The Bears overcame heavy rains and poor field conditions to give Coach Matt Eberflus the first regular season victory of his career.
“The coaches did a nice job of putting together a nice game plan and making halftime adjustments,” said Eberflus, adding they were “able to adjust to what we saw in the first half and being able to come out in the second half and have productive football.”
During a press conference, Eberflus thanked everyone in the organization for helping lead the team to its first victory of the season. He said the importance of including everybody in the winning process is to always be on point.
With Sunday’s win, Eberflus became the fifth Chicago Bears head coach to win his first game as a head coach.
Chicago’s win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday marks the Bears first Week 1 victory since the 2020 season at Ford Field, vs. Detroit (27-23). It was also their first win at Soldier Field on opening day since 2013, when they beat Cincinnati, 24-21.
In addition to Eberflus’ success, QB Justin Fields threw for 121 yards and 2 TDs on the day. His first TD came on a 51-yard pass play to WR Dante Pettis to put Chicago on the board 10-7.
According to the Chicago Bears, Fields also added to the scoring column with a second touchdown pass to WR Equanimeous St. Brown with 12:50 to go in the 4th quarter. It was the ninth passing touchdown of Fields’ career and the second career receiving touchdown for St. Brown. The Bears led 13-10.
Bears running back Khalil Herbert extended Chicago’s lead to 19-10 with his first rushing touchdown on the season (4th, 7:21). It was Herbert’s third career rushing touchdown, with his last coming on December 26, 2021, at Seattle.
Cornerback Jaylon Johnson forced Chicago’s first turnover of the 2022 NFL season, punching the ball out of San Francisco WR Deebo Samuel’s hands with 9:10 to go in the first quarter. Rookie S. Jaquan Brisker was there to recover. That was the second forced fumble of Johnson’s career, the last coming on November 25, 2021, at Detroit. Johnson finished the game with four tackles (three solo) and one tackle for loss on top of the forced fumble.
Safety Eddie Jackson forced the second Chicago turnover of the day, picking off 49ers QB Trey Lance with 9:52 remaining in the fourth quarter and adding a 26-yard return to set up the Bears in the red zone. For Jackson, it’s the 11th interception of his career, and his first since Week 17 at Minnesota on December 29, 2019. He finished the game with three tackles (two solo) and one pass defended.
In addition to Jackson’s interception, the Bears defense got to 49ers QB Trey Lance on two occasions on Sunday (-9 yards). Rookie DL Dominique Robinson was the first to enter the sacks columns, wrapping up Lance in the first quarter on 3rd & 7 (5:58) for his first career sack. Robinson and LB Roquan Smith teamed up for Chicago’s second takedown later in the third quarter on 3rd and 4.
Robinson became the first Bears rookie to record a sack in their first-career regular season game since Roquan Smith did so on September 9, 2018, at Green Bay. Linebacker Roquan Smith paced the team with nine tackles (seven solo), including 0.5 sacks and one pass defended on the afternoon.
The Bears are now 1-0 on the season.
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.