Dalton's 4 picks shows Bears can't get Fields back soon enough

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Bears quarterback Andy Dalton tackles Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen after Allen intercepted a pass Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at Soldier Field. It's not a good sign when the QB has more tackles (2) than a starting inside linebacker (Alec Ogletree had 1).

    Bears quarterback Andy Dalton tackles Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen after Allen intercepted a pass Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at Soldier Field. It's not a good sign when the QB has more tackles (2) than a starting inside linebacker (Alec Ogletree had 1). Associated Press

 
By Sean Hammond
shammond@shawmedia.com
Updated 12/6/2021 7:27 AM

When the quarterback has more tackles than one of the starting inside linebackers, that's typically a problem.

"I had two tackles today, unfortunately," Bears quarterback Andy Dalton said.

 

Starting inside linebacker Alec Ogletree had one.

It was that kind of day at Soldier Field on Sunday. Dalton threw 4 interceptions and the Arizona Cardinals beat the Bears, 33-22. The Bears dropped to 4-8. Any silly notion of a playoff run is effectively dead, although there technically still remains a path to the postseason.

Dalton threw interceptions on the first two offensive possessions of the game. The Cardinals capitalized with 14 points and a two-touchdown lead. The game was effectively over in the first quarter.

"Yeah, you can't do that," Dalton said. "You can't turn the ball over four times and expect to win the game. That hurt us. There's a lot of factors that go into it, but you can't do that and expect to win, especially against a really good team."

This was Dalton's fifth four-interception game of his 11-year career. The most recent came in December 2019 against the New England Patriots, when Dalton was still a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

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Bears fans can only hope, now, that rookie quarterback Justin Fields will return from his rib injury in a timely manner. Wins and losses don't matter anymore. If Fields is healthy next week, the next five games should belong to the rookie. He's the most exciting thing the Bears have going. If he misses any more games, there's going to be even more empty seats at Soldier Field than there were Sunday -- and there were plenty of them Sunday.

The next five games should belong to all the Bears' young, emerging players. That includes rookie tackles Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom. Second-year cornerback Kindle Vildor should see every rep he can because the Bears need him to improve.

Jenkins, a second-round draft pick, made his debut Sunday. He played on the Bears' field goal team but was stuck behind veteran Jason Peters on the offensive depth chart. There should be no reason for that moving forward.

Nagy said after the game that Jenkins' role is still evolving. The rookie had back surgery in August and was finally activated Saturday. Nagy said Jenkins will "most likely" remain Peters' backup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I don't know that for sure because we're going to work through that," Nagy said. "I think that for him, just getting him into the groove of every rep he gets in practice mentally, physically, just getting him up active is good, it's depth, and we'll see how these guys are doing. I just go back to (Peters has) been doing a good job there at left tackle."

If the Bears had the foresight, they would give their young guys a chance to play. Bears fans are already trying to forget Sunday's game. Don't give them more reason to give up on the next five before they even kick off.

As chants across Chicago have indicated -- at Bears games, Bulls games, high school games, even Illinois basketball games down in Champaign -- the fans have already given up on the coach.

"In these times, you want to make sure that these guys are understanding that it's our job, our obligation, to make sure we give it everything we got," Nagy said. "We can't worry about other teams. We can't worry about other people, players, coaches. We just have to worry about us and coach and play hard."

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