Week 12 started in somewhat hilarious fashion for the Chicago Bears.
As the Bears got set to take on the New York Jets, they endured a puzzling situation at quarterback. Starting quarterback Justin Fields was ruled out about and hour and a half before kickoff, which left backup Trevor Siemian to step in — or did it?
In warmups, Siemian sustained an oblique injury and, initially, the Bears announced Nathan Peterman would take his place. But then, just minutes before kickoff, the Bears said they didn’t have an official starter. It was truly the most “game time decision” decision we have seen in recent memory.
After working with trainers to get himself ready, it was Siemian who ended up getting the start. As funny as the situation seemed, the rest of the afternoon was anything but a joke. Not only did the Bears get trounced, 31-10, but they saw the injuries continue to mount.
With not much else to play for this season, the Chicago Bears must tread carefully with their recent rash of injuries.
The Bears began the afternoon without Fields, of course. But they were also without starting defensive backs Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker, both rookies who were out due to concussions.
As the game went on, though, the Bears’ injury woes only ascended.
Arguably the biggest injury of the day came when Darnell Mooney looked to get his ankle folded up on while blocking on a David Montgomery run. Mooney was immediately ruled out and, after seeing the replay, one could see it looked serious.
Sunday night, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Mooney was feared to have suffered a season-ending ankle injury. As the team awaits more tests, they also await news on additional injuries.
Safety Eddie Jackson went down with a non-contact foot injury in this one, too. Jackson did not return, and by most accounts when dealing with non-contact injuries, he could be out a while.
The injuries didn’t stop there. Riley Reiff (shoulder) and Larry Borom (lower body injury) also left the game.
With how banged up this Bears unit is, especially on offense, the team has to be extremely wise in how they handle these guys — particularly Fields.
Fields will already be without his top receiving option in Mooney, along with running back Khalil Herbert being on injured reserve. He is also without starting guard Lucas Patrick for the rest of the season.
Now, he could have two tackles out in Reiff and Borom. Fields has already taken a beating this year, and if the Bears want him to enjoy a long career in Chicago, then they would do anything but rush him back into action.
Sure, Fields has broken out and has become one of the most exciting players in the game today. But, the Bears need to ensure he can be that guy for years to come. Playing through a separated shoulder, in a lost season, seems like it would be asking for trouble.
You’ve got to respect his competitive nature in wanting to play, but Fields should not be put back on that field until he is 100 percent healthy — especially with the injuries mounting all over this roster. Let’s allow this season to play out and get the franchise quarterback healthy and ready for 2023.