Rokan Smith has made big plays in big moments before, but it seemed like it meant more.
Bears All-Pro linebacker South, after intercepting a Davis Mills pass on the Texans’ 30-yard line, taking a shot at a pick-6 and tackling 12 with 1:05 in the fourth quarter of a tie game. He punctuated the celebration by rolling and warming up the ball in the end zone.
“To all my supporters. I threw it in front of them all,” said Smith with a big smile. “And saying f—u to all those who don’t.”
Smith’s big game not only set the Bears up for a 23-20 win on Sunday at Soldier Field on Cairo Santos’ 30-yard field goal, but set up a day of rejuvenation for Smith on a stellar start to the 2022 season . After sitting out of practice all week due to a hip injury, Smith had 16 tackles in addition to interceptions and two tackles for damage.
It was a welcome performance. The win didn’t say much about the Byers – who won to no effect – and even less about quarterback Justin Fields. But Smith’s breakout performance in his third game in defense of Matt Abefflus was the closest thing to defining.
“It’s big time,” Smith said. “I’ve shown what I can do year after year. Haven’t [training] Camp – The first two games are still working my way up. But hey – the third game is generally feeling itself out. so i guess [from] From here you can expect some great things.
“I feel like I can always take it up a notch. I’m always hungry to be better, because I’m essentially on a one-year deal. So I’m just trying to do everything I can.” What I need to do.”
It was by far the best evidence that Smith could be as productive in Aberfluss’ defense as All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard was with the Colts.
“That, being there for me,” said Eberfluss. “That position, it’s a hot situation, and we need production out of that, and of course he had a really good game. [Sunday], He is getting comfortable in the defence.”
After a controversial contract “hold-in” during training camp that left him upset and upset with Bears general manager Ryan Poles, Smith vowed to put it behind him and “bet on himself” in 2022. He didn’t consider the standout performance—or the one he’s celebrating—a message to the Poles or the Bears.
“It’s a message to me,” Smith said, “that I’m just telling myself what I always tell myself—I’m the best at it.”
Smith made his plays count. When the Texans scored first on the 5-yard line late in the first quarter, Smith faced rookie running back Damon Pierce for a two-yard loss. Eddie Jackson stopped Mills in the end zone in the next play.
When the Texans had a third and one from the Bears’ 2-yard line in the third quarter, Smith forced Pierce to make up for a three-yard loss to the Texans for a field goal that ended the game 20–20. tied up. ,
And finally, with 1:13 in the fourth quarter on the Texans’ 26 on third and one, Smith stepped in front of running back Rex Birkhead to trap a Mills pass, which was tipped off by defensive tackle Angelo Blackson. . One of the scrimmages.
“I knew it was third and one—I thought the quarterback was trying to go down first,” Smith said. “So I said, ‘Okay, I’m gonna break it and then I took a chance.
Next thing he knew, the ball was in the stands.
“Then I wondered where the ball went,” he said. “I tried to throw it so far to say everything. That was the best part … throwing the ball.”