Chicago Bears rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson started his career on the right foot. He was instrumental in the team’s improbable comeback win.
Now that the high from the Chicago Bears‘ thrilling comeback win against the Detroit Lions in Week 1, we take a look at a player who was instrumental in the victory — rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson.
The Bears wanted to ease Johnson in despite being a second-round draft pick (#50 overall). The coaching staff didn’t want to put too much on his plate, and without having any preseason games to get his feet wet, the team wanted him to play in a rotation.
Instead, what happened was Artie Burns tore his ACL and Kevin Toliver had such a bad camp that he couldn’t even earn a spot on the roster. Johnson had a good camp and the Bears decided to throw him in and have him play a big part in the defense. In fact, he played in all 78 snaps against the Lions.
Johnson expected Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to pick on Johnson and he did. He finished with 6 tackles and 2 passes defended. He allowed only two completions in the game.
Johnson did have his “Welcome to the NFL” moment, however. Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. trucked Johnson and that elicited a strong reaction on social media. Former Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte even suggested changing Johnson’s number after that. Johnson wears #33, the number Charles Tillman, one of the best cornerbacks in team history, wore.
Yo 33 gotta retire after that lol. Or at least take @peanuttillman number off 🤦🏽♂️
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— Matt Forte (@MattForte22) September 13, 2020
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Johnson came back, however. The two passes he defended were huge and came in late in the deciding fourth quarter. After the Bears scored a touchdown to make the score 23-20 Lions, the defense had to come up with a big play. That’s exactly what happened. Stafford through a bullet pass in the middle of the field in Johnson’s direction. Johnson batted the ball up in the air and Kyle Fuller came up with the ball for a big interception. The Bears’ offense scored the go-ahead touchdown 41 seconds later.
Johnson continued his magic. On the final play of the game, Stafford once again targeted Johnson. He threw a pass into the end zone, but Johnson came through and batted the ball out of bounds and sealed the victory.
Before the game, head coach Matt Nagy said he felt confident that Johnson was ready for his professional debut.
You can see his confidence that he has. You have to have short-term memory in this league. He’s got extreme confidence. And it’s not cocky; It’s confidence. I like that about him.
Johnson rewarded Nagy for his confidence in him. He answered the call, announced his presence in the NFL, and now expectations are high for him. Hopefully, this is the start of great things to come for the duo of Fuller and Johnson.