What we learned in Bears' 19-14 preseason win vs. Chiefs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
CHICAGO – The first game of the Matt Eberflus era didn’t go as expected, but the Bears got the desired result.
After relatively uninspired play from the first-string offense and defense Saturday at Soldier Field, the Bears rallied to score 19 second-half points to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 19-14.
Roquan Smith arrived at Soldier Field, worked out pregame, and didn’t play as his contract stalemate with the Bears continues.
On the field, quarterback Justin Fields delivered a few noteworthy plays, but overall, it was a lackluster debut for Luke Getsy’s offense. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes easily diced up Alan Williams’ defense during the star quarterback’s lone drive.
On the bright side, several Bears rookies showed out in their NFL debuts.
Here's what we learned from the Bears' preseason-opening win:
Justin Fields shines, but offense needs work
Our first look at Luke Getsy’s offense left much desired. First, it’s important to note that tight end Cole Kmet, running back David Montgomery, right tackle Riley Reiff, and wide receivers Velus Jones Jr., Byron Pringle, and N’Keal Harry didn’t play.
Kmet’s absence was quite noticeable in the passing game.
The Bears’ first-string offense got 18 plays across three drives and gained 78 yards.
Justin Fields and Co. went three-and-out on their first drive. Chiefs star defensive tackle Chris Jones blew up the interior of the Bears offensive line on third-and-6 and swallowed up Fields.
The offense got moving on the second drive. On third-and-4 at their own 31, Fields delivered a strike to Darnell Mooney down the left sideline for 26. But the Bears couldn’t take advantage of the chunk play as their next three plays went nowhere, and Trenton Gill was brought back out to punt.
The final drive for Fields and the first-team offense saw the second-year quarterback throw a dime to Tajae Sharpe, who snagged the pass for 19 yards on third-and-9.
Fields showed off his legs on the next play as he felt pressure and scampered out of the pocket for a gain of 10.
Eight-yard runs by Equanimeous St. Brown and Khalil Herbert followed as the Bears’ offense appeared to be in business.
But that was all she wrote for the Bears’ starting offense, as the unit stalled out and punted from the Chiefs’ 43-yard line.
On the day, Fields went 4-for-7 for 48 yards and a 78.3 rating. The Bears’ passing offense clearly missed Kmet.
Rookie left tackle Braxton Jones had a promising NFL debut. Chiefs rookie George Karlaftis bullied him on a few snaps, but overall the left side of the Bears’ line was not a problem. However, Michael Schofield struggled mightily at right guard.
It’s hard to judge the unit without several key players, but it wasn’t a crisp showing from the Bears’ new-look offense.
One-man wrecking crew
While rookie Kyler Gordon didn’t play Saturday, fellow second-round pick Jaquan Brisker certainly made a loud first impression.
The Penn State product said earlier this week that he wanted to hit someone during his first NFL action.
Brisker has everyone in the Bears’ organization buzzing early on, and one sequence Saturday showed why the rookie safety has been the talk of training camp.
On third-and-6, Chiefs third-string quarterback Shane Buechele hit Skyy Moore for 7 yards, but Brisker came flying in and delivered a vicious hit that sent the receiver spinning.
That was just the beginning.
On the ensuing play, Brisker came flying off the edge and hammered Chiefs running back Derrick Gore. Two plays later, on third-and-7, Buechele threw a pass over the middle for tight end Noah Gray, but Brisker read it perfectly and nearly had an interception.
It was a mesmerizing three-play sequence for a rookie who the Bears believe will be a star.
The kids are all right
Sixth-round pick Trestan Ebner started to come during the last week of camp. The Baylor product’s explosiveness was evident Saturday at Soldier Field.
Ebner returned the opening kickoff 34 yards and later had a 27-yard ankle-breaking run thanks to a nasty cut.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 13, 2022
The rookie continued to pop in the second half, catching a 12-yard pass on an angle route to get the Bears on the board.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 13, 2022
Getsy likes backs who can be a threat in the passing game. When they drafted him, the Bears lauded Ebner’s game-breaking speed and pass-catching ability.
That showed up big time Saturday.
But Ebner wasn’t alone shining in the second half.
Undrafted rookie linebacker Jack Sanborn recorded two takeaways in the third quarter. The Wisconsin product picked off quarterback Shane Buechele and recovered a Derrick Gore fumble to help spark the Bears’ comeback.
Fighting for a roster spot, Sanborn made a good case for the 53-man roster Saturday.
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