Darnell Mooney Seizes the Moment Along with the Ball
Darnell Mooney earned the speed spot and veteran Ted Ginn Jr. was a healthy inactive Sunday for the Bears in a 17-13 win over the New York Giants.
It put some pressure on the rookie fifth-round draft pick to produce, and he did. Mooney made his first career touchdown catch and hauled in three passes for 36 yards to help the offense got off to a fast start.
"I knew I had to do what he does, take the top off the defense, show the speed out there," Mooney said of Ginn. "That's what we do all the time. And then drain the defense with our speed."
Mooney got open in the left side of the end zone while Mitchell Trubisky moved around in the pocket late in the first half on a third-down play. Trubisky then rifled a cross-field pass and Mooney showed up in front of cornerback Corey Ballentine in time to make the touchdown catch on a 15-yarder for a 17-0 lead.
"It was kind of like a scramble drill, and I thought he was going to throw it in the back corner," Mooney said. "It was a little short. But I knew I wanted the ball.
"I felt it coming to me. And then it was just securing the catch and doing a little bit of celebration afterward."
He danced a bit with Tarik Cohen and the Bears went in leading 17-0, and they found a way to make it hold up.
"The O-line did a great job giving me time and I was just extending the play and I saw the DB had his back turned, he had no eyes on the football," Trubisky said. "So I was kind of waving to Mooney to go out to the left and I put it in a spot and he did a great job attacking the football and coming back towards it and made an amazing catch.
"And that was pretty big to get points before half, but we definitely need to make improvements coming back in the second half. So that was a good play."
Trubisky seems to be developing a connection with Mooney.
"Me and Mooney have gotten a lot of reps in between sets in practice and then after practice just getting on the same page," Trubisky said. "When you have a young guy with that type of hunger as a quarterback you trust him."
Mooney had a 16-yard reception which looked much like the first reception he made in the NFL last week.
He has six catches in two games at a time when many rookies drafted on Day 3 would be happy simply to be active on game day.
Nagy said the decision to keep Ginn inactive was a numbers decision and they needed more special teams players. But Mooney's play is making a statement about how he wants to keep the role.
"Just the way his approach as a rookie is impressive and it's good to see just how he is seeing the game, how he's doing his job, how he approaches practice, how he's working hard, how he's asking questions, how he's trying to be on the same page with me, how he's detailed in his routes," Trubisky said. "And you can tell he's making an effort to be on the same page, getting in his depth, being in the right place at the right time.
"And as a quarterback you just trust that and it's really cool to see in a young guy that's getting it right away and that he wants to learn, because he wants to catch the football and he wants to make plays for this offense."
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