Bears’ rookie QB Justin Fields has dismal day in 26-6 loss to Browns
By Tom Withers
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Justin Fields had nowhere to run or hide. Passing was strictly prohibited.
Myles Garrett and the Browns made the rookie quarterback’s first NFL start unforgettable — for all the wrong reasons.
Garrett made a franchise-record 4 1/2 sacks and Cleveland brought Fields down nine times while holding Chicago to just 1 net yard passing as the Browns thumped the Bears 26-6 on Sunday.
“The way I feel right now, I don’t like feeling like this,” said Fields, who was hit 15 times, six by Garrett and five by Jadeveon Clowney. “It’s kind of like you’re in a dark room and you would do anything you can to win. That’s what will motivate me to not let a game like this happen again.”
Garrett had a field day against Fields, thrust into the lineup after veteran Andy Dalton injured his knee last week. The Bears (1-2) wanted to be patient and not play the No. 11 overall pick until he was ready.
The Browns (2-1) didn’t cut him any breaks, and their defense, which had been criticized for performances in the first two games, got it together at Fields’ expense and held Chicago to only 47 yards and six first downs.
“It’s awesome seeing everybody getting off and making big plays,” Garrett said. “It’s just like when you are in high school, everybody is balling and you feel like you can make a play at any time and you feel like you’re the star.”
Fields was under pressure from the start. The former Ohio State star completed just 6 of 20 passes for 68 yards and got X-rays on his throwing hand afterward. The Bears’ biggest offensive play came on a pass interference that wiped out an interception and gained 48 yards.
Cleveland thoroughly dominated, outgaining Chicago 418-47.
“You almost can’t make it up, it was that bad,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said of his offense.
“We’ve got to get to the bottom of it.”
Nagy was still processing his team being dominated and wasn’t ready to commit to his starting quarterback for next week.
“I have no idea where all that stuff is at with Andy,” he said.
Browns running back Kareem Hunt scored on an angry 29-yard run in the fourth quarter and finished with 155 yards rushing (81) and receiving (74).
Baker Mayfield threw a touchdown pass to Austin Hooper and completed five passes for 77 yards to star Odell Beckham Jr., who played for the first time since a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 25.
“Exhausted,” Beckham said after plopping down in a chair. “I lost my voice and I wasn’t even screaming, so I don’t know what happened. I’m exhausted. It’s time to go home.”
Chase McLaughlin kicked field goals of 57, 52, 41 and 28 yards for Cleveland.
The Browns wore throwback uniforms to commemorate their 75th anniversary, and the matchup with another storied NFL franchise was dominated by defense, giving the game the feel of one from the 1940s or 50s.
Cleveland’s offense didn’t find its footing until the second half as Chicago’s defense sacked Mayfield five times — with star linebacker Khalil Mack getting two.
Mack went out with a sprained foot in the first half and didn’t return until the third quarter. But even with the six-time Pro Bowler back on the field, the Bears couldn’t stop Hunt on his scoring run early in the fourth.
For most of the first half, Chicago’s offense was, well, offensive.
Fields was sacked on back-to-back plays and four times overall as Cleveland’s front brought heat from every direction. The Bears had just 14 total yards before picking up another 24 — and their second first down — before punting with 2:54 left before halftime.
“There were things they were not going to allow Justin to do,” Nagy said. “You’ve got to give credit to their edge rushers.”
The only bright spot for Chicago was kicker Cairo Santos, who made a pair of field goals and has converted his last 31 straight.
Beckham warmed up before the game wearing gold-colored headphones and a “Juice Landry” T-shirt honoring his close friend and teammate Jarvis Landry, who will miss at least three games after being placed on injured reserve earlier this week.
Beckham’s first catch went for 13 yards — his number— and he was targeted nine times.
Garrett wasn’t aware his performance topped the four sacks by Andra Davis in 2003.
Also, the Browns’ total equaled the second most in Cleveland history. The Browns had 11 sacks at Atlanta in 1984.
The game was stopped for several minutes in the fourth quarter when a member of the chain crew was flattened by Browns tight end David Njoku and Bears defensive back Eddie Jackson.
He was checked by medical staff and escorted to the locker room.
Bears: The X-rays on Fields were negative. … LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring) went out in the third quarter and didn’t return.
Browns: Rookie CB Greg Newsome II (calf) will undergo an MRI on Monday. He had a pass breakup and three tackles before leaving.
Bears: return home to host the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Browns: hit the road next Sunday to face Minnesota. Coach Kevin Stefanski spent 14 seasons as an assistant there before coming to Cleveland.