McClellin showcases potential vs. Broncos

Shea McClellin was flagged for roughing the passer at the end of the first half. Brian Cassella/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- Rookie Shea McClellin's performance was easily one of the bright spots for a Chicago Bears team that struggled in almost every aspect against the Denver Broncos on Thursday.

The first-round draft choice saw extensive playing time at defensive end and was given a loud roar from the fans when he recorded his first sack after chasing down former Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie outside the pocket in the near the end of the first quarter. That play showcased McClellin's speed which is one of the qualities that attracted the Bears and eventually led general manager Phil Emery to select the Boise State product with the No. 19 overall pick.

"I had fun," McClellin said. "It's a start. You know I definitely have a lot of learning to do. Overall, it was good. It was a little bit faster than we've been practicing. When you get into the game, it's always faster than normal, but as it went along I kind of got into it and felt good. You know, like I said, there is a lot of stuff I can work on and get better at.

"But the sack felt good. It's always good to get a sack, no matter what kind it is, because it boosts your confidence a bit. After that you can kind of relax and just go out and play."

McClellin finished with three total tackles, the sack, one tackle for a loss and two quarterback pressures. However, there is plenty of room for improvement as McClellin is learning how to play the run, and he got flagged for roughing the passer at the end of the first half.

"Yeah, it's unfortunate," McClellin said. "(Hanie) kind of got thrown around and right as he got thrown around I happened to be right there. It's unfortunate, but you can't do anything about it."

Bears coach Lovie Smith said after the game he was pleased with how all the draft picks performed, but singled out McClellin's sack as one of the few memorable moments in the game.

"Anytime it's your first time playing and you get a sack as a defensive lineman, you'll remember that," Smith said.