Andy Dalton got the start at quarterback for the Chicago Bears, but rookie Justin Fields was the team’s first passer to find the end zone.
Playing intermittent snaps behind Dalton, Fields scored the first touchdown of his career in the third quarter of the Bears’ season opener against the Los Angeles Rams with a three-yard run. The touchdown narrowed the score to 20-14 Rams.
Dalton and Fields formed quite possibly the NFL’s biggest quarterback controversy entering the 2021 season, to the point that they shared snaps in the team’s opener. The Bears clearly tapped Fields as their quarterback of the future by selecting him 11th overall in the 2021 NFL draft, but had already signed Dalton and designated him QB1.
Bears head coach Matt Nagy opted to stick with the more experienced quarterback as the starter to open the season, much to the consternation of Bears fans and other observers. Dalton, a former Pro Bowler with the Cincinnati Bengals, has been considerably mediocre over the last few seasons, but could be considered the safer option for a coach facing a potential pink slip after any loss.
Nagy still opted to give Fields snaps in the opener, though, with mostly positive results. As of the end of the fourth quarter, Fields was 2-for-2 for 10 yards passing plus his touchdown run. Dalton had not yet scored a touchdown at that point.