Bears go without top three inside linebackers

Updated 10/10/2017 12:15 AM

With Jerrell Freeman (chest) on injured reserve, Danny Trevathan serving a one-game suspension for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, and Nick Kwiatkoski still recovering from a chest injury, the Bears were without their top three inside linebackers.

But Monday night's fill-ins, Christian Jones and John Timu, have started 21 and 8 games, respectively in their Bears careers, and Timu was the defensive signal-caller vs. the Vikings. Each was making his second start of the season.


"John's got a great understanding of our defense," coach John Fox said. "He understands a lot of the calls and checks, so obviously there's a comfort level with him being out there, having been with us for some time."

Timu began the season on the practice squad after he was waived in the final cut-down. He said his mindset for Monday night was the same as when he started in Week 3.

Jones led the Bears with 9 tackles, and Timu had 4 first-half tackles before leaving early in the third quarter with a left knee injury.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks were both credited with 2 sacks, including Floyd's take down of Sam Bradford for a safety that gave the Bears a 2-0 lead.

Talking it out:

On WBBM-AM 780's pregame show, Bears G.M. Ryan Pace said he and coach John Fox frequently discussed the quarterback situation prior to promoting rookie Mitch Trubisky and benching Mike Glennon.

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"John and I are having discussions internally all the time," Pace said. "I think our communication is really good, so any important decision we're going to make, especially involving the quarterbacks, it's something that's ongoing all the time. We've seen Mitch's progression behind the scenes. We've had a lot of discussions about that and we were ultimately able to come to a decision."

Joining the club:

Mitch Trubisky is the 11th Bears quarterback to start a game as a rookie during the Super Bowl era (since 1966), but the first since Kyle Orton in 2005.

Trubisky joins Bobby Douglass (1969), Gary Huff ('73), Bob Avellini ('75), Jim McMahon ('82), Will Furrer ('92), Moses Moreno ('98), Cade McNown ('99), Rex Grossman ('03), Craig Krenzel ('04) and Orton ('05).

Only three of the rookies won in their debut: McMahon, Grossman and Krenzel. McMahon is the only one in the group to throw for multiple TDs (2) in his first start.


Douglass had the best passer rating (95.1), while Furrer had the worst (11.2). McNown threw for the most yards (255).

By the numbers:

The Bears' defense is tied for first in the NFL with zero rushes of 20 yards or longer allowed. The longest run they've permitted is 14 yards in Week 2 to Tampa's Peyton Barber. … Rookie Tarik Cohen leads all running backs with 24 receptions and is fourth among all NFC players. … Jordan Howard's two most productive games in his Pro Bowl rookie season last year were both against the Vikings. He rushed for 153 yards in Week Eight and 135 yards in the season finale.

Sitting it out:

Monday night's inactives were cornerback Marcus Cooper (back spasms), linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski (chest) and Willie Young (triceps), center Hroniss Grasu (hand), quarterback Mark Sanchez, running back Taquan Mizzell and defensive lineman John Jenkins.

Prince Amukamara started in place of Cooper, alongside Kyle Fuller.


In 2016 Jordan Howard rushed for 1,313 yards and became the Bears' fifth rookie to rush for 1,000 yards or more, joining Matt Forte (1,238 in 2008), Anthony Thomas (1,183 in '02), Rashaan Salaam (1,074 in '95) and Beattie Feathers (1,004 in '35).

None of the previous four reached 1,000 yards in their second season, although Howard was on pace for 1,008 after four games and added 76 yards on 19 carries Monday night.

Moving up:

Linebacker Isaiah Irving was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter at @BobLeGere.

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