CHICAGO -- Bears rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson knew it was coming. The second-round pick has spent the last several weeks battling Bears star receiver DJ Moore in practice, so when Justin Fields hit Moore on a quick screen pass in the first quarter of Saturday's preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans, Stevenson didn't even need to watch.
“Once he made that first cut, I’m like, ‘He’s gone," Stevenson said after the Bears' 23-17 win over the Titans at Soldier Field. "He has that big-play ability whenever he touches the ball anyway. He was saying in practice, like, ‘They not going to tackle me!’ I’m looking at him crazy. He just made me a believer to be honest.”
Sure enough. Fields put the ball in Moore's hands, the receiver made one Titan miss and sprinted 62 yards on his first unofficial touch as a Bear.
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After a 2022 season in which Fields was the Bears' only source of offensive explosion, having a guy like Moore who can take a screen pass 60 yards is a welcome sight for the third-year quarterback.
Fields played seven snaps Saturday. He went 3-for-3 for 129 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came on explosive catch-and-runs on screen passes.
The 24-year-old quarterback was all smiles after Saturday's game. How could he not be after getting his first real taste of life with a true No. 1 receiver?
"As a receiver, first catch going 60 yards -- you can't really draw it up better," Fields said after the win. "I told him, 'That might be legendary right there.'"
That was the only touch of Moore's day.
Having done his job, the 26-year-old receiver went to the Bears' bench and told receivers coach Tyke Tolbert his day was over.
The Bears' defensive backs have been battling Moore all training camp. Facing a guy with elite body control and separation ability can be frustrating, especially for young defensive backs like Stevenson and Kyler Gordon.
Having a front-row seat to the DJ Moore Show is a lot more fun than being tasked with stopping it.
"For sure, for sure," Stevenson said, laughing after the game.
If Saturday's preseason game against the Titans is a glimpse of what's to come for the 2023 Bears, then Moore and Gordon were the stars.
Gordon opened the game with a massive hit on Titans wide receiver Chris Moore. Gordon thought he forced a fumble, but he's OK with it not going on his ledger as long as he gets the call when the games matter.
After the first series, the second-year cornerback went to the bench to watch Fields, Moore and the offense go to work.
As Moore caught the ball and made his move, Gordon started to go with him down the sideline.
"I expected it," Gordon said of Moore's touchdown. "I'm not going to lie. I was hype.
“We know he got that speed and stuff like that. I’ve seen it in Carolina. It’s beautiful to see.”
The Bears had big dreams for the Fields-Moore combination when they acquired the receiver in March as part of a blockbuster trade that sent the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers.
Saturday offered a taste of what realized dreams might taste like.
It might not count in the stat sheet, but if things unfold as the Bears believe, Moore's touchdown will long live in franchise lore.
Not as a touchdown in a meaningless exhibition game. But as a deafening announcement of what was to follow.