Pro Bowl ‘a great experience’ for Bears players

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ORLANDO – For the seven Bears players all making their first appearances in the Pro Bowl, the steady rain that fell throughout Sunday’s game did not dampen the experience.

“It was awesome,” quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said after the AFC’s 26-7 victory at Camping World Stadium in wet and windy Orlando. “It was a great week, just getting to know these guys and learn from them and hanging out and having a lot of fun, especially with my Bears teammates down here. It was a great experience.”

Trubisky entered the Pro Bowl with :22 left in the first half and played four series, completing 5 of 9 passes for 34 yards with one interception.

The NFC trailed 17-0 at halftime and 20-0 entering the fourth quarter before finally getting on the board when Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Falcons tight end Austin Hooper with 9:05 remaining.

The contest was played in a driving rain with the temperature in the low 50s, not exactly what most would expect in "The Sunshine State."

“The game was a little crazy with the weather there,” Trubisky said. “But I appreciate all the fans coming out and supporting us and making the most of it. It was a great experience with my teammates and just something I’ll always remember. It’s going to create a lot more relationships with the other guys across the league.”

Cornerback Kyle Fuller generated the top Bears highlight Sunday, intercepting an Andrew Luck pass across the middle in the second quarter. Fuller was named first-team All-Pro this season after tying for the NFL lead with a career-high seven interceptions.

Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and left tackle Charles Leno Jr. were the only two Bears who started the Pro Bowl. Trubisky, Fuller, safety Eddie Jackson, center Cody Whitehair and return specialist Tarik Cohen entered the game as reserves.

“It was fun,” Jackson said. “It was a blessing, a dream come true for me, something I dreamed about my whole life. It was fun being around guys you look up to and admire, and being able to share the field with those guys was a great feeling.”

Hicks was credited with two tackles. He also pressured Luck into throwing the pass that Fuller picked off.

“The experience was awesome,” Hicks said. “I really enjoyed myself, had fun with the guys. Wanted to win, but I enjoyed myself at the end of the day.”

Cohen dashed 17 yards with his only punt return, splitting two tacklers and spinning away from Jalen Ramsey. But the play was nullified by a penalty on the NFC for having 12 men on the field. On offense, Cohen had just one carry for two yards and did not catch a pass.

“It was great to be around these guys, so many playmakers, the best players at their position,” Cohen said. “It’s just great to be around those type of guys.”

The AFC dominated Sunday’s game, holding decisive advantages over the NFC in first downs (24-10), total yards (416-148) and time of possession (36:03-23:57).

The game’s offensive and defensive MVPs were Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Jets safety Jamal Adams, respectively. Mahomes completed 7 of 14 passes for 156 yards with one touchdown and a 114.0 passer rating, while Adams recorded an interception and a sack.

The eight players the NFC North-champion Bears had selected to the Pro Bowl—outside linebacker Khalil Mack was unable to participate due to an injury—were their most since they also had eight in 2006, the last year they reached the Super Bowl.

“It was special,” Trubisky said. “We’ve got a special group and we know what kind of group we have in our locker room as well. It was awesome to share the experience with these guys, their families, just hang out and have a good time and find out what the Pro Bowl’s all about. We had a lot of fun and we love hanging out with all these guys out here.”

“It was a fun feeling to see that we really did something great this year that we got that many guys and everybody kept talking about us,” Jackson said. “For us, it was a fun experience and I truly enjoyed it.”

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