The Chicago Bears needed a lot of guys to step up on Sunday in order for a comeback like that to happen. This is especially true of younger players. A few Bears rookies got their first career action in Detroit. Cole Kmet got some nice blocking done. Darnell Mooney made some nice catches. Yet nobody was under more pressure to perform than Jaylon Johnson.
The 2nd round pick out of Utah was named the starting cornerback opposite Kyle Fuller. A sign the Bears coaches trusted him enough to give him a chance. Still, a lot of people had concerns. He was going against a good quarterback in Matthew Stafford with a host of quality veteran receivers like Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola. How would he hold up?
Better than anybody could’ve imagined. Targeted six times, he allowed no big plays and had two huge pass deflections. One that ended the game and the other that led to its biggest momentum-swinging moment.
“Jaylon had really good coverage on the play,” Townsend said. “Eddie was a ‘robber,’ and for him to talk about what he was going to do the week of, meaning going into that game of being away from 11 [Lions receiver Marvin Jones Jr.] and showing that he was going to work to the half and come back to the middle. The quarterback threw it right to where Eddie was, and those guys made a great play on the ball. Great things happen when you run to the ball, and Kyle was fortunate to make an interception.”
Jaylon Johnson had no business looking that good
Think about this. The Bears are behind on the scoreboard. Johnson is lined up on Marvin Jones, a good wide receiver. His coverage is excellent and then he times shooting his arm in right as the ball arrives, deflecting it up and into the arms of Kyle Fuller. Rookies aren’t supposed to make plays like that. Especially when you consider how Johnson started.
He arrived in training camp recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. So he didn’t get a lot of reps to start out. Not to mention getting zero work in minicamps or OTAs due to the pandemic. To go from that from playing sticky man-to-man coverage most of the game against a passing offense of that caliber?
It’s beyond impressive and a great sign of the young man’s future.
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