The Chicago Bears are finally in the win column. For Justin Fields and company, this was their first win since last October, but for the team's rookies, it was their first taste of NFL success, and they had a lot to do with it.
The Bears were dominant in defeating the Commanders 40-20, but the win might not have occurred at all if not for the contributions of some of the Bears' first-year players. Let's take a look at a few that made a big difference, and which ones are set to make a big impact the rest of the season. Welcome to Rookie Watch!
Darnell Wright anchored the Bears' offensive line against a talented Washington front
Let's begin with the Bears' most recent first-round pick. Darnell Wright has been the team's starting right tackle since Day 1, and with the Chicago offensive line beset by injuries, the rookie's role has taken on even more importance.
Wright spent much of Thursday's game matched up against Montez Sweat, and though he did give up a sack, he more than held his own. Wright was critical in all facets of the Bears offense, opening holes for Khalil Herbert, who ran for 76 yards on 10 carries, and protecting Justin Fields, who was phenomenal for the second week in a row.
The Bears' offense had its best game of the season, once again jumping out to a hot start in the first half, but unlike the come-from-ahead loss to the Broncos a week ago, this time Luke Getsy's unit finished strong, too.
The offensive line has been in a state of flux due to a near-constant barrage of injuries, but Wright has held things together. Teven Jenkins made his season debut after beginning the year on the IR with a calf injury, and his impact was felt immediately, but Lucas Patrick left the game with a possible concussion. Braxton Jones, the team's left tackle, remains on IR.
According to Pro Football Focus, Wright was the highest-graded rookie offensive tackle in Week 5, narrowly outpacing the Steelers' Broderick Jones.
Justin Fields has thrown for eight touchdowns in the past two weeks, a feat that wouldn't be possible without a big improvement on the offensive line. The injuries have mounted, and free agent signee Nate Davis has struggled, but Wright has been a weekly positive.
It's still only five weeks into the season, but Darnell Wright is already looking like a franchise cornerstone.