Bears notes: Cairo Santos takes blame for towel penalty

Bears kicker Cairo Santos wanted to make sure that punter Trenton Gill didn't take the blame.

The rookie punter from NC State, who also serves as the holder on field goals, had been flagged with a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for using a towel to dry the grass before a field goal attempt. The penalty came just before halftime in a game the Bears would eventually win, 19-10, amid soggy conditions at Soldier Field.

At the time, the Bears were struggling and had yet to score. They were attempting a 47-yard field goal, but the 15-yard penalty pushed them out of field goal range.

"You're allowed to use a towel to dry your hands and I just wanted to flatten the spot, so I just grabbed his towel and did it myself," Santos said. "The referee called him, but it was really my responsibility."

Santos said he didn't know he did anything wrong. The NFL rulebook doesn't allow players to move snow with a towel, but it doesn't specifically say that for rain or water.

"You cannot bring what we consider a foreign object - this was not a towel that would go on a uniform - out to alter the playing surface," referee Clay Martin said. "We felt that provided an unfair advantage."

Luckily, the Bears rebounded in the second half and the penalty didn't cost them too much.

Impressive debut:

Dominique Robinson's first collegiate game at Miami (Ohio) drew a memory in comparison to his NFL regular season debut Sunday.

It rained. A lot.

In 2017, Robinson, then a true freshman, recalled a similarly water-logged game, a 21-17 loss against the University of Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium.

"At night," Robinson said. "Rain just like that. I'm talking about the whole game, but it was colder that day ... it was cold, man."

This time, however, Robinson finished with 1½ sacks and seven combined tackles in a win.

"(Our coaches) kept the game plan real easy and when they do that, I'm able to play fast," Robinson said. "We had some keys to take care of, but other than that, the game plan was simple."

Watching 49ers tackles Mike McGlinchey and Trent Williams on film tipped off Robinson on some key intel.

"I knew (McGlinchey) was an over-setter, so he did that and I took the inside move," Robinson said. "I knew Trent would kick his foot two times before he was set, so I kind of keyed that whenever I would pass-rush against him."

"I wasn't really worried about (quarterback Trey Lance), honestly. We were just trying to keep him in the pocket (and) make sure he didn't run around."

Right guard rotation:

Teven Jenkins knew of the rotating right guard plan all along prior to Sunday.

Jenkins started the first two offensive series before being subbed for Lucas Patrick for two series. The cycle then continued.

"We knew it was going to be (a rotation) before we even started lining up out there (a couple days ago)," Jenkins, the second-year right guard said. "So, I was very comfortable with it just because I got told beforehand ... it's good for the team."

Jenkins, originally drafted to be a tackle last year, emerged in preseason games as the starting right guard after a brief absence from training camp practices. Patrick suffered a right hand injury early in camp and returned to practice last Monday.

Patrick, signed to be a center from the Green Bay Packers in free agency, sported a brace on his right hand Sunday.

Whether in game or practice reps, Jenkins can still find a rhythm despite the rotation.

"More so I get more development time from practice (with) our D-Line. We get a lot of reps in practice," Jenkins said. "Coming over here, it's basically taking practice to game reps and being comfortable with that."

Whether or not that same rotation continues next week against Green Bay remains to be seen.

"We'll look at it," Bears coach Matt Eberflus said. "I don't know. I don't know. I can't answer that right now. We'll look and see where everybody is and then we'll go from there."

Sanborn's debut:

Playing in a downpour made linebacker Jack Sanborn feel "like a little kid out there playing."

Sanborn, the undrafted rookie free agent and 2017 Lake Zurich High School graduate, did also get a 'I love you' and 'good luck' text from his mother prior to his NFL regular season debut.

"It felt awesome," Sanborn said of his debut. "It is just an honor to be a part of this team. ... Lot of great guys here. To be able to be a part of (my) first regular season game growing up not too far meant a lot.

"At the same time, I wasn't overwhelmed with emotion or anything like that. I felt like it was something I knew was coming the whole week and we had a job to do. That was the main focus."

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