The Chicago Bears pulled off what some might call an upset win over the San Francisco 49ers, 19-10, in Week 1 at Soldier Field. The monsoon-like weather conditions made the game ugly, leaving us with precious few highlights.
Still, four players deserve special recognition for their efforts in the win and will be awarded a the first of our 2022 Bears Talk game balls.
The stat line isn’t great (8-of-17, 121 yards, 2 TDs, INT), but Fields showed poise and leadership in the face of adversity. The Bears were staring down the barrel of a humiliating loss at home in what was supposed to be a new era of football, but Fields never blinked. He came out of halftime and led three straight touchdown drives to seal what feels like a statement game for this year’s Bears.
Fields took significant steps toward silencing critics with his Week 1 performance.
Welcome back, Mr. Jackson! Entering this game, Jackson had not had an interception since the 2019 season. Some pundits and fans believed that he fell off after getting a big contract, while others suggested it was personnel and scheme issues that affected his game.
I think Jackson settled the debate for us yesterday. Late in the fourth quarter, as the 49ers were driving down the field to attempt their own comeback victory, Jackson read quarterback Trey Lance’s eyes as the young QB locked onto his receiver. The ball came his way, low and in front of the receiver, and Jackson stepped in front of it, secured the interception, and returned the ball to San Francisco’s 25-yard line.
A few plays later, running back Khalil Herbert carried the ball into the endzone to make it a two-score lead for Chicago, and the rest is history.
We got to see the Dante Pettis revenge game after all. Drafted by the 49ers only to be cut early on his rookie deal, Pettis found his way to Chicago this offseason. On a broken play in the third quarter, with the Bears facing 3rd-and-10, down 10-0, Fields escaped a collapsing pocket and rolled to his left. San Francisco had to respect Fields’ ability to run; the entire defense trailed him in pursuit.
That’s when Pettis found himself alone on the right side of the field. Fields saw him, tossed him a floater, and Pettis took it to the house from 51 yards out, breaking two tackles inside the ten yard line.
Pettis flashed a couple times in the preseason, and he flashed again yesterday. Will he prove to be a favorite target for Fields? Time will tell.
Welcome to the NFL, D-Rob! The young rookie defensive end, who was a wide receiver in college until just last season, terrorized the 49ers’ offensive line. He racked up 1.5 sacks in his NFL debut, sevent tackles, and two tackles for a loss.
I was a fan of the Robinson pick during the 2022 NFL Draft. I figured Chicago would stash him on the practice squad, give him time to learn how to be a defensive end, and eventually, perhaps in 2023, he’d emerge as a quality contributor. That isn’t the case, however. He’s already making a splash, and that’s great news for the Bears’ defense.
If Robinson continues playing at this level throughout the 2022 NFL season, he’ll find his name on the short list for defensive rookie of the year. (I know, it’s way too early for that!)
Honorable mentions: the entire offensive line (second half only), Jaquan Brisker, Khalil Herbert, Equanimeous St. Brown, Justin Jones.