It was nice to have NFL football back, if only for a brief couple of drives.
Plus, it was a nice change of pace for the Chicago Bears. Typically, fans have to either extrapolate from a few plays and argue about how good or improved some facet or player of the offense looked. Or, conversely, they have to make a bevy of excuses for why no one should read too much into that.
But this was exactly what we wanted from the starting offense. Exactly. Two drives, two long touchdowns. We wanted to see DJ Moore show off. We wanted to see Justin Fields making plays.
And if you want to wade into the excuses of “AIR YARDS” well my colleague Josh Sunderbruch has a nice rebuttal here. And if you want to yell about the Tennessee Titans playing backups, then I would emphasize that then the starters should be able to punch in two-50+ yard scores easily.
For the starters, then it was exactly what we all wanted.
But beyond that, there was more to love.
Tyrique Stevenson, CB - He got roasted early in the game, but I think that’s expected of any young cornerback. But for the most part, I thought he looked pretty good. There are going to be frustrating times with him this season, but that’s the case for any rookie CB outside of the once-in-a-generation guys like Darrelle Revis or Patrick Surtain.
Khalil Herbert, RB - I feel like there has been some doubt around Herbert being the No. 1 back. Maybe it’s because a lot of people have been excited for Roschon Johnson since he got drafted. Or perhaps it was the addition of solid veteran D’Onta Foreman.
Either way though, Herbert’s 52-yard screen catch and run TD felt like some vindication. It was a little of a “oh yeah, he was really fun last year” moment. I’m not sure he’s letting up on his grasp of the top spot to any of the additions to the RB room.
Zacch Pickens, DT - It was a good game overall for the rookie class. While there is an argument for a couple of different guys here, including veteran Trevis Gipson, I think Pickens’ performance deserves the nod. He notched a sack, a QB hit, a TFL and recovered a fumble.
Velus Jones Jr., WR - After mostly good reports from training camp, it was kind of a bummer to see another muffed punt from Jones. Specifically on a ball that really made no sense to try and corral after it bounced and the opponent was closing in.
Tyler Scott, WR - Scott also had a fumble after his only catch. He only caught one of his two targets. It just wasn’t the debut that I think we wanted.
P.J. Walker, QB - Reports out of training camp haven’t been kind to Walker, but it’s been overlooked because we’re all just excited (rightly) about Justin Fields. But then it carried over to the game, with just 50 percent of his passes being completed and an ugly interception. This Bears season is already going to be over-reliant on JF1, but Saturday was a scary reminder of the QB abyss that this team is hopefully on the brink of escaping.
Which performances stood out to you?