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The Infantry: Recapping Bears rookie (and sophomore) performances from Week 3

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears
After an abysmal Week 2, Jordan Howard broke out for 164 total yards on Sunday against the Steelers.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

One week after an absolutely awful performance in the running game, the Chicago Bears rebounded in a major way en route to a 23-17 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen were both at the top of their game. The former had 23 carries, 138 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while the latter had 12 carries and 78 yards. Howard’s power and toughness was on full display throughout the game. He was taken out of the game twice due to aggravations of his shoulder injury, but he went back onto the field each time. He made plenty of big plays, including this game-winning 19-yard touchdown run:

Cohen’s shiftiness and explosiveness were apparent. The Human Joystick made defenders miss on numerous occasions, including the now-famous overtime run which was sadly called back.

The two were also involved in the passing game: they combined for nine receptions and 50 receiving yards. Considering that Mike Glennon is still the Bears’ starting quarterback and the team has very little in the way of talent at the wide receiver position, both Howard and Cohen will continue to play major roles in the team’s offense.

Second-round pick Adam Shaheen finally made a contribution to the offense, catching his first career NFL pass on a two-yard touchdown.

Shaheen also made a crucial block on Howard’s game-winning run, as pointed out by The Ten-Yard Line on Twitter:

Many considered blocking to be an area of improvement for the rookie heading into the season, so it’s encouraging to see him making strides.

Not all was good for the Bears’ youngsters on offense, though. Cody Whitehair had one of the worst outings of his career on Sunday. Although he blocked well on running plays, his performance on passing downs was less than ideal. He allowed two pressures, and had some worrisome snaps, as well. Pro Football Focus gave Whitehair a 83.4 rating as a pass protector, but his grade as a run blocker ended up at a measly 37.2.

This has been an issue for the 2016 second-round pick throughout the year. He’s had multiple snaps out of the shotgun that have ended up at Mike Glennon’s knees, and he’s been thrown off balance by defensive linemen on numerous occasions. Granted, the Bears haven’t allowed him to stay comfortable at one position due to injuries, but if he doesn’t improve in the coming weeks, then he may be in for a sophomore slump.

Speaking of disappointing sophomores, Leonard Floyd failed to show up yet again this week. He only had one pressure on 31 pass-rushing snaps (per PFF), and he ended up with only one tackle on the day. It’s been a slow start to the season for Floyd, who has yet to get his first sack of the season through three games. With a favorable matchup this Thursday against the Green Bay Packers, though, that may change.

Eddie Jackson didn’t have an outstanding day, as he ended up with one tackles and didn’t make that big of an impact in coverage. His partner-in-crime in the secondary, Quintin Demps, reportedly suffered a broken arm, though, so Jackson will have to step up in the veteran’s absence.

Jonathan Bullard only played on 17 of the team’s defensive snaps, but he managed to rack up two tackles in the process. After an impressive preseason, the Florida alum hasn’t been as involved in the defense as some had hoped.

No other rookie or second-year player made much of an impact on Sunday. Deon Bush, Nick Kwiatkoski and Taquan Mizzell were all inactive. Roy Robertson-Harris was on the field for 11 downs, but didn’t do much of note. DeAndre Houston-Carson, who was promoted to the active roster last week, didn’t play on defense, but he was on the field for nearly half of the team’s special teams plays.

In all, it was a decent day for Chicago’s young players. Their running backs stole the show, whereas most of the other failed to show up. And still no sign of Mitch Trubisky.