10 thoughts after the Chicago Bears ran for 281 yards — the most they’ve piled up in a single game since Walter Payton was leading the way 38 years ago — and got some key takeaways to defeat the Houston Texans 23-20 on Cairo Santos’ 30-yard field goal as time expired.
1. The ‘Pay Roquan Smith’ crowd, which was pretty quiet after the Week 2 loss in Green Bay, has new fuel for the cause.
Smith had a dynamite performance against the Texans, leading the team with 16 tackles, two stops for losses and an interception in the closing moments that made the Bears a winner. It’s tied for the second-most tackles in a game in Smith’s career, one shy of the 17 he had in a home loss to the Baltimore Ravens last season, and ought to put him in the running for NFC defensive player of the week honors.
Smith played well despite missing all three practices last week with a hip injury he sustained in the Packers game. Playing in Sunday’s game was important to him, and when asked how he felt, he said he was “good enough to go.”
The interception set up Cairo Santos for a chip-shot field goal that kept the Bears atop the NFC North at 2-1 with the Packers and Minnesota Vikings. It also prevented what appeared to be a certain overtime game.
The Texans had third-and-1 on their 26-yard line with 1:13 remaining and went with an empty backfield, so everyone knew a pass was coming. Quarterback Davis Mills looked for running back Rex Burkhead on his left side, but defensive tackle Angelo Blackson got his right arm up and deflected the pass.
“If you can’t get there, get your hands up,” Blackson said. “It was an opportune time. Ended up getting a tip. Roquan? He might have been in on every play. I mean the guy is a baller — true baller.”
The Bears were in zone coverage. Smith was an underneath hook defender. Mills looked front side at first, but linebacker Nicholas Morrow was blanketing tight end Pharaoh Brown. Mills turned back side, where the Texans had a high-low scheme with a dig route by wide receiver Nico Collins behind Smith and a sit route in front of him by Burkhead. When Mills turned and opened his hips, Smith broke before the ball was out.
“I figured the quarterback was just going to try to get the first down and move the sticks,” Smith said. “I said, ‘OK, I’m going to break on it,’ and I took a chance. Then I just said, ‘Oh!’ I couldn’t believe it. It fell right to me. They say catch the ones that come to you and I did it, and the rest is history.”
Smith returned the interception 18 yards to the Texans 12-yard line, and all that was left was the offense ensuring the ball was on the left hashmark, where Santos preferred it. After the play, Smith heaved the football into the south end zone stands.
“To all my supporters,” Smith said. “I threw it to all of them. And saying ‘F you’ to all the ones that don’t.”
If that isn’t a reminder of how emotional things have been for Smith since training camp started with him in a “hold-in” — removing himself from practice in the hopes the Bears would sign him to a mega contract extension — I don’t know what is.
He seems to have done a good job of compartmentalizing the football and business sides, the latter of which is on pause after the hold-in ended. But it’s fair to wonder how it affects him on a daily and weekly basis. Smith didn’t look great in the first two games, but he’s playing in a new scheme at a new position and Sunday he certainly looked like the elite player the Bears expect.
The pick wasn’t his only big play. Don’t forget his stop of Dameon Pierce in the third quarter. The Bears were leading 20-17 and the Texans mounted a time-consuming drive, maintaining possession after a fake punt at midfield. (More on that special teams play later.)
Pierce tried the right side of the line on third-and-1 from the Bears 2-yard line, and Smith knifed through to drop the rookie for a 3-yard loss. That forced a Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal to tie the game when Houston could have gone ahead with a touchdown.
The Texans were running isolation to the open side of the formation. They had a combination block on defensive tackle Mike Pennel and tried to scoop block defensive tackle Justin Jones. It opened the door for Smith to race through the B gap.
It’s an instinctual play. Most of the time, he should scrape over the top and be the force player to the play side of the field. Instead, Smith saw the B gap open and pulled the trigger.
What can’t be overlooked is Jones did a really nice job of not allowing himself to be scooped. He created disruption up the field, ripping through left guard Kenyon Green, and strong-side linebacker Joe Thomas on the play side ran downhill and through the outside shoulder of fullback Troy Hairston. Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad also did a nice job of maintaining the edge. Smith gets the credit, but his teammates were working inside.
