Redskins vs Bears: Chicago's Biggest Winners & Losers from Preseason Week 2
The Chicago Bears looked to rebound this week after an embarrassing 31-3 loss to the Denver Broncos in the first week of preseason. Chicago welcomed the Washington Redskins and rookie QB Robert Griffin III to Soldier Field and put on a show for the home crowd.
If you missed it, here are the winners and losers from the Chicago Bears' second preseason game.
Winner: Jay Cutler
Jay Cutler looked rock solid in his first appearance since Week 10 of last season when he was lost for the season with a thumb injury. Cutler made solid throws down the field to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, keeping the chains moving and putting the Bears in scoring position.
Cutler's first pass was a 41-yard bomb down the right side of the field to Marshall. He marched the Bears down the field with crisp throws, finishing with a strike to Alshon Jeffery to set up the first TD run by Bush.
Cutler also had a nice five-yard scramble on 3rd-and-4 later in the first quarter where the defensive coverage was good, but Cutler was still able to get the first down. He's picking up right where he left off last season.
Winner: Michael Bush
The Bears bought in Michael Bush in the red zone and in short yardage situations. He responded every time, and finished the game with five carries for 21 yards and two TDs.
Both TD runs were inside the red zone, but the second was much more impressive. Bush ran up the gut and put a move on Perry Riley to take it in for the score. It was one-on-one and Riley completely whiffed on the play.
Bush also had a nice catch on 3rd-and-1 out of the backfield where he broke into the flat and was able to get up field for a gain of four yards and the first down.
Winner Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall had both of his catches on the opening drive and finished the game with just 61 yards receiving. However, he's clearly Cutler's go-to guy, and they have the ability to create big plays at any time.
On the opening pass, Marshall just ran a go-route, but he beat Cedric Griffin and Cutler laid the ball out for him to make the catch. It was a classic example of the chemistry that the two share.
Winner: Alshon Jeffery
Alshon Jeffery showed some great plays for the Bears in this game, and finished as their leading receiver. While he didn't get into the end zone, he showed great skills, including a nice 17-yard reception to set up Michael Bush's first TD run.
Jeffery frequently found the open spot, and QB Jay Cutler showed good confidence in the rookie to come up with the catch. Jeffery didn't disappoint and turned in his second impressive performance of the preseason.
Winners: The Offensive Line
The Bears offensive line looked terrible last week against the Denver Broncos. This week, the Bears were rotating J'Marcus Webb and Chris Williams at left tackle hoping that someone would step up. They did just that.
The entire first unit blocked well, opened holes and gave Cutler plenty of time to throw the ball. Perhaps the best stat of the night was that Cutler was never sacked. Backup Jason Campbell was sacked three times in the second quarter, but they were all coverage sacks, or times where Campbell probably held the ball too long.
The O-line really stepped up and provided the stable base from which the Bears can run their offense this season. Congrats to all of them.
Winner: Israel Idonije
Idonije had great pressure all night, and on one play, sacked RGIII, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Julius Peppers. Idonije played well and finished the game with 2.5 sacks.
Loser: Devin Hester
OK, put down the flamethrowers. Devin Hester wasn't a clear 'loser' in this game, but he finished with just two receptions for 22 yards.
The key thing to take away from this game though is that Hester's role with the Bears may be shrinking. Marshall and Jeffery are clearly solid receivers, and Earl Bennett also played very well. Hester didn't have a bad game as a wide receiver, but he could very easily start the season as the team's No. 3 receiver.
Lorenzo Booker opened the second half with a 105-yard kick return, putting the Bears up 27-10.
Hester is not in danger of losing his job. However, the Bears clearly have several options for the return game, and there's a good chance Hester will not be a starting wide receiver this season either.
Loser: Chris Summers
Chris Summers is on the bubble, hoping to make the team as the final wide receiver and special teams player. He finished the game with just two receptions for 34 yards, working with the second team.
But Summers wasn't able to come up with a key TD reception at one point, despite getting both hands on the ball. To be fair, he was double covered, and it wasn't a perfect pass. But Summers did get his hands on the ball, and could have come up with the catch. He had another drop a little later in the game where he put his hands on the ball but couldn't come up with the reception.
His worst play though came on a 24-yard reception late in the fourth quarter. It was 3rd-and-26, and Summers made a great catch, breaking to the middle of the field for what looked like a first down. However, the ball was stripped from behind and Washington recovered, ending the drive for Chicago.
Loser: Brandon Hardin
Brandon Hardin had just one tackle early in the third quarter. However, on the play he lowered his head and took a hard shot to the head, neck and shoulder. He rolled over and remained on the field for several minutes as the trainers rushed out.
His neck was immediately immobilized, he never lost consciousness, and he was able to move all of his limbs. But the Bears brought out the injury cart, and Hardin was immediately taken to the hospital for further tests.
For a rookie safety that missed all of last season due to injury, this was not a good finish to his second game.
Loser: Jonathan Wilhite
Jonathan Wilhite is trying to make the team as a backup corner back and special teams player. However, the Redskins ate him alive in the second half.
He was frequently out of position, and was burned badly on two TD passes from Washington in the fourth quarter. On the four-yard TD pass to Niles Paul, he was out of position and completely turned around when Kirk Cousins threw the pass.
On the 49-yard bomb to Aldrick Robinson, Wilhite lost track of Robinson and was completely out of position when he made the catch. He had no chance to catch Robinson as he ran for a big TD.
Loser Kelvin Hayden
Kelvin Hayden didn't look good in this game and late in the third quarter, he was burned on back-to-back plays.
The first was on 2nd-and-10, where he was lined up against Dezmon Briscoe. Briscoe ran a crossing route and Hayden out of position. Briscoe made a nice catch for the first down, and Hayden was left laying face first on the field.
On the next play, Hayden lined up on the outside and broke into the backfield when the ball was snapped. However, QB Kirk Cousins ran a naked bootleg to Hayden's side of the field and Hayden didn't see that Cousins had the ball. Cousins scrambled for a big nine-yard gain and the drive eventually led to a TD.
Loser: Adam Podlesh
Late in the second quarter, punter Adam Podlesh boomed a huge punt down to the Washington nine yard line. Redskin Brandon Banks took the ball up the right side of the field for a big 91-yard TD return just before the end of the first half.
Podlesh had the angle and looked like he might make the last second save, but he suddenly pulled up and began limping badly. He went into the locker room during half time with a hip injury and did not return for the rest of the game.
In the post-game, coach Lovie Smith said Podlesh had a 'hip pointer,' but that he would be 'OK.'
We'll see how long he will be out early next week.