Local Sports

Bears Get By Niners in Rain Soaked Opener

Justin Fields threw for two second-half scores, Eddie Jackson set up a TD with an interception and Chicago gave Matt Eberflus a win in his head coaching debut, beating the San Francisco 49ers 19-10 on a rain-soaked Sunday.


It was a sweet start for a new regime. The Bears decided to make major changes after last season, when they went 6-11 and missed the playoffs for the ninth time in 11 years.


General manager Ryan Poles and Eberflus took over for the fired Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy. And their first game was a win over a team that played in the NFC championship game last season. 


Fields shook off a rough first half. The long touchdown to Dante Pettis, a former 49er, came with the Bears trailing 10-0. 


Fields connected with Equanimeous St. Brown for an 18-yarder early in the fourth to put Chicago on top 13-10. Jackson then picked off Trey Lance near midfield for his first interception since 2019 and returned the ball to the 21. That led to a 6-yard touchdown run by Khalil Herbert, making it 19-10.


Fields, the No. 11 overall pick in 2019, was 8 of 17 for 121 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The former Ohio State star is trying to convince Eberflus and new general manager Ryan Poles he can solidify a position that has long been a weakness for Chicago.


San Francisco running back Elijah Mitchell left the game in the first half with a knee injury and did not return. Niners star tight end George Kittle missed the game because of a groin issue.


Heavy rain flooded the area and drenched the new Bermuda grass installed this week instead of the traditional Kentucky bluegrass used in a stadium often criticized for its choppy surface. As the final seconds ticked away, Bears players took head-first dives into the drenched end zone.


The Bears also got called for an unusual penalty near the end of the first half, when their holder got flagged for bringing out a towel to dry a small area of the field ahead of a field goal try. Rookie Trenton Gill used a towel to dry the spot where the kick would be attempted. Kicker Cairo Santos also stepped on the towel and used it to dry a different area.


Trey Lance, drafted eight spots ahead of Fields, completed 13 of 28 passes for 164 yards and an interception.


The Bears visit Green Bay on Sept. 18.

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