I don’t believe a singular game — certainly not one against a bad roster like the Texans — would sway general manager Ryan Poles’ thoughts on Smith’s value. Poles has the benefit of time and the next 14 games to form a conclusion on how he wants to approach the situation in the offseason. So to think this game gets Smith his asking price, I don’t think so. It helps. No question.
“I’ve showcased what I can do year in and year out,” Smith said. “Not having camp, you know, first two games still working my way in. But, hey, third game normally feeling myself out. I think here on out you can expect some big things.”
Smith said his undisclosed injury in training camp would have forced him to miss significant time in July and August even if he hadn’t been in the hold-in. So that business decision didn’t affect his preparation for the season. All of that is in the past, and Poles and everyone else will be evaluating what Smith does in games and not what he did during camp.
In a chat with an NFC personnel man last week about an unrelated subject, the source said he was rather surprised the Bears didn’t pay Smith $20 million or so per season. His thinking was Smith is a perfect fit in Matt Eberflus’ defense.
Another source said Eberflus was very high on Smith in the 2018 draft, when the Indianapolis Colts held the sixth pick. Of course, coordinators don’t have a lot of sway in the draft room, and the Colts did just fine by selecting All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson two picks before the Bears chose Smith.
The point is, this could wind up being a long-term partnership with Smith in the middle of Eberflus’ defense. We just have to see what plays out over the entire season.
2. There is work to do in pass protection — though the line can’t be held responsible for all 10 sacks through three games — but offensive line coach Chris Morgan has done an exemplary job getting his group rolling in the ground game.
Going into the Sunday night game, the Bears ranked second in the NFL with 590 rushing yards and fourth with 5.4 yards per carry. Their 281 rushing yards in Sunday’s victory were their most since Walter Payton had 155 to lead a 283-yard effort in a loss at Dallas on Sept. 30, 1984.
The last time the Bears had 590 rushing yards through three games was 1989, and this is a credit to terrific work up front by a unit that has been maligned since the start of the offseason.
Khalil Herbert became the featured back when David Montgomery left with what the team called a knee/ankle injury in the first quarter, and Herbert hammered the Texans for 157 yards on 20 carries.
“It really feels good,” center Sam Mustipher said. “Wish all the best for Dave. Obviously, most importantly it is good to get the ‘W.’ Anytime you get to rush the ball like that, that’s an offensive lineman’s dream. You get to get behind your pads. Coach put us in some great situations, some great looks, some things that we saw on film that we were able to exploit. All of it came together in the run game today.”
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and quarterback Justin Fields had been asked how playing against a similar Cover-2-based scheme to what the Bears run might aid them against the Texans. Where it made a difference was in the trenches.
“We had practiced against a similar defense all camp,” Mustipher said. “There are some stunts they do up front, some pressures that they bring that present advantageous looks for our running backs and angles for us, and our coaches put together a great game plan for us to go out and execute. They gave us great tips all week.”
The Texans presented a five-man front in the third quarter when the Bears began a possession on their 25-yard line and ran outside zone on a toss play to Herbert. Guards Cody Whitehair and Teven Jenkins cleaned and climbed to linebackers on the second level immediately. Tight end Cole Kmet and right tackle Larry Borom made their blocks.
The Texans had one unblocked defender — safety Jalen Pitre — in the box, and fullback Khari Blasingame targeted him. Everyone was blocked to the front side, and Mustipher turned back and blocked the nose tackle while left tackle Braxton Jones got enough of a piece of the back-side defender to open a massive hole.
In outside zone there are three options for the running back: bounce the ball outside, bang it to the hole immediately or bend the ball back. Herbert bent it back to daylight with the aid of a perfectly blocked play.
“We were looking at the pictures on the sidelines,” Herbert said. “We could have driven a bus through there.”
The Bears ran a lot of toss plays and duo, which is an inside zone power, and the Texans didn’t have an answer while allowing the third-most rushing yards in franchise history. The Tennessee Titans ran for 288 yards on Lovie Smith’s defense during Week 17 last year, and the Seattle Seahawks ran for 320 against the Texans in 2005.
“That’s special anytime you can dominate in one phase of the game, a phase that we’re directly influencing … especially when we lose one of our studs, one of our offensive weapons,” said Lucas Patrick, who started at right guard and rotated with Teven Jenkins. “The preparation (Herbert) has put in is impressive. Didn’t flinch or anything. Just rolled right in and did some great things. (Fields) put us in some great looks. He really did some special things at the line, getting us in the right plays. A lot of credit goes to him as well, kind of managing the offense, getting us the win.
