By Chris Emma—
CHICAGO (CBS) – Upon arriving from Los Angeles, new Bears receiver Dontrelle Inman set out to accomplish two important tasks. One was buying a warm jacket for the crisp Midwestern autumn, and the other was getting himself ready to be a key target for rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
In a disappointing 23-16 loss to the Packers at Soldier Field on Sunday, the Bears found a connection on offense. Trubisky targeted Inman eight times, and Inman came away with six receptions for 88 yards.
“I guess we established a lot,” Inman said. “All six (receptions) were on the money. The work we put in was tremendous, and I’m glad that it paid off just a little bit. But not enough.”
Inman found a warm enough jacket to manage a lakefront breeze and also a Blackhawks sweater featuring Jonathan Toews’ No. 19, which his wife purchased as a gift. That along with Sunday’s performance shown he fits right in with the Bears.
Inman was acquired from the Chargers two weeks ago for a conditional seventh-round pick after he was buried on the depth chart in Los Angeles, which had selected receiver Mike Williams in the first round. The Bears were in a desperate place at receiver this season after losing both Cam Meredith and Kevin White to injured reserve.
Inman was the Chargers’ second-leading receiver a season ago, hauling in 58 catches for 810 yards and four touchdowns. Before joining the Bears, he had two receptions for nine yards in Los Angeles this season.
Inman was inactive for the game in New Orleans on Oct. 29 after arriving just three days before playing the Saints. There was an immediate feel for the playbook and schemes run by offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, which Inman compared to those from his college days at Virginia.
So, Inman jumped right into the Bears’ offense and worked to get open for Trubisky in practice. Before breaking for the bye, he and Trubisky went to lunch together and strengthened their bond away from the field. They returned to work with Inman posing as the Bears’ new top receiver.
“I have a lot of confidence in him,” Trubisky said of Inman. “He’s made great plays for us, and he’s coming along really quick. It’s tough to get here on short notice and learn a playbook, so hats off to him for doing that.”
While the Trubisky-Inman connection was a breakthrough, they couldn’t connect in one of the game’s biggest moments. The Bears were handed a break late in the fourth quarter when Packers kicker Mason Crosby missed a field goal that could’ve ice the game. Trubisky and the offense returned to the field trailing by a touchdown with 1:03 remaining. But on third-and-10 from their own 36, Inman couldn’t corral Trubisky’s pass over the middle that could’ve extended the drive. The throw was a tad high but catchable. The Bears turned the ball over on downs shortly after.
Aside from that, there was much to like.
“Mitch is a stud,” Inman said. “He commands the huddle. It’s great just having him as a leader at his age.”