CHICAGO — Justin Fields played the second half after Andy Dalton exited with a knee injury against his former team, and the rookie quarterback used Chicago’s stellar defensive performance to direct the Bears to a 20-17 victory over Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Roquan Smith returned an interception 53 yards for his first career touchdown, one of three straight picks thrown by Burrow during the decisive stretch in Chicago’s first win of the season.
Fields took over on Chicago’s final drive of the second quarter after getting in on a handful of plays prior to that. But the biggest key for the Bears was the defense bouncing back after it was picked apart by Matthew Stafford in a season-opening loss at the Los Angeles Rams.
The Bears were up 20-3 before Burrow threw a 43-yard touchdown to Ja’Marr Chase. Fields then got intercepted at the Chicago 25 by Logan Wilson, who returned it to the 7. Burrow hit Tee Higgins with a 7-yard TD on the next play, cutting it to 20-17 with 3:39 remaining. But the Bears hung on for their third straight win over Cincinnati (1-1).
Fields, the No. 11 overall draft pick, completed just 6 of 13 passes for 60 yards. He also ran for 31 yards.
Dalton, facing his former team for the second time in as many seasons, threw a touchdown pass to Allen Robinson. The three-time Pro Bowler, who led Dallas to a victory at Cincinnati last year, completed 9 of 11 passes for 56 yards.
Dalton was hurt late in the second quarter. He took some warmup throws at halftime, but did not return to the game.
Robinson caught his 40th career TD when he hauled in an 11-yarder on the game’s opening possession.
Burrow was 19 of 30 for 207 yards. The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner threw for two TDs and was picked off three times, after setting career highs in passer rating (128.8) and yards per attempt (9.67) in an overtime win over Minnesota.
The Bears (1-1) led 10-3 after Cairo Santos kicked a 28-yard field goal in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter that was set up by Tashaun Gipson’s fumble recovery.
Smith made it a 14-point game when he leaped to haul in a short pass intended for Tyler Boyd at the 47 and returned up the left sideline.
Jaylon Johnson got his first career interception on Cincinnati’s next possession. After Chicago punted, Angelo Blackson got his first as a pro deep in Bengals territory on a ball that teammate Alec Ogletree deflected. That led to another field goal for Santos, making it 20-3.
Bengals: No injuries reported.
Bears: NT Eddie Goldman (knee) was inactive after missing the opener and being listed as doubtful for this game. He opted out of last season because of COVID-19 concerns.
Bengals: Visit Pittsburgh on Sept. 26.
Bears: Visit Cleveland on Sept. 26.