What we learned in Bears’ 27-11 preseason win vs. Seahawks originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
SEATTLE – Break up the (preseason) Bears.
For the second time in five days, Matt Eberflus’ team came away victorious in the preseason, beating the Seattle Seahawks 27-11 on Thursday at Lumen Field.
Justin Fields and the offense played just one series but put points on the board for the first time this preseason. Elsewhere, Kyler Gordon and Velus Jones Jr. made their debuts, while Teven Jenkins got his first crack at playing right guard in the NFL.
Here’s what we learned from the Bears’ win in Seattle:
Improved Fields-Kmet connection shows
The Bears’ passing game clearly missed Cole Kmet during the preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. The tight end is essential to Luke Getsy’s offense, and the Bears’ other tight ends aren’t close to the same kind of threat as Kmet.
Fields and Kmet have worked all offseason to improve their chemistry. It has shown up on the practice field several times during training camp, but Thursday was our first look at the connection in a game setting.
It didn’t disappoint.
Fields found Kmet for 12 yards on a tight end screen to open the game. Later in the drive, Fields bootlegged to the left, squared his body, and zipped a dart to Kmet for 19.
Fields’ lone offensive drive stalled out and ended with a 35-yard Cairo Santos field goal. But his chemistry with Kmet seems vastly improved from a year ago.
The quarterback finished his night going 5-for-7 for 39 yards, 31 of which went to Kmet.
Given how Getsy wants to use the tight end and the Bears’ lack of weapons not named Darnell Mooney, Kmet will have an opportunity to have a breakout season in Year 3.
Right guard issue solved?
After spending two practices at right guard this week, Teven Jenkins got the start between center Sam Mustipher and right tackle Larry Borom.
It wasn’t perfect, but overall, I liked what I saw from Jenkins at a position the Bears have been searching for answers at all offseason.
Jenkins did get bulldozed by Seahawks defensive tackle Poona Ford on one snap, but he was able to recover enough to give Fields time to get rid of the ball and avoid a sack. As a run blocker, Jenkins was pretty effective in his two series in Seattle.
It can get better, but Jenkins’ first live-action at guard should give the Bears some confidence that their offensive line is getting solidified.
Good and bad from Velus Jones and Kyler Gordon
After missing the preseason opener vs. the Chiefs, third-round pick Velus Jones Jr. got his first taste of NFL action Thursday in the Pacific Northwest.
Jones’ day almost started in disaster. The Bears rookie fumbled the opening kickoff at the 28-yard line, but the Bears recovered and kept possession.
The Tennessee product’s next touch went much better.
Jones caught Michael Dickson’s punt at the Bears’ 19-yard line and turned on the jets.
The rookie outran two defenders to the corner and turned it up the left sideline, bobbing and weaving his way to the Seahawks’ 33-yard line for a gain of 48.
Big return! @VelusJr already doing what he did in college…📺: #CHIvsSEA on ESPN
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/duqkxIEtbt pic.twitter.com/uqxWw1ED7X
— NFL (@NFL) August 19, 2022
Jones showed off the size, speed, and vision that could make him an elite weapon in the return game.
As for Gordon, the Bears’ top draft pick entered as the nickel on the second play of the game.
The Bears brought Gordon on a blitz, and the corner nearly got home for the sack. Gordon also helped force a fumble with a Peanut Punch, but the Seahawks were able to recover.
But it wasn’t all good for the Washington native.
Gordon was one of several Bears who missed a tackle on a 33-yard run by Travis Homer. He also was burned on a slant route later on but got bailed out by an illegal hands-to-the-face penalty on the Seahawks.
The second-round pick played most of the first half, showing off the instincts and speed that have the Bears excited about his future.
That Gordon started in the slot even with Kindle Vildor inactive is further evidence the Bears are leaning toward having the rookie open the season as their starting nickelback.
Five days after Jaquan Brisker had a sensational preseason debut, Gordon and Jones had up-and-down days. That’s to be expected from rookies.
All in all, the Bears should leave Seattle encouraged by what they saw from two players they hope will be foundational to their rebuild.