The Monsters of the Midway are back on track after a 17-14 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers.
"This win meant a lot to all of us," said tight end Kellen Davis, who lined up in place of an injured Desmond Clark. "It gives good momentum for our next game. It's a lot better to head out to an away game, as we'll do against the Seahawks next weekend, when you're 1-1 instead of 0-2."
The veteran Clark was sidelined with broken ribs after suffering a punishing hit during last weekend's game in Green Bay. Clark is expected to be out of action for several weeks.
Any questions that Bears fans might have had about Davis' ability to fill in for Clark were answered as the second-year pro from Michigan State caught five passes for 38 yards, including a 6-yard shot into the end zone from Jay Cutler with :23 left in the first half. It was Davis' first regular-season reception and his first pro touchdown.
"Was I excited about that?" Davis answered with a smile after the game. "Of course. Who wouldn't be?"
But when asked if he'd kept the ball, Davis admitted he'd forgotten that part of the ritual.
"I know I'll get ribbed about it," he said. "There was too much going at the time to remember to grab the ball. Don't have a clue who has it now. I'll just have to get another score and then keep that one."
If Sunday's level of play was any indication, Davis won't have to wait long for his next opportunity.
"I was really glad to get in there," Davis said. "As a young player, you come into practice every single day, work hard and assume you'll get a chance to play. I've always felt that it was a matter of when I'd be given the opportunity, not if that chance would ever come. So, sure, I was ready. It's up to each of us to keep our skill levels at a place where, if we're called to play, we'll be able to make an impact."
But Davis did admit to a level of frustration with the process.
"Most new players would tell you the same thing," he said. "You come as a star from some big-time college ball program, and then you're suddenly on the sidelines at the NFL level. That's difficult to accept. It's something I went through last year. I learned what I could from the experience, but now I'd like to be out there on the field whenever possible. I'm sorry that I'm starting due to someone else's injury, but I hope to contribute positively to the team while I'm playing."
Davis wasn't perfect against the Steelers, dropping one Cutler pass he felt he should have caught.
"Not Jay's problem. My fault entirely," Davis admitted. "It was right before the touchdown. Somehow, it slipped out of my reach. I appreciate the fact that Jay had enough confidence in me to let me try things one more time."
The Bears' redesigned offense is expanding offensive options by giving opposing defenses much more to think about, an outcome starting tight end Greg Olsen definitely favors.
"The more viable options, the better," Olsen said after the game. "That tends to stretch the field and makes our moves unpredictable. It's harder to scheme against multiple offensive weapons. And of course Jay is in there now. He has tremendous skills. Things are shaping up in new ways on offense, and that's all good."
Olsen had three receptions for 41 yards, as well as what may have been the key play of the night: the recovery of a Matt Forte fumble with 3:18 left in the game.
"Not a big deal," Olsen said of his quick fall on the loose ball. "I saw it, I went over to it, I grabbed it."
But Bears fans might care to disagree on that point. Three minutes after Olsen's recovery, Robbie Gould's 44-yard field goal won the game.
Want to reconsider the importance of that one play, Greg?
"Nope. I was just out there doing my job."
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Beth Gorr has been covering the Chicago Bears for eight years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.
Davis Fills In Capably for Clark
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