GLENDALE, Ariz. – With Jordan Howard back in Chicago nursing a minor eye injury, rookie Tarik Cohen made the most of his opportunity to start Saturday night's preseason game in Arizona.
The diminutive running back rushed for 72 yards on nine carries in the first quarter of the Bears' 24-23 win over the Cardinals and finished the game with 77 yards on 11 attempts.
Bears rookie running back Tarik Cohen races down field in Saturday night's preseason win.
"He's explosive," said coach John Fox. "He's flashed at us. We've seen him from Day 1 in underwear and I thought he showed a lot of tools and gifts and he's got a very mature attitude and mindset. As far as in preparation whether it's in pass protection or running the ball or as a pass receiver, he's got a good feel for the game. I've liked what I've seen."
Cohen, a fourth-round draft pick from North Carolina A&T, ignited the first-team offense with one long run on each of the Bears' first three possessions in the first quarter of 16, 16 and 25 yards.
"The offensive line is obviously the one creating those holes, but Tarik definitely brings a spark," said quarterback Mike Glennon. "He's an exciting player. He's electric. He's got that speed and quickness. I think he's going to be a really good back."
Cohen routinely ran away from defenders at the Division II level. But his blazing speed also is evident at the NFL level—as it was again Saturday night against the Cardinals.
"That's the mainstay of my game; being a speedy back with a low center of gravity, so I'm hard to tackle," Cohen said. "It helps with a combination of good blocking and I'm always looking to hit the home run ball."
Playing takeaway: The Bears registered their first takeaway of the preseason Saturday night with an interception by cornerback B.W. Webb. The fifth-year pro wrestled a Blaine Gabbert pass away from receiver Chris Hubert at the Cardinals' 38 with 4:22 left in the game.
The turnover set up Mitch Trubisky's 6-yard touchdown pass to Benny Cunningham, which gave the Bears a 24-14 lead with 1:55 remaining.
"It was big for the defense," Webb said. "We got a possession out of it. The offense went down and scored. Anytime we can do that it's big."
News and notes: The Bears run defense excelled, limiting the Cardinals to just 40 yards on 19 carries. … Pat O'Donnell averaged 51.8 yards with a 50.0 net average while placing three of four punts inside the 20, including one that bounced out of bounds at the 4. … Connor Barth made his only field-goal attempt from 42 yards, while Robert Aguayo missed his lone try wide right from 49 yards. … Benny Cunningham opened the game with a 41-yard kickoff return. … Safety Deon Bush led the Bears with six tackles. .. The 24-23 score Saturday night was identical to the Bears' magical comeback win over the Cardinals in a 2006 Monday night game in Arizona.
On the shelf: Bears players who sat out Saturday night's game due to injuries included running backs Howard and Jeremy Langford, guard Kyle Long, receivers Joshua Bellamy and Markus Wheaton, defensive linemen Akiem Hicks, Mitch Unrein and Kapron Lewis-Moore, inside linebackers Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkoski and Jonathan Anderson and Alex Scearce and cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Bryce Callahan.