“Every week you game plan and hope to have a game like this. Our standards are high and we’re going to keep pushing our standards higher and hopefully we have games like this every week.”
The Texans entered with struggles stopping the run, but the Bears took it to the next level. Wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown took a jet sweep 41 yards on the first play of the second possession. It looked like the Texans just watched him go.
“Is it a surprise we gave up that many yards?” Smith said. “Absolutely. That’s not how we’ve played. One thing for a couple of (runs past) the first wave of defense, but the big chunk plays, one over 50, where they had two plays that were almost 100 yards. You can’t do that. We’re not set up that way. We don’t play zero coverage. We should have a last line of defense, a safety in the middle of the field. A lot of things have to happen wrong for them to be able to get some of those plays.”
A lot of things have to go right for the Bears, and that started with the play of the line and Getsy’s play selection.
3. Midway through last season, the previous Bears regime felt like Khalil Herbert likely was the future of the team’s running game.
Subbing for David Montgomery, who missed two games with a left knee injury, Herbert carried for 97 yards against the Packers and 100 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bears lost both games, but you got a clear picture of why the franchise felt really good about a running back it was able to scoop up in the sixth round out of Virginia Tech.
The severity of Montgomery’s current injury is not yet known. He got twisted up in the first quarter on a play that included offsetting penalties — roughing the passer against the Texans’ Jerry Hughes and intentional grounding by Justin Fields.
However long Montgomery is sidelined, the Bears will feel good about their ability to continue to generate profits in the running game after Herbert ran for the most yards by a Bears running back since Jordan Howard had 167 in a 2017 overtime victory against the Baltimore Ravens.
“The O-line did a really good job of opening up holes for me,” Herbert said. “KB (fullback Khari Blasingame) did a great job of blocking. I (texted Montgomery) that was for him today. We held it down and did good today.”
Herbert has been understanding of the rotation and knew he wouldn’t get much action last week when Montgomery was on a heater in Green Bay, rolling for 122 of the team’s 180 rushing yards.
“I just try to make the most out of opportunities,” Herbert said. “I feel like when I take that mindset into the game, it helps me make the most of it.
“We’re just trying to find a way to win any way we can. O-line does a great job of blocking, opening up holes for me.”
Herbert scored on an 11-yard run in the first quarter to stake the Bears to a 10-0 lead. It was G-lead with front side with left guard Cody Whitehair pulling and kicking out safety Jalen Pitre, who spun underneath. That forced Herbert to cut outside, and he made a quick move. Right tackle Larry Borom washed linebacker Garrett Wallow past the point of attack, and that created an alley where Herbert, running with low pad level, was able to power his way into the end zone.
Rookie Trestan Ebner will get a bigger piece of the action during any time Montgomery misses. It was clear the Bears wanted to get him more involved this week. He came in during the second series and finished with 23 yards on seven carries.
“Each week, it’s kind of like if the game plays out a certain way, we’re going to work all three of you in,” Ebner said. “Last week, D-Mo played like he did and you never take someone out that is hot like that. It was just a week-by-week thing.”
Ebner arrived as a sixth-round pick from Baylor with a great ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. More playing time would give him a chance to prove there’s more to his game than being a safety valve or short-area target.
“I feel like I am a pretty good running back, especially once I get comfortable with the league and get adjusted and used to it fully,” he said. “But I do love to catch the ball.”
4. It was another rough game for Justin Fields.
Similar to what I wrote after the previous two games, the Bears can’t win consistently when the quarterback completes eight passes and throws for 106 yards. Fields was 8 of 17, was intercepted twice by safety Jalen Pitre and was sacked five times.
“Just got to get better,” Fields said. “Plain and simple. I think that’s it. I just played like — I don’t want to say the A-word — but I played like trash.”
We can use an A-word here that Fields didn’t say. It’s awful. Fields is 23 of 45 (51.1%) for 297 yards with two touchdowns, four interceptions and a 50.0 passer rating. The Bears are running a time traveler offense — they’ve gone back to the early 1980s if not earlier.
The last team to complete 23 or fewer passes through the first three weeks was the 1982 New England Patriots. The Bears are running the ball like they did in Walter Payton’s heyday, but the passing offense is a wreck and everyone — Fields, the offensive line, the skill-position targets — has a hand in it.
