Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy expressed his gratitude for how his team handled "distractions" after their Thanksgiving triumph over the Detroit Lions.

The Bears scrapped to a 16-14 victory against the winless Lions on Thursday amid uncertainty over Nagy's future in Chicago.

Nagy had to answer questions about his future this week, following reports he had been told his final game would be against the Lions (0-10).

But after snapping a five-game skid, Nagy savoured Chicago's result as the Bears improved to 4-7.

"When there's distractions, which is in every sport, in all facets of life, there's always going to be distractions," Nagy told reporters.

"It's how you handle them. And again, we got the win today, and it could've went a lot of different ways. But the reason why we got the win is because of how they handled the distractions, you know? That's where to me, when you're in this business and you lead people, it's my job to make sure of honest and open communication.

"That's where, for me, I just can't tell you how much this win means today to me because of what they did."

Chicago's defence allowed a season-low 239 total yards and just 14 first downs against Detroit.

Andy Dalton fuelled the Bears with a touchdown on 24-of-39 passing for 317 yards – his 30th 300-yard career passing game and the most yards by a Chicago quarterback since November 2020.

"Again, for me, there is only my understanding, which is what it's been since the day I signed up to be this coach, is to win as many games as I can possibly win, and do it the right way," Nagy added.

"When you lose five games in a row, you understand. When you're 3-7, you know what territory it can get to. You know what I mean? That comes with the job. I knew that four years ago when I took this, and so here we are. Every week is a little bit different.

"This one was definitely different. This is one of those weeks where you use it moving forward. You don't make any predictions, but what you do is when you go home on that plane tonight and everyone's having a good time because they're able to celebrate and have fun watching the tape and enjoy their Thanksgiving and get back to being healthy and understand what games are next, but the only game that matters is Arizona coming up.

"That's it. So again, for me, the only thing I can say to those players is that I appreciate them and we have a hell of a group of guys, players and coaches, and they showed it today by getting a win."

The Chicago Bears scrapped to a 16-14 Thanksgiving win over the Detroit Lions, as the returning Jared Goff's wait for a first career win without Sean McVay went on.

Bears coach Matt Nagy had to answer questions about his future this week, but he was boosted by a trip to Detroit to play Goff and the winless Lions in Thursday's early game.

Goff – back after an oblique injury – is now 0-16-1 when not coached by McVay, having gone 42-20 in their four years together with the Los Angeles Rams, and this was another outing to forget.

Although a matchup between the teams ranked 29th and 30th for points per game heading into the week was never likely to be a classic, it started well for Goff when he connected with Josh Reynolds on a 39-yard touchdown.

D'Andre Swift soon went down with a shoulder problem to check Detroit's momentum, however, and Cairo Santos' field goal got the Bears on the board before two Andy Dalton passes broke the game open late in the half, as he threw 52 yards to Darnell Mooney and then 17 yards to Jimmy Graham up the middle for a TD.

That was quickly followed by a Goff fumble – his eighth of the year and the fifth he has lost – and the Lions continued to struggle to move the chains even after an Amani Oruwariye interception, instead allowing Santos to stretch Chicago's lead before half-time.

But Goff's work through the air was much improved and a patient third-quarter drive ended with a pass to T. J. Hockenson to edge the Lions in front.

The hosts came close to their first win of the season but were ultimately thwarted by the boot of Santos as Chicago's final drive led to a successful 28-yard field goal in the final seconds.

The Chicago Bears scrapped to a 16-14 Thanksgiving win over the Detroit Lions, as the returning Jared Goff's wait for a first career win without Sean McVay went on.

Bears coach Matt Nagy had to answer questions about his future this week, but he was boosted by a trip to Detroit to play Goff and the winless Lions in Thursday's early game.

Goff – back after an oblique injury – is now 0-16-1 when not coached by McVay, having gone 42-20 in their four years together with the Los Angeles Rams, and this was another outing to forget.

Although a matchup between the teams ranked 29th and 30th for points per game heading into the week was never likely to be a classic, it started well for Goff when he connected with Josh Reynolds on a 39-yard touchdown.

