Here’s how QB Andy Dalton played in his Bears debut against the Rams

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Matt Nagy finally made due on his promise to Andy Dalton to get the start for the Chicago Bears in their Week 1 opener against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football.

And, like many expected, the Bears offense didn’t exactly thrive under Dalton. But it didn’t exactly crash and burn either.

Things couldn’t have started worse for Dalton, who tossed an ill-advised interception in the end zone on third-and-6 from the 8-yard line on Chicago’s opening possession to halt momentum on offense.

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Despite that opening-drive interception, Dalton was decent in his debut. Dalton completed 27-of-38 passes for 206 yards with one interception for a 72.9 passer rating, which isn’t too shabby going against a Rams defense that was the best in the NFL last season. Still, it wasn’t exactly an outing that inspired confidence should Dalton be the starter moving forward.

But it was clear the Bears didn’t trust Dalton to execute on offense, as evidenced by Dalton’s pass chart, which showcased a wholly conservative game plan that never really gave Chicago a chance to win.

Dalton didn’t complete a pass over 10 yards against the Rams (0 for 2, INT). His longest pass attempt was 16 yards, and only 5 of his 38 attempts were for 10 yards or more. Dalton had just one pass attempt travel more than 15 yards. By comparison, every other starting quarterback in Week 1 had at least four passes for 15-plus yards.

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Chicago’s offense looked better than their defense, which was certainly a tough pill to swallow. Dalton was helped by a nice balanced attack led by running back David Montgomery, which allowed the offense to kill the clock on a couple of drives and keep the Rams’ high-powered offense off the field at times.

But there’s only so far a decent performance will get Dalton and, ultimately, this Bears offense when they’re playing ultra conservative. Especially when Justin Fields is waiting in the wings with the ability to bring some explosiveness to the offense.

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While Dalton’s Week 1 performance probably isn’t enough to get him benched in favor of Fields, his leash is certainly getting shorter the more we see the limitations of this Bears offense with Dalton compared to when Fields is under center.

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