The Chicago Bears kicked off their 2022 campaign with a thrilling 19-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. They open their season with a 1-0 record.
The Bears now share first place in the NFC North with the Minnesota Vikings. Both the Lions and Packers look up in the standings with their 0-1 records.
Too soon to talk records? Probably. But, given that numerous analysts and national media outlets wrote this team off from the start of the offseason, it feels pretty good. So, let's savior this moment while it lasts.
Nevertheless, the new era of Bears football is officially here. The Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus regime got their first meaningful game under their belts. Without further ado, here are the takeaways from Sunday's game.
First and foremost, the most important piece of the puzzle is quarterback Justin Fields. This game marks the beginning of his second season in the league. In addition, that also means his second head coach, second offensive coordinator, and second NFL offensive scheme.
Sunday's game was his first test. The 49ers have a stout defense and, for the first half, it looked concerning for Fields' development. The offense was practically inept and Fields threw a horrendous interception. Nevertheless, in the second half Fields lit a spark in the offense and carried the unit on his shoulders.
In the third quarter, he turned a broken play into an off-script 51-yard TD pass to Dante Pettis. Fields' ability to run provides an element to his game that makes him so dangerous. He's so dangerous that all the 49ers defenders followed the QB to one side and left Pettis all alone.
His second touchdown pass was one that should silence some skeptics for a while. Fields hung in the pocket and connected with Equanimeous St. Brown for an 18-yard score.
At the end of the day, the signal-caller finished the following stat line: 8-17, 121 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT and a QB Rating of 85.7. Additionally, he logged 28 yards on 11 rushes.
Running Game: The Tale of Two Backs
All in all, the running game struggled with efficiency. In total, they rushed 37 times picking up 99 yards, which came out to be 2.7 yards per attempt. Of course, 11 rushes and 28 yards came from Justin Fields. The other 71 yards came from David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert.
However, both did not produce equally.
- Khalil Herbert: 9 carries, 45 yards (5.0 yards/att), 1 TD
- David Montgomery: 17 carries, 26 yards (1.5 yards/att), 0 TD
Why was it so lopsided? Montgomery had nearly twice the carries for almost half the yards. At a quick glance, it seemed like the fourth-year RB had issues picking the right lanes and waiting for an opening. On the other hand, Herbert seemed more decisive.
2022 NFL Draft Class
Ryan Poles' draft class continued to show flashes of good football. Something they started in the preseason.
- Jaquan Brisker recorded a fumble recovery and four tackles. That included one tackle for loss (TFL).
- Kyler Gordon had six tackles of his own, one of which was a TFL.
- Trestan Ebner made an impact on special teams as a returner. Ebner returned two kick offs for 48 yards. His first return went for 30 yards.
- Trenton Gill logged six punts for a total of 277 yards. On average, each punt went 46.2 yards. His longest punt of the day was a 58-yarder. Additionally, he pinned one inside the 20, which is quite impressive given the weather conditions during the game.
- Dominique Robinson really topped the draft class on Sunday with his performance. The rookie defensive lineman picked up seven tackles (five solo, one TFL), as well as 1.5 sacks and two QB hits.
What a first win for Head Coach Matt Eberflus. But, Sunday's game shows that this team is truly all-in on the HITS principle. The Bears are going to be a scrappy and gritty team and it shows. They play hard and on defense they're swarming to the ball. It's a breath of fresh air to see a team that is bought in and playing with discipline. All thanks to Matt Eberflus.
It was not his finest first game as a play-caller, but he was good enough. Luke Getsy committed to the run even when it wasn't working at times. However, the most impressive part of his day was the adjustments he made at halftime. That was something the previous play-caller of the last regime didn't know how to do. *wink, wink*
Welcome back, Eddie Jackson of old! He was playing with heart and was playing fast and instinctual football. Also, he claimed his first interception since the 2019 season.
Bear Weather? Flooded Field?
The Bears and 49ers essentially played in a monsoon, which is not uncommon in September, but is pretty rare for Chicago. At least the new playing surface held up despite the mini lakes that formed on it. While it may be a long time before the Arlington Heights dome stadium is completed, it was nice to see the weather help the Bears out again.
A win is a win is a win. It doesn't matter how it looks or how you get it. The NFL is a result-oriented business. The weather was bad, the field conditions were not ideal, and the Bears and 49ers were both sloppy. It was an ugly game, but the Bears came out on top. They were the more disciplined and better coached team, which is truly amazing to think about since Matt Eberflus outcoached Kyle Shanahan.
The 49ers were a team that went to the NFC Championship game last year and were a dropped INT away from the Super Bowl. They have aspirations to return to the Super Bowl this year. This was a huge win for the Bears and their psyche/confidence.
What's On Tap Next?
The Chicago Bears venture to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. This game will be played under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football on September 18 at 7:20pm CT. The game will be televised on NBC.
The Packers are a new-look team after Davante Adams was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason. Aaron Rodgers is working with an entirely different WR corps. They struggled offensively in Week 1 in a 23-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears might be catching the Packers at the right time, or potentially the worst time, since Rodgers just unleashes the beast after a loss like that.
Be sure to tune into the Bears On Tap podcast for postgame reaction, updates, and analysis throughout the week in addition to discussions on a variety of other Bears-related topics.