Fields’ 29-yard scramble on the fifth play of the game should have been a pass. The Bears were running a smash route. Equanimeous St. Brown was on a deep corner route and Dante Pettis was running an underneath route. Protection was good and St. Brown was open. The ball has to come out. Fields didn’t cut it loose, protection started to break down and he motored upfield. When the Bears watch the tape, they will say the ball has to be thrown.
You can find plays Fields made. The 24-yard pass to tight end Cole Kmet was a good one. The Bears were in a reduced bunch formation with three receivers to the top of the formation. They called mesh, which is underneath crossers. St. Brown ran a crossing route and running back Trestan Ebner released from the backfield. Kmet ran a drag route. This is a classic zone beater. St. Brown ran right at linebacker Christian Kirksey. That held him and created the second-level window for Fields. He drove the ball to Kmet on time. This was a really nice play.
But such plays are few and far between, and the interceptions by Pitre were really bad. The Bears tried to fool the Texans with misdirection on the first one, having wide receiver Darnell Mooney motion into the backfield to run a swing route. There were three vertical routes and Fields needed to throw the ball sooner to Kmet. There was a good window, but the ball didn’t come out in time.
On the second interception, intended for Mooney, the ball needed to go somewhere else. The Texans were in Cover-2 and Kirksey did a good job of matching and carrying Mooney. If Fields really wanted to target Mooney, he had to drive the ball to the receiver’s back shoulder. Instead, he put air under it and that gave Pitre an easy pick.
Fields had check-downs to running back Khalil Herbert and Kmet. Let one of them catch a pass, try to break a tackle and see if they can move the chains on third-and-6. There was a corner route as well, a Cover-2 beater. Instead, the ball went into traffic in the middle of the field.
“Making him put some air on the ball and with that, that allowed me to make the play on the ball on those two plays,” Pitre said.
The Bears can live with mistakes. They don’t want to see the same mistakes repeated, and they really need to avoid turnovers as they’re not built for high-scoring games. Fields knows he needs to be better than this. It’s another reminder of how far this passing game has to go.
5. Free safety Eddie Jackson has two interceptions in three games, and he has Kindle Vildor and Jaquan Brisker to thank for the crucial one in the end zone.
Vildor, who had been playing only in the sub package, was forced into more action with starting cornerback Jaylon Johnson (quad) out. Vildor made a terrific play to break up Davis Mills’ pass to Brandin Cooks in the end zone on second-and-goal from the 7 late in the first quarter.
“It was a tough formation for me with one being off the ball and three wide receivers,” Vildor said. “(Cooks) kind of just jetted in and I was at full speed. Quarterback kind of underthrew him a little bit and I tried to catch it myself. I heard everyone screaming and I thought they caught it or something. I looked and I saw Eddie with the ball and I was happy.”
The Bears were in Cover-1. Everyone plays man coverage inside the 10-yard line. Vildor didn’t give a lot of ground off the snap. There was a little shuffle and he closed immediately to Cooks’ hip. He closed and undercut it, and that’s how you play red-zone defense. The defender is supposed to get to the top hip and when you see the ball thrown, slide to the bottom hip because you know they can’t throw it over his head. Vildor was close enough to nearly intercept the pass himself.
The play might have been made by the rookie safety Brisker, though. He did a great job of jamming tight end Pharaoh Brown at the line of scrimmage. Brown was releasing upfield with the goal of picking or rubbing Vildor on the route to create space for Cooks and open a throwing window for Mills. Brisker stuffed Brown, Vildor had sticky coverage and Jackson was the right man in the right spot at the right time.
6. On one hand, you don’t figure the Bears will tinker with the offensive line as well as they are running the ball.
On the other hand, they have to do a better job of protecting Justin Fields from pressure off the edge. The Bears are helping rookie left tackle Braxton Jones on a high percentage of passing plays, and that’s a strategy defenses will use in their game plans to create mismatch situations elsewhere.
Jones had a rough go of it in the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers. He played a little better in terms of pass protection in Week 2 when the Packers edge defenders were primarily concerned with keeping Fields in the pocket. And he had a tough time pass blocking against the Texans. Defensive end Jerry Hughes had two sacks.
