After the Chicago Bears 3-31 loss against the Denver Broncos, fans shook their heads, thinking the team lots of work to do. Expectations were likely muted for preseason Game 2 against the Washington Redskins but the team showed up and took a 33-31 win.
There were improvements between the two games. Here’s three things we learned from the win.
1. The Bears Need Cutler at the Helm
Ok, this isn’t really news/anything we’ve learned but after Cutler’s absence last season, Saturday’s performance was a nice reminder that he is a difference maker for this team and finally becoming a leader. In just four possessions, he led the Bears to two touchdowns and one field goal.
In the opening series, he completed 4 of 5 passes for 81 yards. This led to running back Michael Bush’s first touchdown (a one-yarder).
Cutler built a nice 17-0 lead and then exited in the second quarter. For the game, he was 7 for 13, 122 yards with an 86.1 passer rating.
He said of Saturday’s game, “It’s fun to get back out there. Last game it was tough to have to only watch. We had a good week of practice. I thought there was a lot more intensity and a bigger sense of urgency from the guys. We threw the first one to ‘B’ and we started rolling a bit.”
2. Great Additions to the Offense
On Saturday, Bears fans had their first opportunity to see the Cutler-Marshall duo as Bears teammates. They didn’t disappoint as Brandon Marshall was the recipient of Cutler’s first preseason pass: a nice 41-yarder.
Rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery grabbed three catches for 62 yards during the first half. He’s gained a fan from the team, fellow wide receiver Devin Hester, who said of the player, “He is doing good. He is going to be a big factor on our team.”
Bush had two touchdowns; both within the 10-yard line. He joined the team while top running back Matt Forte’s future with the Bears looked questionable. His expectations were high and after Forte got everything squared away, Bush possibly thought some of his opportunities would decline.
After Saturday’s game, it had to give him a boost of confidence to make a name for himself on this team and show he’s a good complement to Forte. Bush said of Saturday’s play, “It felt good, but it’s the preseason. I’d like it a lot more if it was the regular season.’’
3. Defense Shows Up, Quiets Concerns About Urlacher’s Absence
With news of Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher’s third offseason knee surgery this week, a hush came across Chicago that the Bears’ defense would be at a loss without the face of the team.
Fortunately, it was short-lived as the defense stepped up on Saturday. Going up against Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III, they sacked the rookie three times, and kept him to 49 yards passing with a 79.9 rating. They also caused a fumble that was later converted by the offense into a touchdown.
Israel Idonije had 2 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble, which was recovered by Julius Peppers in Redskins territory.
About the Author
Written by Debbie Baratz