D'Andre Swift soon went down with a shoulder problem to check Detroit's momentum, however, and Cairo Santos' field goal got the Bears on the board before two Andy Dalton passes broke the game open late in the half, as he threw 52 yards to Darnell Mooney and then 17 yards to Jimmy Graham up the middle for a TD.

That was quickly followed by a Goff fumble – his eighth of the year and the fifth he has lost – and the Lions continued to struggle to move the chains even after an Amani Oruwariye interception, instead allowing Santos to stretch Chicago's lead before half-time.

But Goff's work through the air was much improved and a patient third-quarter drive ended with a pass to T. J. Hockenson to edge the Lions in front.

The hosts came close to their first win of the season but were ultimately thwarted by the boot of Santos as Chicago's final drive led to a successful 28-yard field goal in the final seconds.

Andy Dalton is expected to start at quarterback for the Chicago Bears on Thursday as Justin Fields recovers from a rib injury. 

NFL Network reported the short turnaround ahead of the trip to Detroit to face the Lions likely will keep Fields out of action, though Bears head coach Matt Nagy said Monday the team was still "gathering facts". 

Rookie QB Fields got pummelled by the Baltimore Ravens defence in a 16-13 defeat Sunday, leaving in the third quarter with rib problems. 

He had completed just four of 11 passes for 79 yards at the time. Dalton came on in relief and completed 11 of 23 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. 

Nagy acknowledged there could be a "safety issue" playing Fields against the Lions but remained vague about the team's plans. 

"‘We always want to make sure that we’re not putting our players at more risk, regardless of who you are," Nagy told reporters Monday.

"Obviously, there’s more magnitude to everybody else — and to us — with Justin. And being the quarterback and touching the football every play and throwing and that sort of thing. So we’ll have to keep that in mind.’’

Quarterback shuffling has been a season-long theme for the Bears (3-7), as the veteran Dalton started the first two games of the season before suffering a knee injury.

Sunday marked only his second appearance since then, as the 22-year-old Fields has had mixed results but generally shown improvement while settling into the starting role. 

The 11th overall pick in this year's draft threw for a career-best 291 yards in Chicago's previous game, a 29-27 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

The Lions (0-9-1) also are expected to be without their starting QB, as Jared Goff continues to deal with an oblique injury that kept him out of Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns. 

Tim Boyle likely will start again in Goff's place in the Lions' annual Thanksgiving Day showcase. 

 

 

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields will make his second NFL start against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Bears head coach Matt Nagy has turned to the rookie after veteran QB Andy Dalton (knee) was downgraded to doubtful for Week 4 of the NFL season.

There was some doubt over first-year quarterback Fields due a hand injury, but he will line up under center for the Bears (1-2) at home to the winless Lions (0-3).

The number 11 pick in the NFL Draft, Fields has the chance to bounce back from an underwhelming start to life in the NFL.

In last week's 26-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns as Dalton sat out, Fields was sacked nine times and held to just six of 20 passing for 68 yards and 12 rushing yards on three attempts.

"This week's practice compared to last week's practice, I felt just more comfortable at practice just kind of getting that under my belt and getting kind of past that," Fields said.

"Last week, you really can't get worse than that. I mean, I hope not. But I felt comfortable this week."

Chicago finished their defeat against the Browns with one net passing yard. It was the fewest net passing yards for the Bears in a game since negative-20 passing yards in 1981 against the Lions.

"Justin's game that he played last week, he did a lot of things that he's going to learn from," Nagy said. "But we also, and myself, have to help him. I think the biggest thing for him is, 'OK, here's how I was in the week of practice. Here's how I was on game day, both physically and mentally. Now how am I going to be heading into this week? Am I getting better? Is there improvement? Am I getting better at the things I was good at? Am I getting better at the things that I wasn't so good at?'

"And that's what we're doing as coaches throughout the week of practice, is being able to watch him and see that. I can say from last week to this week that you do see that advancement. That there, knowing and feeling how he practiced, is why I would answer it that way."