I don’t know what the solution is and I don’t know if the Bears will consider making a move. Do they hope Jones can show incremental progress as the season unfolds and slowly become more comfortable going against the kind of pass rushers he never saw at Southern Utah? They believe he has the talent to improve by a lot.
Do they consider sliding right tackle Larry Borom over to the left side? In that scenario, veteran Riley Reiff could play right tackle or the Bears could kick Teven Jenkins out to right tackle and keep Lucas Patrick at right guard. Or do the Bears consider Reiff at left tackle?
There are a lot of ways this could go. Maybe the most likely for the time being is keeping Jones in the starting role and hoping he can improve as the season moves along. This is something to keep an eye on because at some point the offense doesn’t want to have to consider accommodations on pass calls with this kind of regularity.
7. Interesting to see undrafted rookie Jaylon Jones get the call with top cornerback Jaylon Johnson sidelined.
Jones spent a lot of time running with the first team at nickel back during training camp, and in the sub package Sunday he was lined up on the outside replacing Johnson, who suffered a quadriceps injury in practice Thursday. Unofficially, I had Jones for 29 snaps as the Bears spent more time in their base defense than the previous two weeks.
Jones looked like he held up pretty well. It’s not like the Texans circled his name and beat him time and again like you see happen to some young cornerbacks. He was credited with two tackles after playing exclusively on special teams the first two weeks.
“I think it went all right,” Jones said. “I am really, really hard on myself so I don’t want to speak too early. I didn’t give up (anything) but I am going to watch the film and see.”
Jones was headed out to meet his agent, Damien Butler, for dinner, but he wanted to start the self-evaluation process.
“Probably while we are eating, I am going to be watching the film just to dissect what I can get better at,” he said.
The Bears might have a pretty good find in Jones, who was undrafted out of Ole Miss. Veterans gave him props for his work on special teams last week, and if the Bears didn’t think he had growth potential at cornerback, he wouldn’t have spent nearly as much time as he did with the first unit during camp.
A four-star recruit out of Allen (Texas) High School, where he was teammates with Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, Jones got off to a good start at Ole Miss before suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in 2018. He returned to play in 2019 but in the final game of the season suffered a partial tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee.
During the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, a pectoral muscle injury sent Jones to the sideline. He was healthy in 2021, but by then he had a big-time injury label from NFL scouts.
“They thought with the knee injuries I was a 4.6-type guy,” Jones said.
When he ran the 40-yard dash at pro day in 4.41 seconds — and some teams had him in the 4.3 range — interest was sparked. He wound up signing with the Bears and when he arrived, he figured special teams was his ticket to a job, although he didn’t have much experience with it in college.
“When I came in as a rookie, Coach (Richard) Hightower said he liked my body frame and he compared me to some guys he had at San Fran,” said the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Jones. “That gave me the alert to just do what I can on special teams. My main focus of training camp was really all special teams.
“The defensive thing, I stayed in the playbook and I stayed ready and when those guys went down, I was (fine). But to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to defense. I had older guys at Ole Miss who went undrafted tell me (to focus on special teams). I put my ego to the side and I knew coming in here my first role would be special teams.”
For a short period anyway, Jones will be able to showcase what he can do at cornerback.
8. Similarities exist between Matt Eberflus’ 2022 Bears and the 2004 Bears coached by Lovie Smith.
While the roster is turning over at a faster rate now, it’s a very similar defensive scheme and former Bears defensive end Alex Brown says there are parallels.
“That answer is yes,” Brown said. “Now, I want to say that with respect to the amount of talented players we had. I’m talking about three years prior to Lovie getting there, that team went 13-3 and went to the playoffs. So there was talent here. Granted, we only had Marty Booker when we’re talking about skill-position players on offense and A-Train (Anthony Thomas), who would run the ball a little bit. You already had Mike Brown and Brian Urlacher. But you go out and you start getting talent. Thomas Jones, Tommie Harris, Tank Johnson, Chris Harris. You go out and get Adewale Ogunleye (in a trade for Booker).
“So you have to bring in talent and you have to draft talent. I think that is where this is going to start next year where you’ve got draft capital and you have a big number in available salary-cap space. Yes, there is an opportunity here (this season) to find out what they are good at, to try to find an identity now. Winning isn’t as important right now because you have to find out what you do well. What they do well is, well, they run the football.
