(670 The Score) Bears kickers, always bailing the team out. Cairo Santos got the easiest hero kick of his life, hitting a 30-yard field goal as time expired to give Chicago its second win in three weeks. Truth be told, the Bears' 23-20 win over the Texans on Sunday at Soldier Field probably raised more questions than answers, but that’s a crisis for another week. The Bears are 2-1. Here are some grades.
How would you say it went? The Bears literally fumbled their first snap of the game! For your consideration: On the final possession of the first half, the Bears, down one point, got the ball at their own 10-yard line with all three timeouts at their disposal. Of the five plays they ran, two were designed runs, two were quarterback runs and one was an incomplete screen pass. They managed to gain 18 yards (and a first down!) before heading into the locker room, still down one, with all three of their timeouts at their disposal. All things considered, the Bears did run the ball pretty well – they finished the first half with 186 yards on 24 rushes and finished the game with 281 yards on 40 carries. Being able to go from David Montgomery to Khalil Herbert is one of the few luxuries this offense can afford. Filling in for an injured Montgomery, Herbert broke off more than a few long runs – his 53-yard sprint to open the second half brought the Soldier Field crowd back to life – and finished with 157 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Passing wise, it’s hard to sum up the Bears' day in one word, but if I had to, it’d be somewhere between dire and panic. Justin Fields’ interception in the first half, on a ball meant for Cole Kmet (two catches for 40 yards!), was arguably his worst throw of the season. The most depressing part of Fields’ first half (4-of-11 for 45 yards and an interceptions) was how familiar it felt. It didn’t get much better in the second, and his final line (8-of-17, 106 yards and two interceptions) will surely be reacted to appropriately by Chicago sports radio callers this week.
Roquan Smith is back! Eddie Jackson is back! Besides everyone (and the Bears in general) being back, this played out a bit like it had in the previous two games. Kyler Gordon made some good plays amid a bunch of bad ones, and the Bears’ defensive line didn’t generate much pressure. Justin Jones got to Texans quarterback Davis Mills early in the fourth quarter, but otherwise, Mills’ jersey stayed pretty clean. The good news is that you can clearly see a team that’s got a knack for knocking the ball out. Next up: recovering it! Linebacker Nick Morrow will probably get a locker room shoutout or game ball or a commemorative T-shirt or whatever coach Matt Eberflus does to reward his best players. As a unit, though, the Bears were good when they had to be. The Texans went 3-of-12 on third-down conversions, and the Bears’ red-zone stop with a little more than a minute left in the third quarter prevented Houston from taking a lead into the fourth. Mills didn’t exactly light it up, but he had four to six of the easiest throws that an NFL quarterback is going to get – such is life when the Bears have one of the league’s youngest secondarys.
Special teams: A
Cairo Santos hit the game-winning field goal at the buzzer, so that’s an A. Santos had 11 tidy points (three field goals, two extra points), so we can now probably say with some confidence that his Week 1 issues did, in fact, have to do with the four inches of standing water on the field. Trenton Gill punted the ball the way that I assume punters are asked to do – he pinned one of his three inside the Texans’ 20-yard line and averaged close to 50 yards per punt. There were some questionable choices on kickoff and punt returns from Dante Pettis and Tristan Ebnber, but you’ve gotta risk it for the biscuit. Getting fooled on by a fake punt in maybe the most obvious fake punt scenario possible wasn't a great look.
Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.