Matthew Stafford did his part in his Los Angeles Rams debut, leading his new team to a 34-14 win over the Chicago Bears.

After a dozen seasons with the hapless Detroit Lions, Stafford guided the Rams past the Bears in their season opener on Sunday.

It was exactly the type of performance the Rams had hoped for from the veteran quarterback, who completed 20 of 26 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. 

The 33-year-old Stafford appeared in complete control from the beginning, hitting Van Jefferson for a 67-yard touchdown on the Rams' third play from scrimmage. 

After field goals on their next two drives, Los Angeles answered a David Montgomery touchdown for the Bears late in the first half with another bomb from Stafford to open the second – this one a 56-yard TD to Cooper Kupp. 

Stafford's last touchdown came on a two-yard pass to Robert Woods with 3:17 remaining after a 12-play drive that ate up nearly half the fourth quarter. 

The other veteran quarterback getting a fresh start with a new team did not fare so well. 

Andy Dalton got the start for Chicago despite a persistent clamour for rookie Justin Fields throughout training camp and went 27-for-38 passing with 206 yards. 

Dalton was intercepted in the end zone on the Bears' first drive of the game, failed to convert a fourth down on the second drive and fumbled after being sacked the next time Chicago had the ball. 

Fields did get some snaps, rushing for a three-yard touchdown that briefly cut the lead to 20-14 late in the third quarter, but all that did was further inflame the quarterback controversy that will continue to be the talk of the Windy City. 

Drama has not been in short supply among the NFL quarterbacks this offseason.

There have been new names, new deals, new feuds, old feuds...

Now the 2021 season is on the horizon, but not every situation at the sport's most important position has reached a satisfactory conclusion.

There are intriguing QB scenarios to keep an eye on for plenty of teams this season, as Stats Perform explores.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Let's start with a rookie. While fellow first-round picks Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Mac Jones are set for starting roles, Trey Lance has a fight on his hands with the 49ers.

Lance is raw, having played just 19 college games in the FCS, and is set to begin the season behind Jimmy Garoppolo – fit again after becoming one of a remarkable number San Francisco players to suffer with injuries last year, unable to follow up their Super Bowl run.

But Lance's dual-threat ability gives Kyle Shanahan a new dynamic, as evidenced by his 14 rushing touchdowns in 2019 with North Dakota State. Garoppolo has only two career rushing scores.

That is likely to initially put the ball in Lance's hands in the red zone, where his legs should help improve a red zone efficiency of 53.2 per cent from the 2019 season, when a fully fit Niners team ranked 21st in the NFL.

By the end of the year, though, the 21-year-old will undoubtedly be keen for a bigger role, increasing pressure on Garoppolo while the team try to maintain a title challenge.

CHICAGO BEARS

Justin Fields is the second first-round selection starting the year behind an established NFL QB in Andy Dalton.

"There's no need for us to rush Justin," said Bears general manager Ryan Pace last week, explaining they were "very confident" in Dalton. "I just think the more time [Fields] has to learn that and observe, the better off for him," Pace added.

But Fields, who threw for 63 TDs and rushed for a further 15 in two years at Ohio State, is undoubtedly a more realistic long-term solution than Dalton, on his third team in three years.

Fields, like Lance, can run, ranking fifth in the Power 5 among quarterbacks with 7.42 yards per carry last year, but the Bears also need improvement through the air, having ranked 22nd with 228.4 net passing yards per game in 2020.

While the departed Mitchell Trubisky neither threw nor ran the ball well – delivering an accurate, well-thrown ball on just 71.6 per cent of passes and averaging 1.81 yards per carry – Fields (80.18 well-thrown percentage) can do both if given the opportunity.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

It is not only the teams who have spent first-round picks on passers who have a battle under center, with the Saints able to consider two options to replace the great Drew Brees.

Jameis Winston threw only 11 passes in New Orleans last season after leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with the versatile Taysom Hill preferred when Brees was out injured, making four starts at QB.

