Growing up in the Chicago area, Jack Sanborn dreamed of making the type of plays for the Bears that he produced Saturday at Soldier Field.
The undrafted rookie linebacker from Wisconsin, who was raised in suburban Deer Park and attended Lake Zurich High School, starred on defense and special teams in a 19-14 preseason-opening win over the Chiefs.
Playing for a Bears team that coach Matt Eberflus has vowed will be "fanatical" about generating takeaways, Sanborn registered an interception and fumble recovery on two third-quarter possessions.
The offense converted the two turnovers into a touchdown and field goal, helping the Bears score 19 unanswered points to erase a 14-0 halftime deficit.
"It's something that we harp on all the time in practice," Sanborn said. "Takeaways are the name of the game here in the NFL. We got a takeaway and then we got another one right after that and kind of built some momentum."
Sanborn's interception came on the third play of the second half on a Shane Buechele pass over the middle intended for tight end Jordan Franks.
"We were in cover 2 and the receiver tried to stop in front of me," Sanborn said. "I made a decent break. The quarterback tried to thread it in and I kind of boxed him out a little bit and was fortunate enough to hold onto it."
Sanborn also registered five tackles and one tackle-for-loss on defense and two tackles on special teams. He made a third stop on a punt return that didn't count due to a penalty on the Bears.
All in all, it was a memorable debut for Sanborn with his hometown team.
"It was awesome," he said. "It was I think something a lot of kids want to do, especially from the area. So definitely a dream come true almost in a way. But 'let's go out there and play,' that was my mindset, and 'do whatever you're asked at your best and things will happen.'"
Stepping up: Another rookie who produced impact plays was sixth-round pick Trestan Ebner, a running back and return specialist from Baylor.
Ebner returned the opening kickoff 34 yards, led the Bears in rushing with 31 yards on six carries and scored his team's first touchdown on a 12-yard pass from backup quarterback Trevor Siemian.
Asked about his return of the opening kickoff, Ebner said: "That was really nice to shake the nerves out. I really didn't do much. It was great blocking, if I'm being honest."
The rookie's touchdown came on a short pass from Siemian on third-and-9. After catching the ball, Ebner squared his shoulders and burst through three tacklers into the end zone.
"Once I caught it, I wasn't going to let anybody tackle me right there," he said. "I just had to want it more than them."
Turning heads: Second-round pick Jaquan Brisker also impressed in his first NFL game. Starting at safety opposite Eddie Jackson, the Penn State product compiled four tackles, one tackle-for-loss and one pass breakup.
Brisker flashed his playmaking skills on a second quarter possession. In a span of four plays, he delivered a hard hit on receiver Skyy Moore after a short reception, dropped running back Derrick Gore for a two-yard loss and broke up a third-down pass intended for receiver Devin Gray.
Back at it: Teven Jenkins was eased back into action last Saturday when he returned to practice after missing seven workouts with an undisclosed injury. The second-year pro's reps increased in subsequent practices and he played much of the second half at right tackle Saturday against the Chiefs.
"When I was able to do the ramp-up period, that was beneficial for me, especially for today so I could get my body back to 100 percent," Jenkins said. "It was great. I was staring at the scoreboard as time ran out. I had to bring myself back down to earth because I'm like,' I'm still here. My body's 100 percent. I can do this. I just have to trust myself.'"
On the shelf: Bears who did not play in Saturday's preseason opener were running back David Montgomery; receivers N'Keal Harry, Velus Jones Jr., Byron Pringle and David Moore; tight ends Cole Kmet, Ryan Griffin and James O'Shaughnessy; center Lucas Patrick; tackles Riley Reiff and Julién Davenport; defensive ends Robert Quinn and Mario Edwards Jr.; defensive tackle Angelo Blackson; linebackers Roquan Smith and Noah Dawkins; cornerbacks Kyler Gordon, Kindle Vildor, Tavon Young, Duke Shelley, Greg Stroman Jr. and Thomas Graham Jr.; and safety Dane Cruikshank.
Up front: The Bears' starting offensive line was comprised of left tackle Braxton Jones, left guard Cody Whitehair, center Sam Mustipher, right guard Michael Schofield III and right tackle Larry Borom.
News and notes: Bears receiver Tajae Sharpe had two receptions for a team-high 44 yards, including a nifty one-handed 19-yard catch along the sideline … The Bears rushed for 137 yards on 32 carries while holding the Chiefs ground game to 52 yards on 19 attempts … The Bears registered four sacks, including two by veteran tackle Trevon Coley and one apiece by rookie defensive end Dominique Robinson and undrafted rookie tackle Micah Dew-Treadway … Cairo Santos made both of the field goals he attempted from 20 and 47 yards.