The Chicago Bears kicked off the Matt Eberflus era on a high note with a 19-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. Now, Chicago is sitting atop the NFC North alongside the Minnesota Vikings.
It was a brutal contest all around — both performance and weather conditions — but it also showcased what we can expect to see from this Eberflus-led team. The Bears put together a hard-fought effort and played smart, disciplined football and took down a San Francisco team many consider to be Super Bowl contenders.
But there were several standouts from the victory. Here is who earned game balls from the Week 1 win over the 49ers:
DE Dominique Robinson
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The fifth-round rookie saw significant action in his NFL debut with 28 snaps, which was more than Trevis Gipson. Robinson certainly made the most of his opportunities, including a team-leading 1.5 sacks on the day. Robinson added seven tackles, including one for a loss, and two QB hits. Robinson is still a raw talent, and it was certainly impressive watching him best an All-Pro in 49ers left tackle Trent Williams for a sack.
S Eddie Jackson
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Armed with a fresh start in the Matt Eberflus era, Jackson made a strong impression in Week 1. Jackson took us back in time with the kind of game-changing play that made him a favorite among Bears fans in his first couple of seasons. Jackson came away with a clutch interception in the fourth quarter, which led to the game-sealing touchdown by Khalil Herbert. Jackson totaled three tackles and a pass breakup on the afternoon.
QB Justin Fields
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Things were brutal for Fields in the first half, where he completed just three passes and an interception, including no completions to receivers or tight ends. But the second half was a completely different story. He led the Bears to three touchdown drives, including an impressive score to Dante Pettis and another touchdown pass to Equanimeous St. Brown. Fields finished with 8-of-17 passes for 121 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for a 85.7 passer rating. While his stats were pedestrian, Fields came up clutch when his team needed it.
CB Jaylon Johnson
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Entering his third season, Johnson is looking to establish himself as a top cornerback in the league. Well, he certainly took a step forward with an impressive outing against the 49ers. With the 49ers driving, Johnson had a Peanut Punch on Deebo Samuel forcing the fumble, which was recovered by Jaquan Brisker. It set the tone early for the defense, which added another takeaway later in the game. Johnson totaled four tackles, including one for a loss, and he wasn’t targeted once by San Francisco, a show of respect for the up-and-comer.
HC Matt Eberflus
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Last but certainly not least, Eberflus gets a game ball in his NFL coaching debut. It’s amazing what good coaching can do for an underwhelming roster, but we saw exactly as much in this season opener. Say what you want about the H.I.T.S. principle, but it’s the reason Chicago won this game. The Bears played smart, discipled football, where they won the turnover battle and committed less penalties than the 49ers. It was an ugly game, but we saw what we can expect from Eberflus’ team all season –a hard-fought effort where they’re going to be competitive in most games.