Prince Amukamara did his homework, and it resulted in the biggest play of the game for the Bears in Monday night's home opener against the Seahawks.
With his team protecting a 17-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter, the veteran cornerback intercepted a Russell Wilson pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown. Amukamara made an excellent break on the ball, stepping in front of intended receiver Rashaad Penny to pick off the pass near the Bears sideline.
"Coach Vic [Fangio] and coach [Ed] Donatell did a good job with putting that formation in our tip sheet," Amukamara said. "I memorized it and I just made a play when we needed one."
The interception was Amukamara's first since Sept. 24, 2015 when he was with the Giants. The eight-year veteran said before the season that he hopes to pick off 10 passes this year.
"I didn't know who was going to do it, but I do know that we have a bunch of playmakers and I figured that at some point one of us was going to get loose and make a play," said defensive end Akiem Hicks. "Shoot, I was trying to get it. I was so happy for Prince. Prince took that back to the house. He said he was on track for 10 interceptions this year, so we'll see."
Great decision: The Bears capped their first possession with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell Trubisky to tight end Trey Burton on a well-designed shovel pass.
Trubisky faked a handoff to running back Tarik Cohen to the left and then flipped the ball forward to Burton up the middle.
"There's a couple options on that," said coach Matt Nagy. "[Trubisky] made a great decision with that. It's a play that we have in our offense and we have different ways to do it and get to it and it was neat to see that come to fruition."
Mack attack: Recently-acquired outside linebacker Khalil Mack generated a strip/sack for the second straight game. But unlike last week in Green Bay, it did not result in a turnover because Seahawks guard J.R. Sweezy recovered Wilson's fumble.
Mack collapsed the pocket throughout the game, fueling a Bears defense that recorded six sacks.
"Oh my goodness, the Mack attack," Amukamara said. "Usually the quarterback has about three seconds to throw the ball. [With Mack] it feels like it's about two. He helps us on the back end. We're trying to help him by covering guys. It's no surprise that he really improves our defense."
Just for starters: Bears rookie Roquan Smith made his first NFL start at inside linebacker, recording seven tackles and one pass breakup.
"It was exciting to see his focus the whole week of practice, and then to see him pregame here just kind of walk by him and see how he's feeling," Nagy said. "He was completely focused and ready to go. The lights were not too bright for him, and I think you saw that. He was out there running around, flying around, making tackles. It's what we want from him."
First of many: Nagy received a game ball after registering his first victory as Bears coach.
"It feels good," he said. "For me, though, it's just more about us. I'm just really looking forward to the future of this team and I'm anxious to see how we respond to not only tough losses like Green Bay but now how do we respond to a good win for us. Sometimes those are just as hard. I'll continue to do everything I can on a short week here and get them prepared and we'll be ready to love on to Arizona."
Brian's song: Former Bears star middle linebacker Brian Urlacher was honored at halftime for his recent induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was presented with his Hall of Fame ring and a small statue.
"We know Urlacher's getting celebrated and he's special to this team, especially for our linebackers," said linebacker Danny Trevathan. "We take pride in that, so we wanted to go out there and show out for him and get the win."