straight drives.

Burrow also hit Tyler Boyd with a 15-yard pass on third-and-7 to keep the drive alive.

4th quarter: Fields’ INT leads to quick Bengals TD

The Bengals cut the Bears’ lead to 20-17 with 3:39 to play when Joe Burrow hit Tee Higgins with a 7-yard touchdown pass.

The touchdown came one play after Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields threw an interception on third down. Fields threw right at Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson, who returned it 18 yards to the 7-yard line.

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