If today was any indication of Jordan Howard’s career with the Chicago Bears, then the running back has a bright future in the NFL.
Making his first career start, Howard rushed for 111 yards on 23 carries in the Chicago's 17-14 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Howard became the first Bears running back since Matt Forte in Week 1 of the 2015 season to rush for 100-plus yards in a game.
“It felt pretty good. I don’t really care about the 100 yards, I was just glad to get the win,” Howard said. “The offensive line, tight ends and receivers did their job. They made my job a lot easier. All I had to do was run and hit the holes that they gave me.”
Howard is getting his chance due to injuries in the Bears backfield but, after today, the former UAB and Indiana product will certainly see an increase in his workload even when Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey return to action.
For now, Howard is just trying to make the most of his opportunity, as he’s averaging 5.1 yards per carry so far this season. Head coach John Fox has already noticed the rookie's impact in the offense.
“Positively. We noticed pretty early on, Jordan is a big back, we knew that early on coming out of Indiana,” Fox said. “The thing that we didn’t know is the quickness of his feet and the vision he has. I think he’s outstanding and we’ll ride him pretty good going forward.”
The fifth-round running back wasn’t the only young player that had a significant impact for the Bears on Sunday. A few more on the defensive side had key plays that helped Chicago’s defense limit Detroit's offense to just 6 points.
Rookie CB Deiondre' Hall recorded the first interception of his career in Sunday’s win and it was a big one. Hall picked off quarterback Matthew Stafford late in the fourth quarter as the Lions were driving in Bears territory, which sealed the victory.
It was the first defensive series of the game for Hall, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
“I’ve been in a situation now two or three times where I’ve come in during the fourth quarter and had to just play,” Hall said. “Like I’ve always said, when you get your number called you have to be prepared.”
Hall has seen limited action in the Bears secondary through four games but appears to be getting better with each rep.
Second-year CB Jacoby Glenn also had the first interception of his NFL career, which also came at a key moment.
Following a Connor Barth missed field goal, the Lions were marching into Bears territory just before halftime. Glenn jumped an intermediate route and intercepted Stafford’s pass, which was intended for WR Golden Tate.
The play kept Detroit off the board and maintained a 7-3 lead for the Bears at halftime.
It was the second-straight week Glenn forced a turnover for the Bears, after he stripped Cowboys WR Terrance Williams in Week 3. For the Bears, it's encouraging to see two young players step up and make big plays for a struggling defense.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys,” Fox said. “Nobody has been pleased with our start but in time they get better. I think you’ll continue to see those guys grown and continue to improve, but sometimes there are some growing pains.”
Chicago’s defense held Stafford to just 213 yards passing and a quarterback rating of 56.8. Both are a season low for the Lions quarterback.
As the Bears continue to try and dig out of a 1-3 hole this season, the play of the younger players on the team is certainly something to watch.
For one week at least, Bears fans have something positive on which they can hang their hat.null