At 5’6″ 181lbs, Tarik Cohen just showed the rest of the football world that age AND size ain’t nuthin’ but a number. I watched as Cohen took several hard shots and was tossed around like a rag doll by men twice his size, only to pop up like it was just another day at the office. Cohen is mature beyond his years and plays with the confidence of a seasoned vet. Cohen’s mission to produce & provide a spark, whenever the ball is in his hands, was never more evident with several impressive plays in the season opener against the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons.
Down 7 points, Cohen jump stops the designed play and takes it back the other direction for a 46 yard gain, which would lead to a 4 yard Jordan Howard score with just seconds left to spare in the half. Down 10 points with less than 8 minutes left in the game, Cohen took a 9 yard pass from Glennon and turned it into a 19 yard touchdown by absolutely trucking Desmond Trufant into the south endzone to put the Bears within one score of either tying or taking the lead.
When it was all said and done, the Bears would fail to get the ball in the endzone on 4 tries from the 5 yard line with just seconds left on the clock (without dialing up Cohen’s number). But, not before Cohen would joystick his way into the record books with a historical 158 yard performance (66 rushing, 47 receiving, & 45 punt return), besting Matt Forte’s 141 yards which stood for nearly ten years.
Although we took the L, I was very encouraged by the effort from the team and how they were never really out of the game despite losing our number one (Cam Meredith before the season) and number two receivers (Kevin White during the game). The defense held the reigning NFC Champs to only 23 points which was 10 less than their average 33.8 per game last year.
I’m happy the Bears quickly learned from last season, not utilizing Jordan Howard from day one, that when you have a special player you must find a way to keep him on the field. After today’s game, players weren’t afraid to say they thought Cohen was the best athlete on the team. That’s the highest level of respect you can get from your own locker room.
With his fearless approach to handling whatever duty is asked, I believe Cohen will be the player that we thought Devin Hester could have been, having an impact on offense as well as special teams. Glennon said that the secret is out on what we have in Cohen, but you can’t stop greatness. Every team has a player that you know is getting the ball and they still can’t be stopped. I have high expectations for our young players and I hope that once all the pieces come together, the “little man” with the big hands is front and center holding the Lombardi trophy.
Reference article – Inside Slant: Cohen runs into Bears record books