It’s setting up to be a sloppy season opener for the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field today.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for Chicago, Naperville and Cicero until 12:15 p.m. Sunday. Earlier this week, the Bears resodded Soldier Field with Bermuda grass, replacing the old Kentucky bluegrass. Bears coach Matt Eberflus said the change was in the works for some time, though it wasn’t implemented until after Soldier Field hosted German metal band Rammstein’s concert last week.
Check back for updates all day from Soldier Field.
Halftime: 49ers 7, Bears 0
The new Bears offense didn’t get off to a rousing start in the first half of the season opener against the 49ers at Soldier Field
The Bears had just 68 net yards of offense as the 49ers inched to a 7-0 halftime lead.
The Bears looked like they would avoid being shut out late in the second quarter. But as kicker Cairo Santos set up for a 47-yard field goal in the final minute, rookie holder/punter Trenton Gill brought a towel onto the field to dry the field, which officials said is illegal. Gill was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, pushing the Bears out of field goal range and forcing them to punt.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed 3 of 9 passes for 19 yards, an interception and a 2.8 passer rating. He also had five carries for 25 yards. He was sacked twice.
Deebo Samuel’s 6-yard touchdown run gave the 49ers a 7-0 lead with 10:11 to play in the second quarter.
The Bears had the 49ers in a third-and-3 situation at the 8-yard line. But defensive tackle Justin Jones committed a neutral zone infraction, giving the 49ers first-and-4 at the 4. Samuel scored two plays later.
The 52-yard 49ers drive included a 20-yard pass from Trey Lance to Ray-Ray McCloud.
The Bears defense got its first takeaway of the season earlier in the game on a Samuel carry. Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson punched the ball out of Samuel’s hands, and rookie safety Jaquan Brisker recovered it.
But the Bears gave the ball back on the following drive when 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga jumped in front of Fields’ pass intended for Darnell Mooney and returned the interception 6 yards.
While running back David Montgomery worked in the majority of drives, Khalil Herbert got some work and finished with five carries for 27 yards. Montgomery had nine carries for 13 yards.
The Bears’ starting offensive was left tackle Braxton Jones, left guard Cody Whitehair, center Sam Mustipher, right guard Teven Jenkins and right tackle Larry Borom. But Lucas Patrick replaced Jenkins on a couple of first-half drives.
The Bears used Trestan Ebner on the opening kickoff return and Dante Pettis on punt returns.
Inactives for Week 1
Bears rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. will miss the season opener with a hamstring injury after sitting out practice most of the week.
New offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood, whom the Bears claimed off waivers on Aug. 31, also is inactive as he gets up to speed. Other waivers claims that are inactive are defensive lineman Kingsley Jonathan and tight end Trevon Wesco. Rookie offensive lineman Ja’Tyre Carter and safety Elijah Hicks also are inactive.
Rookie defensive end Dominique Robinson, who was battling a knee injury, is active.
For the San Francisco 49ers, tight end George Kittle is out with a groin injury and offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill is out with a hamstring injury.
Quarterback Brock Purdy, offensive lineman Nick Zakelj, running back Tyrion Davis-Price, wide receiver Danny Gray and defensive lineman Jordan Willis are also inactive.
Q&A with McCaskey and Phillips
Bears Chairman George McCaskey and Ted Phillips sat down Friday with the Tribune and a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times to address some of the many questions that come with the search for a new team president.
Here are some of their answers on what the Bears are looking for in the next president, how the Arlington project will be handled as Phillips prepares to depart, how Phillips views his tenure and more. Read more here.
Here’s the latest on the possible stadium move to Arlington Heights.
Justin Fields in Year 2
In the quest to establish Justin Fields as their no-doubt franchise quarterback, the Bears have to set him up for success and keep him in the proper mindset.
There’s more to that than it sounds. For Fields to stay properly calibrated, he must remain in tune with his preparation responsibilities — for himself and the team. He also must have a strong feel for what his new offensive system asks while trusting what each play is designed to accomplish. Read more here.