That was a fun game yesterday for us Chicago Bears fans, because for one glorious afternoon the hype surrounding Justin Fields played out on Soldier Field for all to see. Sure he took a few series to get rolling, and there were some analysts/fans that were quick to jump on that fact on social media, but it was a heck of a drive to end of the first half to get the Bears on the board that got him and the Bears offense going. He then followed that up with a stellar third quarter that included plenty of wow plays.
In the first half the Bears only had 2 first downs, 79 total yards, and 5 penalties. They were flagged 4 more times in the second half, but thanks in large part to Fields, the Bears came back and finished the day with 12 first downs and 339 yards of offense.
All in all, it was a nice debut for Fields and the team definitely has plenty of positives to build off in these next two practice games.
Before I get into the snap counts and individual stats, here is the list of Bears that did not play in the game. Some missed due to injury, and some due to coaches decision.
On defense the Bears were missing both starting safeties, both starting inside linebackers, and their number one nose tackle, but all those players have been practicing a bit and will be ready for the regular season. Chicago was down three projected starters on their offensive line dud to injury, and wide out A-Rob was dressed but he got the day off.
Now let’s take a closer look at the playing time break downs for the Bears and also some individual stats.
With so many players appearing in the game I broke the offense/defense snap count lists into two parts.
The Bears are dealing with some injuries across their offensive line, but I was still surprised to see Lachavious Simmons play every single snap for the Bears at right tackle. Elijah Wilkinson manned the left side for most of the game, and while these two tackles didn’t have completely clean games, they both played decent. But it’s important to note that these two faced off against backups for most of their time in the game.
Fields led the Bears in passing going 14 of 20 (70.0%) for 142 yards, he had 1 TD, and a passer rating of 106.7, and he added a rushing TD on 5 runs for 33 yards, but he had the fumble.
Andy Dalton went 2 for 4 for 18 yards in his few reps. Rookie running back Khalil Herbert had 3 catches for 11 yards and he had 6 runs for 38 yards. Rodney Adams led the Bears in receiving with 4 grabs for 57 yards.
Special teams play is a good indicator on bottom of the depth chart guys that have good chances to make the 53-man roster, so if tight end Jesper Horsted has a bunch of third phase reps again next week he may have a shot at the 53 as the backup U tight end.
Chicago's leading rusher was Artavis Pierce with 50 yards on 5 carries, and his former collage teammate Ryan Nall chipped in with 43 yards on 3 attempts. Also, peep out Nall’s special team snaps. That kept him on the roster a year ago and will be what adds to his value this year. I still think he’s on the bubble, but those reserve running back reps on special teams will be something to keep an eye on next week against the Buffalo Bills.
Nickelback Duke Shelley led the Bears with 6 tackles and he had a pass breakup too. UDFA linebacker Caleb Johnson had 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a pass defended. Alec Ogletree was flashing all afternoon and he ended up with 4 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 PD.
The Bears had three sacks on the day from Mike Pennell, Charles Snowden, and Daniel Archibong, and all three of these guys looked good in the second half.
Rookie Khyiris Tonga got the start at the nose and while he failed to scratch the stat sheet, I thought he did his job anchoring the middle of the defense when he was in.
Michael Joseph, who has bene playing corner the last couple years, was lining up at safety against the Dolphins.
Ledarius Mack was credited with a QB hit in his 2 snaps.
*The above image has players that only played in the third phase.
Pat O’Donnell punted 7 times for a 55.4 average, but his 40.6 net average was mostly due to some breakdowns by the coverage units.
Cairo Santos nailed a 53 yard field goal, and Brian Johnson hit a 44 yarder.
Patrick Scales had 2 special teams tackles.
To check out the full Bears vs Dolphins box score I find that ESPN has an easy to navigate site.
All statistics and snap counts are taken directly from the NFL’s Game Statistic and Information System, as are the accompanying pictures.