TAMPA, Fla. -- In his NFL debut, Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen was spectacular, totaling 158 all-purpose yards, a franchise record for a rookie in an opening performance.
In Week 2, Cohen had a much different experience.
Near the end of the first quarter, he fumbled Bryan Anger's kick deep in his own end. The punt was way short but dribbled inside the 20, where Cohen picked it up in a crowd but couldn't hold on. The Bucs recovered at the 13 and scored on the next play for a 10-0 lead.
"It affected me immediately because I put the defense in a bad situation, and then it's going to make them look bad when it's my mistake," Cohen said. "That's the reason why it put pressure on me. But then I had to have short-term memory and just go back out there and make a play."
The 5-foot-6, 181-pound fourth-round pick was able to rebound a bit. For the second straight week he had a game-best 8 receptions on 9 targets for 55 yards. But he found little running room, picking up just 13 yards on 7 carries (1.9-yard average). No. 1 running back Jordan Howard struggled as well, with 7 yards on 9 carries, by far his worst day as a pro.
But even in defeat, and after a rough day, Cohen was refreshingly honest. He said he learned from his gaffe, especially since he was surrounded and already had indicated to his blockers that he would let the ball roll dead.
"In that situation, how close the (Bucs') gunners were, and the fact that I had already killed the ball, so my guys weren't around me, that was a dumb mistake," he said. "So if I had to do it again, I would just stay away from the ball."
Cody Whitehair proved his versatility last year as a rookie.
He was drafted in the second round as a guard, got moved to center one week before the opener and started all 16 games.
But Sunday's experience was unique. Whitehair started at center but moved to left guard in the second quarter when Tom Compton was sidelined with a hip injury that ended his day. Backup Hroniss Grasu took over at center.
Then, right guard Josh Sitton suffered a rib injury and did not return. So Whitehair moved to right guard, while Bradley Sowell, a tackle, moved to left guard.
Three positions in one game?
"Yeah, that's a first," Whitehair said. "Obviously we know we only suit seven (offensive linemen) on game day, so we have to be ready for anything."
Outside linebacker Willie Young, who was last year's team leader with 7½ sacks, got his first of 2017 on Sunday and said the Bears are capable of recovering from an 0-2 start.
"We've got everything we need right here," Young said. "It's just a matter of finding the right formula and sticking to the process. Just keep chipping away at it."
But Young said it's tough to battle back from a minus-3 in turnovers.
"We cannot shoot ourselves in the foot against a great team," Young said. "If we don't figure out how to win, we're going to be in the same hole as last year."
Sitting it out:
Coach John Fox did not have any injury updates on linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (chest) or offensive linemen Tom Compton (hip) and Josh Sitton (rib).
Sunday's inactives were quarterback Mark Sanchez, wide receiver Markus Wheaton (finger), cornerback Prince Amukamara (ankle), safety Deon Bush (hamstring), running back Benny Cunningham (ankle), defensive lineman John Jenkins and guard Kyle Long (ankle).
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