The name Patrick Mahomes was hard to hear at Halas Hall the last few years, especially as Mitch Trubisky failed to get anywhere close to his level and the Bears knew they’d made a mistake in the 2017 draft.
But that pain has faded, at least a little, and Mahomes’ name sounded pretty good as wide receiver Byron Pringle — a Chief the last three seasons — used it to compliment quarterback Justin Fields on his steady demeanor during the Bears’ late rally to win their season opener against the 49ers.
“I love his composure throughout the game,” Pringle said of Fields. “I like how he handled himself — kind of like the guy from where I left, Pat Mahomes. He’s always calm and being able to progress and keep the offense rolling, not just giving up on the guys because something bad happened early in the game.”
Fields and the Bears’ offense was a mess in the first half, but outscored the 49ers 19-0 in the second. The heavy rain and pooling water on the field was problematic the entire day.
Fields bounced back from a first-half passer rating of 2.8 to complete 5 of 8 passes for 102 yards, two touchdowns and a 145.8 rating in the second half.
Herbert making moves
One of the most interesting aspects of the Bears’ offense in the opener was the way coordinator Luke Getsy leaned on No. 2 running back Khalil Herbert when the game was on the line.
With the Bears ahead 13-10 and holding possession at the 49ers’ 21-yard line after Eddie Jackson’s interception with 9:42 remaining, Herbert got the ball on 4 of 5 plays before he finished the drive with a three-yard touchdown run.
In total, David Montgomery ran 17 times for 26 yards and caught three passes for 24, while Herbert rushed for 45 yards on nine carries and caught one pass for minus-two yards.
Herbert matched Fields for the Bears’ longest run of the day at 12 yards, but even aside from that big play he averaged 4.1 yards per carry.
“Some of them holes were pretty big,” coach Matt Eberflus said in a nod to the offensive line. “And he’s got a good pad level to him. He’s got a good style. The touchdown run was pretty good vision and a really good cut by him.”
Herbert was a sixth-round pick last year (No. 217 overall, 15th among running backs) and showed promise as a rookie with 433 yards rushing (4.2 per carry) and two touchdowns. When Montgomery was out with an injury for four games early in the season, Herbert averaged 86 yards per game and 4.4 per carry.
Don’t even try
Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson said last week the only reason he didn’t have name recognition yet as one of the best players at his position was that he doesn’t get many interceptions. But he defended his work by saying that hardly anyone in the NFL covers receivers as fiercely and consistently as he does.
The 49ers seemed to agree.
Trey Lance threw 28 passes, but none to a receiver matched up against Johnson. Johnson played 26 snaps in pass coverage, which is the third-highest without seeing a ball thrown his way by any outside cornerback in the last three seasons.
Right guard rotation
It’s rare to have drama at right guard of all positions, but there’s plenty of it with the Bears as they assess whether former second-round pick Teven Jenkins or free-agent signee Lucas Patrick is better suited for the position.
Jenkins started and played 31 snaps while Patrick played 27 in what Eberflus said was a planned rotation. He gave no indication Monday of which player looked better, saying they both “had a solid performance.”
Neither player was originally brought in to play right guard. Former general manager Ryan Pace drafted Jenkins to be the left tackle of the future. Patrick signed on as a center, but that’s not an ideal position as he plays through a broken thumb on his right hand.