Chicago Bears rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. finally made his NFL debut in Sunday’s 20-12 loss to the New York Giants, and unfortunately for the 2022 third-round pick, it didn’t go well.
It was a nightmare.
Jones didn’t factor in the Bears’ passing game and was used primarily as a kick returner on special teams. Yet, even with such a limited role in Week 4, he played a big part in Chicago losing the game.
With just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Bears trailing 20-12, Jones entered the game to field a fourth-down punt after Chicago’s defense stalled Giants quarterback Daniel Jones’ attempt to put the win on ice. Jones, whose special teams ability was a big ‘plus’ on his NFL draft scouting report, had a chance to announce his arrival to the league with a big play in the game’s biggest moment. Instead, he muffed the punt, and the Giants recovered.
“The wind was carrying the ball a lot, especially at that direction,” Jones said via NBC Sports Chicago. “You just got to beat the ball to the spot. I feel like I didn’t do that. I was still like moving with it instead of beating the ball to the spot.”
Jones’ muffed punt wasn’t the only reason the Bears fell to 2-2. The passing game was inconsistent again, and the defense looked lost in its attempt to stop the combination of running back Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, who flashed his underrated athleticism with 68 yards and two touchdowns as a runner.
But even with all of that bad, the Bears still had a chance to tie the game if Jones did his job.
“It’s really frustrating,” Jones said. “But I’m definitely going to let this one sit and hurt. It’s going to motivate me next time I’m out there. I know my abilities. I know the type of returner I am. So I’m going to let this one sit and hurt.
“We’re in the pros now. I’m a pro. This isn’t college. It’s a job. You just got to focus on next week and the task at hand. It’s a long season.”