But Winston has been confirmed as the starter for the new campaign – at least for now. Whether Sean Payton is willing to stick with an entertaining yet erratic QB for a full season remains to be seen.

The 27-year-old became the first player ever to throw 30 TD passes and 30 interceptions in the same NFL season as the Bucs went 7-9 in 2019.

Winston's 10.70 air yards ranked second, yet his pickable pass percentage of 7.69 was second-worst among those with 100 attempts or more.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

While some teams have multiple reliable options at QB, the Eagles scarcely have one. Having moved on from Carson Wentz, Jalen Hurts is their starter.

Last time out, in his rookie year, Hurts completed just 52.0 per cent of his passes – the worst rate of any QB with 100 or more attempts – and still could not quite keep up with the league's elite running QBs, averaging 6.00 yards per carry.

Yet Philadelphia's response was to trade out of the number six pick in this year's draft and then opt against taking either Fields or Jones, who remained on the board after they moved back up to 10.

Joe Flacco, now 36, is in as the back-up, while a "fired up" Gardner Minshew has arrived from the Jacksonville Jaguars after 37 TDs in two years but is set for a role as a third-stringer.

Unless Hurts makes significant strides, it is difficult to see how the Eagles will not again be in position to take one of the top college QBs in 2022.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers was at the centre of the most compelling offseason speculation surrounding a quarterback this offseason. However, the Green Bay Packers star was not the only former champion at the centre of offseason speculation this year, with Russell Wilson's agent informing ESPN of four trade destinations that would interest the Seahawks stalwart.

Seattle kept their man in the end, but Wilson will be looking for progress from last season, when he complained of "getting hit too much" – "a pretty normal reaction," according to coach Pete Carroll.

Wilson was in the MVP conversation for the first half of the year but was soon left exposed behind a poor offensive line, sacked 47 times to swell his career total to 394 – the most of any QB since he entered the league.

Although left tackle Duane Brown has missed practice as he waits on a contract extension – another development that has frustrated Wilson – the Seahawks have at least traded for guard Gabe Jackson. That move needs to work.

Wilson last year averaged 8.70 air yards while throwing a pickable pass at the sixth-lowest ratio in the NFL (2.64%), but he has to have help if Seattle are to succeed.

Andy Dalton opted to join the Chicago Bears after receiving assurances he will be the team's new starting quarterback.  

Dalton has signed a one-year deal reportedly worth $10million with Chicago, who had been linked with a blockbuster trade for Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson during the offseason.  

Nick Foles is already at the Bears, though Mitchell Trubisky's time with the franchise has come to an end after he joined the Buffalo Bills in free agency.  

"They told me I was the starter," Dalton said during his introductory news conference on Thursday. "That was one of the reasons why I wanted to come here.   

"Every conversation I've had has been that, so that's the assurance that I've gotten.   

"I had several options and I felt like this was the best fit for me. When you hear that you're going to be the starter, that's an enticing pitch."

Dalton spent the 2020 season with the Dallas Cowboys, initially serving as back-up to Dak Prescott.  

However, he was thrust into a starting role when Prescott suffered a season-ending leg injury against the New York Giants in Week 5.  

Dalton went on to throw for 2,169 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 11 games – his completion percentage of 64.9 just above a career number of 62.2. He did miss time, though, due to a concussion and also contracting coronavirus.  

He was selected with the 35th pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011 and, during his nine seasons there, he threw for 33,763 yards, putting him second on the team's all-time list for passers.  

Now the three-time Pro Bowler will aim to solve a problematic position for the Bears, who traded up to draft Trubisky second overall in 2017, ahead of both Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.  

Chicago finished the 2020 campaign with an 8-8 record, good enough for second spot in the NFC North and a playoff berth. However, they were beaten 21-9 by the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round.  

"This was definitely the place I wanted to be," Dalton said of his new home. "I'm glad this whole thing worked out.  

"At this point in my career, you want to join a team that is competitive, that is doing things the right way, is trending in the right direction, and to get a chance to come in and start for a team like this, that's a great opportunity for me and for my future and my career and everything."

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