The Bears scored 19 unanswered points in the second half to edge out the Chiefs 19-14 in Saturday's preseason home opener at Soldier Field.
After trailing 14-0 at halftime, the Bears defense came up with a pair of takeaways to set up a touchdown and a field goal.
"I thought there was a lot of good foundational pieces out there," said coach Matt Eberflus, "talking about the effort in which we played, the intensity in which we played, the taking the ball away and taking care of the football, and then being smart in situations.
"I thought it was good. A lot to learn from, there's a lot of situations we can learn from, but again, I thought the energy and the intensity was right. Again, we took the ball away a couple of times on the short field and we protected the ball on offense, which is really good. So, I'm excited to get to be able to do that."
Despite not scoring on its only three drives, the Bears first-team offense produced flashes worthy of optimism. Justin Fields completed 4 of 7 passes for 48 yards and finished with a 78.3 rating.
The second-year quarterback showed off connections with his wide receivers, completing a 26-yard pass to Darnell Mooney on the second drive and Tajae Sharpe for a 19-yard gain on the following possession.
Fields called the pass to Mooney a "routine play for us." The quarterback was confident his receiver knew exactly where he was going to put it. Fields complimented Mooney's hands on the catch, but wasn't surprised about the connection.
"It feels great just knowing how he's gonna run the route, how he's gonna work the defender and stuff like that, where he's gonna end up," Fields said. "Just the chemistry between us and, of course, the work we put in in the offseason, that just shows right there."
Out of halftime, rookie linebacker Jack Sanborn created the first takeaway of the game, setting up the first of three straight scoring drives for the Bears. On just the third play of the half, the Wisconsin product and Chicago area native intercepted Shane Buechele at the Chiefs' 39 and returned it 12 yards.
Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian then led the Bears to their first points of the day, completing a 12-yard touchdown pass to rookie running back Trestan Ebner. The Bears attempted a two-point conversion, but fell short, closing the gap to 14-6 with 11:59 to play in the third quarter.
The Chiefs then went three-and-out and after a 35-yard punt, the Bears took over at their own 48. Siemian's 25-yard pass to Dante Pettis on fourth-and-2 helped set up another score, then Siemian connected with second-year wideout Dazz Newsome on a 13-yard touchdown pass, drawing the Bears within a point at 14-13 with 6:34 remaining in the third quarter.
Siemian recorded a 115.1 rating after completing 7 of 13 throws for 86 yards and two scores.
The Bears defense struck again on the next sequence, with DeMarquis Gates forcing a fumble and Sanborn recovering it at the Chiefs' 20. Cairo Santos then connected on a 20-yard field goal, giving the Bears their first lead of the game at 16-14.
"The defense played well," Eberflus said. "The second half, did a nice job of setting up some short fields. I thought we played complimentery football to win the football game. We had a goal at halftime to get that done and the guys came through with that. So that was exciting in terms of the scheme."
Santos came back out with 5:58 to play after an 11-play drive and converted from 47 yards out to extend the Bears' lead to 19-14.
Kansas City controlled the first half of Saturday's game with touchdown drives in both the first and second quarter.
Patrick Mahomes' 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Blake Bell gave the Chiefs a 7-0 lead with 7:20 left in the first quarter. Mahomes completed 6 of 7 passes for 60 yards on the 11-play, 72-yard drive, his lone series of the game.
With 20 seconds left in the first half, Buechele capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive with a 22-yard TD pass to Justin Watson to put Kansas City up 14-0.