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The Infantry: Recapping Bears rookie (and sophomore) performances from Week 2

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This game was pretty bad, you guys.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tarik Cohen continued to impress in the passing game, despite a less-than-ideal performance on the ground.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Can we just move on from this game and pretend it never happened?

The Chicago Bears fell victim to a complete slaughter on Sunday, losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 29-7 rout. Both sides of the ball failed to get much going in the way of momentum. The defense allowed Mike Evans to have a fantastic day for the Bucs, in addition to giving up 117 rushing yards. And the offense, well, let’s just say they were total garbage.

While some of Chicago’s young players had a few flashes of potential, there were also a few youngsters who failed to show up this week.

All eyes were on Tarik Cohen heading into this game. Coming off of a fantastic Bears debut, the rookie running back became a hot waiver wire commodity in most of fantasy football leagues. Many national pundits believed that the Human Joystick would build off of his impressive outing against the Atlanta Falcons. Although he didn’t do quite as well as he did last week, he did was a valuable part of the Bears’ offense.

Cohen led the team in receptions for the second week in a row, catching eight passes throughout the course of the game. He also finished in third with 55 receiving yards. Running the ball, though, he wasn’t as lucky. He only had 13 rushing yards on seven carries, which totals out to less than two yards per carry.

The rookie also had two punt returns for a total of 10 yards. His most notable play on special teams, though, was his fumble that he gave up on a punt late in the first quarter. Cohen stated in an interview with the press that he was trying to stop the rolling of the ball, but there was no real justification for his gaffe. He was surrounded by numerous Buccaneers when he picked the ball up, so there was little to no room for him to return the ball. Instead, he picked up the ball and dropped it soon after, leading to a one-play, 13-yard touchdown drive by Tampa Bay.

He will make less of the those mistakes the more he plays on special teams - he wasn’t a returner in college, let’s not forget - but it was still a bad decision on the rookie’s part.

Speaking of disappointing running backs, Jordan Howard had the single worst game of his NFL career on Sunday. The sophomore only ran for nine yards on seven carries, infuriating many a fantasy owner in the process.

Howard had been dealing with shoulder problems before the game, and reportedly left the stadium in a sling. If he further aggravated his injury, then his performance would make a lot of sense. Three of his seven carries resulted in a loss of yards, and he didn’t have that same rough-and-tumble style of running that he usually does. Granted, Chicago’s offensive line didn’t give him or Cohen much to work with, but his performance was still unsatisfactory, to say the least.

One of Eddie Jackson’s biggest concerns heading into the season was his tackling ability. This week, he proved doubters wrong, as he led the team with eight total tackles. Arguably the best one was a tackle for a loss on a safety run blitz.

Although Jackson wasn't great in coverage, it was reassuring to see that his tackling skills seem to be improving slightly.

Leonard Floyd had a somewhat decent outing, as well. The second-year edge rusher had two tackles, and played a role in a sack which was eventually credited to Eddie Goldman. He also recovered a fumble forced by Pernell McPhee, in what was the first caused turnover of the year for Chicago’s defense. While he hasn’t been the world beater many of us Bears fans (including myself) had hoped he would be yet, he hasn’t been a liability for the defense, either.

Nick Kwiatkoski was off to a great start for the Bears; he had four tackles in the opening drive. However, he injured his pectoral early on in the game, and missed the rest of the game. Thankfully, though, the injury doesn’t seem to be all that serious.

Cody Whitehair’s versatility came into play this week, although not in the way the Bears had likely hoped. After injuries to Josh Sitton and Tom Compton, Whitehair played snaps at center, left guard and right guard on Sunday. Despite playing three different positions, he seemed to transition into all spots rather seamlessly.

Future Hall of Famer Tanner Gentry made his NFL debut this week after Kendall Wright injured his arm. The Wyoming alum finished with two catches for 27 yards. He did have an unfortunate drop on a drive late in the game, but he had an overall decent NFL debut.

Undrafted second-year players Roy Robertson-Harris and Cre’Von LeBlanc finished with two tackles and one tackle, respectively. Both players appear to be key depth players for the Bears on defense, so seeing contributions from them is encouraging.

Adam Shaheen was silent throughout the game, and Mitch Trubisky didn’t see the field at all. However, it’s likely that the two rookies - the latter even more so - will have increased roles in the offense sooner rather than later.