Injured QBs take center stage as Bears host Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo grew up in suburban Chicago, and Chicago Bears counterpart Justin Fields is still striving to come into his own.

Whether either will play in Sunday’s Week 7 encounter at Soldier Field remains to be seen as the duo deals with injuries.

Neither Garoppolo (back) nor Fields (thumb) practiced Wednesday, and their status may not be determined until before kickoff.

Something far from questionable, though, is this: both the Raiders (3-3) and Bears (1-5) need victories as their seasons head in opposite directions.

Las Vegas has won two in a row and is coming off a 21-17 home victory against the New England Patriots that saw the Raiders hang on despite playing without Garoppolo in the second half.

The veteran was 14-of-22 passing for 162 yards with a touchdown and an interception before being ruled out. Brian Hoyer played the second half, but the Raiders struggled to mount much of an attack, getting outscored 14-8.

Still, Las Vegas ended a string of six games scoring fewer than 20 points.

“We’ll kind of see how (Wednesday) goes and then see what the prognosis is and see how practice goes, see how Jimmy is feeling,” Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said. “So, I think there’s a few balls in the air right now that we’re going to have to sort through for sure.”

Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams (shoulder) was limited in practice early in the week. Tight end Michael Mayer enjoyed a big game, contributing three receptions for 75 yards. He had three catches for 41 yards this season before Week 6.

The Bears remain in search of their first home victory since Week 3 of last season. Chicago endured its 10th straight loss at Soldier Field in Week 6, falling 19-13 to the Minnesota Vikings.

Fields left the game early in the third quarter after injuring his right thumb upon getting sacked for the fourth time Sunday afternoon. Rookie Tyson Bagent, an undrafted free agent out of NCAA Division II Shepherd, was strip-sacked on the ensuing Chicago possession, and Jordan Hicks returned the fumble for a 42-yard touchdown.

Bagent later rushed for a 1-yard touchdown to trim the deficit to the final margin, but he was intercepted at the Minnesota 8-yard line after underthrowing a pass in the closing minutes.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus said the swelling on Fields’ thumb has started to subside, but the team is still largely focused on his grip strength.

No matter Chicago’s starter under center, flexibility on the offensive line has been elusive since Eberflus took the reins in 2022. The Bears have used 30 different combinations on the line in those 23 games.

“A lot of times you’re forced into those issues with injuries. We’ve had a lot of injuries in that,” Eberflus said. “We’ve had a lot of different combinations. … But we do the best we can.”

Chicago has lost 15 of 16 overall.

The all-time series between the Bears and Raiders is tied at eight games apiece. The franchises haven’t met in Chicago since a 22-20 Bears victory in 2015. Chicago defeated host Las Vegas 20-9 in Week 5 of 2021.