Head coach Matt Eberflus earned the first win of his career on Saturday as the Bears downed the Chiefs 19-14 at Soldier Field. Chicago had 23 players on the sideline, including new tackle Riley Reiff. Rookie tackle Braxton Jones was pulled with the rest of the offensive starters after 18 plays. That clearly indicates that he is expected to start Week 1 against the 49ers. In fact, a number of rookies excelled in Saturday’s win.
Jones, Trestan Ebner, and Jaquan Brisker had strong NFL debuts, though nobody played better than Jack Sanborn. The UDFA linebacker from Wisconsin via Lake Zurich had a big interception and a fumble recovery. Eberflus wants his team to be more opportunistic on defense, and two takeaways mean Sanborn will see more of the playing field.
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) August 13, 2022
Ebner, a sixth-round pick from Baylor, showed why he might be able to stick as a change-of-pace back. He showed elite burst on a 27-yard run, and he caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Siemian. Ebner also had a 34-yard kickoff return.
Okay, @TrestanEbner 👀
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 13, 2022
Punter Trenton Gill, also a rookie, had a big game. He landed three punts inside the 20-yard line, had one touchback, and a long of 53 yards with some steady hang time. His best kick was a 45-yarder with just more than two minutes remaining that pinned the Chiefs on their 3-yard line.
Why the Bears Won
After falling quickly behind 14-0, the Bears scored 19 unanswered points with their second and third stringers on the field. Nearly all of Chicago’s rookies had good games. Kyler Gordon, the team’s top draft pick this year, did not play.
Sanborn’s interception came with Chicago down 14-0 early in the third quarter. Ebner scored on the 12-yard pass from Siemian six plays later.
Stats That Matter
- Sanborn was the star of the game. He had seven solo tackles, including one for a loss, in addition to the two turnovers.
- Justin Fields was 4-of-7 for 48 yards and took two sacks. He did make two terrific throws, the first a lob down the left sideline to Darnell Mooney for 26 yards and the second a tightrope along the right sideline to Tajae Sharpe for a 19-yard gain.
- Siemian finished 7-of-13 for 89 yards and two scores. He was sacked once.
- The backup quarterback tossed two touchdowns in the second half, one to Ebner and the other to Dazz Newsome.
- Newsome muffed a punt that resulted in an 11-yard loss. Chris Finke returned the other two punts for 12 total yards.
- Gill averaged 42.6 yards on seven punts with a 36.4 net.
- The Bears did not turn the ball over once. The offense was also 2-for-4 in the red zone.
- Chicago committed five penalties at the cost of 32 yards.
The Bears have a short week before playing their second exhibition game. Chicago will travel to Seattle for a Thursday night tilt with the Seahawks. Eberflus will probably play his starters for at least one full quarter.