CHICAGO — Bears coach Matt Nagy decided to rest starters for the next-to-last preseason game rather than use it as the customary regular-season tuneup.
And the backups proved that they’re also ready for the regular season. Backup quarterback Chase Daniel directed touchdown drives on the first three possessions and the Bears defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 27-20 on Saturday.
The Bears (2-2) played in the Hall of Fame Game and have been practicing since July 20, and Nagy liked what he’d seen from the starters in practices.
So he decided Friday to keep starters out of what normally would be a dress rehearsal for the regular-season opener at Green Bay on Sept. 9.
Daniel replaced Mitchell Trubisky against the Chiefs (1-2), the team Nagy last year served as the offensive coordinator.
Playing against both the Chiefs starting defense and then the backups, Daniel led the Bears to a 24-10 halftime lead.
Daniel, a Chiefs backup quarterback from 2013-15, finished 15 of 18 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. The first two Bears touchdown drives came against Kansas City’s starting defense, minus injured safety Eric Berry and four other injured players.
Wide-open receiver Kevin White caught Daniel’s 29-yard TD pass in the first quarter to break a 7-7 tie, and Daniel then found Javon Wims for a 7-yard TD pass in the back corner of the end zone and a 21-10 lead.
Benny Cunningham ran in from 13 yards for Chicago’s first TD and Cody Parkey added a 48-yard field goal just before halftime.
The Bears sat out 31 players, including all potential opening-day starters except wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, defensive end Jonathan Bullard, linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski and guard Eric Kush. Nagy informed players on Friday morning about his decision.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II and the starting offense played into the third quarter against the backup Bears defense, and showed inconsistency.
Mahomes flipped a short pass to the right side and Kareem Hunt turned it into a 19-yard TD for a 7-7 tie, and led a 49-yard drive ending in Harrison Butker’s second-quarter 47-yard field goal.
In the previous preseason game, Mahomes completed a 69-yard TD pass to Tyreek Hill. Mahomes didn’t produce a big play on Saturday, and finished 18 of 24 for 196 yards. He left the game with the Chiefs down 24-10 in the third quarter.
Wide receiver Marcus Kemp got loose for a 55-yard TD pass from Chase Litton with 2:40 to play for Kansas City’s other touchdown.
A FIRST TD
Bears wide receiver Kevin White’s 29-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter was the first touchdown he has scored since coming into the NFL as the seventh pick in the 2015 draft. White missed 2015 and much of 2016 with leg injuries, and played one game last year before suffering a shoulder injury. White is vying for a roster spot in a crowded competition at wide receiver.
Rookie seventh-round pick Javon Wims is giving White a good run for his job, after making four catches for 114 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs.