Hoge’s First Bears Things: Fields’ toughness on display originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
LAS VEGAS — The Bears got a huge 20-9 win over the Raiders Sunday at Allegiant Stadium and there’s plenty to discuss. Here are my first Bears things:
1. Someone make sure Justin Fields has a first class seat on the way home to Chicago. He deserves it after the pounding he took Sunday. On the first third down of the game, he took a vicious shot to the midsection. Later, he took an awkward step while getting tackled that was worrisome. Officially, he was hit six times, but it sure seemed like more. The rookie’s toughness was on full display and he came through with the play of the game with his 13-yard strike to Darnell Mooney on 3rd-and-12 on the Bears’ final scoring drive to a 17-9 lead.
2. Let it be forever known that Justin Fields’ first NFL touchdown pass was caught by Jesper Horsted.
3. The Bears’ depth at running back was on display against the Raiders. There are still plays here and there where you wonder if David Montgomery could do more, but that’s really a compliment of Montgomery rather than a criticism of either Damien Williams or Khalil Herbert. Both backs played well Sunday. And Herbert is looking like another late-round steal for general manager Ryan Pace.
4. One of the biggest plays of the game came in the second quarter when linebacker Roquan Smith flew through traffic and stopped Derek Carr on a third down keeper. The Raiders were on the move after the Bears took a 7-3 lead, but Smith forced a fourth down and the Bears were able to make the stop. Justin Fields then led another touchdown drive to take a 14-3 lead. It was a big swing in the game.
5. The Bears’ offensive line suffered a blow in the first half when right tackle Germain Ifedi went down with a knee injury. It looked like Elijah Wilkinson played well in relief though and there could still be more reinforcements coming at tackle if rookies Larry Borom Jr. and Teven Jenkins can return at some point.
6. There’s being aggressive and then there’s returning a punt out of your own end zone. I honestly don’t remember seeing that before, but it was actually a good return from Jakeem Grant, even though he didn’t quite get back to the 20-yard-line. Overall, Grant was an obvious upgrade at returner Sunday.
7. Speaking of special teams, losing rookie linebacker Caleb Johnson is a blow. He’s been improving every week and is usually one of the first players down the field on the coverage units.
8. DeAndre Houston-Carson’s third quarter interception was legitimately impressive. You could see from the press box how far he had to travel to get to the pass. When Carr let go of the ball, I didn’t think the safety had any chance of getting there. It’s too bad the offense couldn’t take advantage and instead went three-and-out.
9. Two sacks for Trevis Gipson in two weeks. That’s really encouraging.
10. Kicker Cairo Santos’ field goal streak is up to 34 after he hit two field goals in the final 2:50 to close out the win for the Bears. It’s the longest current streak in the NFL. Call him the closer.