“I didn’t name them but we also went out and got Fred Miller and John Tait, and Olin Kreutz was already here. So we’re talking about quality across the board. We were going out and getting these players. If you don’t do that, it’s not going to work. You can’t just say: ‘The offensive line stinks. We need them to play better.’ They’re not just going to play better. Imagine if they are playing at their height right now. You know what I am saying?
“That’s where I am at. It’s tough. You can’t just go out in one year and get better players. But, yeah, you have to eventually get more talented players in there and then the competition level goes up and everything else kind of falls into place. I do see some similarities, but I want to say it with respect to the guys we had there when Lovie came in.”
Where Brown sees a mirror image is in how the defensive players are flying around the field and, if not making plays, being in position to make them.
“You saw that in preseason,” Brown said. “When the tackle is made you see three, four, five guys in there in that final television frame. That’s what you want. What you can’t live with as a coach or shouldn’t live with is one of your guys punching the ball out and then three of their guys are around the ball and you can’t get that takeaway. Can’t live with that. That’s why you need guys running to the football. They’re doing that now.
“Last year, you only saw Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith running to the football constantly. All of the time. Quinn was under Rod Marinelli at Dallas. He understood that you don’t play if you don’t run to the ball. So you would see him sprinting to the ball, and last year it was very evident because nobody else really was sprinting. Now you see more guys sprinting.”
9. As I detailed above, Roquan Smith’s tackle for a loss in the third quarter was a huge play.
It limited the Texans to a field goal on a drive that got a boost from a fake punt — something Bears special teams coordinator Richard Hightower will be able to use as a coaching point for his unit.
The Bears were in punt safe with the Texans facing fourth-and-1 from their 46-yard line. The Texans used a direct snap to personal protector M.J. Stewart, a reserve safety, and he found a hole to gain 3 yards and get the Houston offense back on the field.
It’s not like the Texans caught the Bears off guard. The Bears recognized that with the Texans near midfield and needing only 1 yard, it was a prime area for a fake. Sometimes when a special teams unit goes into punt safe, the kicking team will call off the fake. The Texans went ahead with it.
The punt safe unit has one job: to prevent a potential fake. Sometimes players in punt safe can have a false sense of security, figuring that with defensive players on the field, the opponent won’t attempt a fake. I don’t know if the Bears would admit to that, but it looks like that was the case here.
The Texans used wedge blocking. Defensive tackles Angelo Blackson and Justin Jones got blown off the ball with Texans linebackers Neville Hewitt and Jalen Reeves-Maybin creating a large gap. Bears linebacker Nicholas Morrow and defensive end Robert Quinn recognized the fake to Stewart but were late.
10. A 2-1 record is something for Matt Eberflus to be proud of.
Look around the league and the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals are 1-2. The Los Angeles Chargers spent a boatload of money in the offseason and are 1-2. The Las Vegas Raiders made some huge moves and are 0-3.
Am I saying the Bears will be better than those teams? Not necessarily. But they have a better record now, and never forget the Bill Parcells adage that you are what your record says you are.
The schedule will be tough from the standpoint that the Bears play one home game in their next five — Thursday, Oct. 13, against the Washington Commanders. Teams always prefer to be home on a short week for a Thursday game, so that’s an advantage.
The Bears catch the New York Giants, who play the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, on a short week heading into Sunday’s meeting at MetLife Stadium. After an Oct. 9 game at Minnesota followed by the Commanders game, there are back-to-back road games on Monday, Oct. 24, at New England and Oct. 30 at Dallas.
It’s a tough stretch, especially for a young team, but two of the next three games appear very winnable.
10a. The new turf at Soldier Field held up well after the wild rainstorm two weeks ago during the opener against the 49ers. No one knew exactly what to expect after playing on such a wet surface.
“It improved,” long snapper Patrick Scales said. “Two weeks, so there were not many seams in there. Especially with all the rain, it was hard to say. This is a good surface to play on.”
10b. Wide receiver Byron Pringle left the stadium wearing a walking boot on his right foot to protect what the team announced was a calf injury.
10c. The pass rush probably wasn’t where the Bears wanted it to be, although credit defensive tackle Justin Jones with two hits on Davis Mills. Production from the three technique is essential.
10d. The Fox Sports crew of Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Pam Oliver will call the Bears-Giants game Sunday at MetLife Stadium. That’s the same crew that handled the season opener against the 49ers.
10e. The Giants opened as 2½-point favorites at Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.