Saturday’s preseason game will be remembered, if it is at all, by those Bears who didn’t play. One day after Matt Nagy told his starters that they wouldn’t be needed for the preseason game generally considered the league’s dress rehearsal, the backups led the Bears to a 27-20 win against the Chiefs at Soldier Field.
Backing up quarterback Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniel was almost perfect. By the time he led the Bears to their third touchdown in as many possessions, Daniel had a perfect 158.3 passer rating. He finished with one just slightly worse — 149.5 — after completing 15-of-18 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Daniel, who played the entire first half, even ran for a team-high 47 yards on six carries.
He threw to two receivers who figure to be part of the Bears’ regular-season plans, and one more who is forcing his way there.
Former first-round Kevin White, who is fighting to be the team’s No. 4 receiver, caught his first career touchdown, a 29-yard stop-and-go route down the left sideline in the first quarter. He finished with two catches for 33 yards. Taylor Gabriel, who figures to be the Bears’ No. 2 receiver, returned from a foot injury to catch one pass for 10 yards on the game’s first play.
And Javon Wims, the seventh-round pick, made maybe the most impressive catch of the game, tiptoeing in the back left corner of the north end zone for a 7-yard scoring catch in the second quarter. He was perhaps the Bears’ most impressive player, albeit against fellow backups. The Georgia alum had catches of 54 and 44 yards.
The Chiefs played starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes through the first possession of the third quarter. He went 18-for-24 for 196 yards, one touchdown and a 112.5 passer rating.
The Bears’ backups took center stage Saturday after coach Matt Nagy decided Friday, in an unconventional move, that he would sit his starters against the Chiefs. While the43,055 fans in attendance were undoubtedly disappointed, Nagy has tried all training camp to shield his players from the threat of injury.
Nagy didn’t play Trubisky; running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen; receivers Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller and Josh Bellamy; tight end Trey Burton; and offensive linemen Bobby Massie, Cody Whitehair, Kyle Long and Charles Leno.
Defensive starters who sat included linemen Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman; linebackers Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan, Aaron Lynch, Leonard Floyd and Sam Acho; cornerbacks Prince Amukamara, Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan; and safeties Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos.