In what ends up being a meaningless preseason game to fans, the Bears traveled to Cleveland to take on the Browns for their final preseason game of the year. Chicago closed out the preseason winless as they lost to the Browns 13-10. The game was tied for a better part of the second half but after the Browns blocked a punt, they gained great field position which led to the game-winning field goal in the final seconds.
The Bears scored first as backup quarterback Todd Collins hit tight end Greg Olsen on a 15-yard touchdown pass to put the Bears ahead 7-0 in the first quarter. Collins had a very good night even though he hasn’t had much time to learn the offense.
The Browns tied the game after running back Montario Hardesty ran into the end zone from one yard out, making the score 7-7.
Browns kicker Phil Dawson booted a 24-yard field goal to give Cleveland a 10-7 lead. Chicago answered that field goal as kicker Robbie Gould knocked one in from 46 yards out to tie the game at 10 in the second quarter.
The score was tied until Dawson booted the game-winner from 36 yards to give the Browns a 13-10 win.
Stud of the Game
Second string quarterback Todd Collins, with plenty of protection from his offensive line and a pretty good running game, ran the offense well and got the Bears moving. He definitely deserves a lot of credit for what the Bears did on the evening, and he should have cemented a spot on the final roster.
Dud of the Game
The Bears' special teams unit, in particular the punt protection team, allowed the punt block that led to the Browns' game-winning field goal. Bears' opponents have three blocked punts this preseason, a very unusual thing for a team that has prided itself in special teams and has consistently had some of the NFL's best special teams units. If this problem persists, it’s going to be a bad year for this group.
This game was a showcase for players that are in danger of being cut by Saturday afternoon. None of the key starters played (such as quarterback Jay Cutler, defensive end Julius Peppers, and running back Matt Forte) leaving the backups to do their work. Some did well; others not so much.
Defensive end/tackle Jarron Gilbert, defensive tackle Mick Williams, running back Kahlil Bell, and cornerback D.J. Moore enhanced their chances of making the team.
Linebacker Tim Shaw (already cut by the Bears as of this writing), linebacker Kevin Malast (rumored to have been cut by the Bears as of this writing), and defensive tackle Marcus Harrison did not help their cause. Let’s see what happens during the next two days as the Bears trim their roster to 53 and add some players to an eight-man practice squad.
This was definitely the Bears' best preseason game as they seemed to work well on offense, and at times on defense. While we must keep in mind that these were second and third string players that the Bears played, the plays were the same as the starters will run, so it looks like something is working but perhaps just not working that well.
The Bears will start the regular season Sunday, September 12 at home against the Detroit Lions.
Stay turned for a full preview of this game coming next week.