Last Thursday night’s loss to the Denver Broncos had Bears fans panicking over its stagnant offense while Saturday night’s 33-31 victory over the Washington Redskins gave fans its first glimpse of its new potent offense.
Cutler finished the night going seven of 13 for 122 yards while leading the Bears on scoring drives three out of his four possessions.
Michael Bush was the star of the offense, rushing for 21 yards on five carries, scoring two red-zone touchdowns.
One of the biggest story lines heading into the second preseason game was the left tackle position. J’Marcus Webb started the first two possessions and was replaced by Chris Williams for the next two before alternating possessions into the fourth quarter. Neither stood out on film, but Williams appeared to play a bit better than Webb.
After Chris Spencer’s struggles last week against the Broncos, the Bears alternated Spencer and Chilo Rachal every two possessions. It will be interesting to see if the left guard position becomes a battle after Spencer was arguably one of the best linemen a year ago.
Jason Campbell played better than last week, going nine of 15 for 141 yards, but was sacked three times.
After gaining only eight first downs and not converting any third downs last week, the offense finished the game with 21 first downs having converted six of 15 third downs.
There was much talk heading into the game about second overall pick Robert Griffin III. The rookie struggled with the Bears defense all night, getting sacked three times and never quite getting himself into a rhythm.
Israel Idonije finished the game with 2.5 sacks as well as forcing an RGIII fumble that was recovered by Julius Peppers—leading to Michael Bush’s second red-zone touchdown of the night.
Idonije was overall pleased by the first team defense’s production:
We had some opportunities to really put them in tough spots and we let them get away. We played tough. The intensity was definitely better.
Injuries have taken a toll on the Bears so far throughout training camp and the list of injured players grew on Saturday night. Chris Conte left in the second quarter after an apparent shoulder injury, rookie safety Brandon Hardin was carted off the field in the third quarter following a neck injury from tackling tight end Logan Paulsen and punter Adam Podlesh left with an apparent hip pointer forcing Ryan Quigley to finish the night in his place.
Conte’s injury does not appear to be severe, but a lack of depth at the safety position may be a cause for concern moving forward if Hardin’s injury ends up being worse than expected.
Special teams had its ups and downs Saturday night having given up a punt return touchdown to Brandon Banks in the second quarter but then rebounded nicely with a 105-yard kickoff return from Lorenzo Booker to start the third quarter and with Robbie Gould hitting a 57-yard field goal with 31 seconds left to give the Bears the lead.
With two preseason games already in the books, next Friday’s third preseason game will be the truest indication of what this year’s team will look like. Most NFL teams will use the third preseason game as a tune-up for the season opener, with most starters playing the majority of the first half.
Despite a solid showing offensively Saturday night, the Bears still have room for improvement. The New York Giants defense will prove a challenge for the offensive line and may help either Chris Williams or J’Marcus Webb finally nail down the starting position.
Matt Eurich is a contributor to Bearsbacker.com. Follow Bears Backer on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute news about the Bears. Also, check out Matt’s work on Bleacherreport.com and follow him on Twitter @MattEurich.
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