Backup Dalton comeback thwarted by Lamar Jackson’s backup.
In a cruel twist of fate, the story book finish for Andy Dalton got erased when Devonta Freeman dashed three yards off tackle with 22 seconds remaining to effectively seal the win for Baltimore 16-13 at Soldier Field.
All in all it was a pretty dull game, until the last four minutes of the contest.
“It’s just a spectacular win”-Baltimore coach John Harbaugh
The Bears are a team that would rarely be accused of scoring too fast, but they did just that in the waning moments of the game. Dalton who entered the game when Justin Fields suffered an apparent rib injury hit a streaking Marquise Goodwin for 49 yards on a fourth down play with just 1:41 left to go. “They had Cover 0 and this one was Cover 0 with a different look,” said Dalton. “That’s the style of play that Baltimore likes to play, and we had an answer for it. I put it up there and let Marquise make a play and he made a big one at that point in the game.”
Matt Nagy was quick to praise Dalton’s near heroic effort, “So I want to compliment Andy Dalton for being able to come into this game in this environment and right away have two plays and get going with that and in the end, with crucial situational football, for him to make plays the way he did, I think shows who he is as a quarterback and who he is as a person, and for the offensive guys to battle there in the end, he gave us a chance to win.”
Harbaugh elaborated on his team’s performance, “I’m proud of these guys as could be. Justin Tucker on the field goals, just to mention that, in case it doesn’t get asked. It’s hard to understand how hard those field goals were. The wind was howling down there and the field was sand, okay. And he was able to plant and kick those balls through, even the extra points. That was it. And then shoutout to the quarterback, huh? How about the quarterback? To play the way he did, to fight the way he did, to keep his poise the way he did. Heck, there’s pressure, there’s plays being made. He’s running around. He handled the zero blitzes, right, two of them, nailed them. (He) ran around the left side one time for a big run, and hit Mark (Andrews) on a crossing route, got away from the pressure and threw a great shot to Mark both in the first half. For him to come in, and Tyler play the way he did, Tyler Huntley to play quarterback the way he did and to find a way to win that game at the end to take the team down in two-minute drive and win that game, it’s a good launching for his career, would you say? That’s just the kind of guy he is, and all of our guys had confidence in him, and he came through.”
Huntley didn’t even find out he was starting until the morning of the game. He handled the situation remarkably well. “I think if I was feeling the pressure, we probably wouldn’t even have won this game. You’ve just got to go with the flow about winning the game. We knew we had to go down there and score, so we practiced that every day in practice, two-minute drill, so that’s all it came down to.”
Huntley finished the game 2-36 for 219 yards and a single interception.
When asked how he pulled of this improbable situation, Huntley replied simply, “It’s a little catching up, but this is our job, so we’ve got to go out there and do our thing. I had great reps this weekend with those receivers, and they felt comfortable in me and catching the ball, and we made plays.”
Dalton also commented on the toll the past nine weeks has taken on him. “I’ve been through a lot. There’s a lot that’s gone on from starting the year to the injury to not playing, and you know, that’s one of those things, I lean on my faith, and I knew that God had me here in Chicago for a reason. Football is part of it. There’s more to it, and it’s being a good teammate, being a guy in the locker room that guys can lean on, and staying ready for the next opportunity. And that’s I feel like what I’ve done.
Like I said, leaning on my faith, knowing that the position I’m in is important regardless if you’re playing or if you’re not. And so that’s where I’ve been leaning on.”
Robert Quinn, who has been one of the few defensive standout this season was asked about the current losing streak, now at five games. “For me it’s week-to-week,” he noted. “Right now, it’s sickening because of the fashion we just lost and especially I was on the field when it happened, so it’s sickening. At the end of the day, this game — this game is over with and move on to next week. Let’s just try to figure out a way. Got to figure out a way.” Quinn added, “of course I look at our record but can’t change it so I really try to say week-to-week. That’s how I keep it fun. You look into the rearview, now you’re feeling sorry for yourself and now you’re carrying unnecessary weight. It sucks.”
Darnell Mooney who got half of his receiving yards on a 60-yard pass from Dalton stated rather emphatically that he was, “a little pissed off. A little mad. You know, you don’t want to lose. You want to be able to — you went out there, especially if you work all week, especially if you are on a bye week and you work even on the bye week, and you just try to get away from all the negativity and get away from the losing, the losing area of it and then try to come back on the win after the bye week. We didn’t get the W. It hurts, but we’ve got a quick turnaround on Thursday. Go out there and do it then.”
That’s because Bears hope that they are going to be carved up for a Thanksgiving feast in Detroit on November 25th.
Dalton, who played for Dallas in 2020 is familiar with the quick turnaround for a Thursday holiday game. “Yeah, everybody gets a Thursday game. Everybody’s got to have the quick turnaround. I think that’s the big message for this team is you can’t let this game affect Thursday, and so we have to move forward. We have got to get ready to go and enjoy the game on Thanksgiving.”